DIY Face Masks: How to Do Good With Your Sewing Skills

In light of current events, it’s important to acknowledge the seriousness of the global pandemic COVID-19 or the coronavirus. The best way to combat the spread of this disease and “flatten the curve” is to practice social distancing if you’re healthy or to self-isolate if you aren’t. 

If you are healthy and find yourself spending more time at home, it might be the perfect opportunity to practice your sewing skills by making a few face masks. Hospitals are calling for personal protective equipment in the wake of a major shortage — you can do your part by donating masks that you make to DonatePPE.org.

Here are some basics to get started on your DIY face masks.

Best Materials to Use for Your Face Mask

When deciding which materials are best for a face mask, consider the purpose of the face mask. It needs to be reasonably comfortable, it needs to stay put, and it needs to, most importantly, protect the wearer’s face and nose from any viral respiratory fluids they may come in contact with. 

Here are three good options for high-performance fabrics: 

  • 3-Ply Storm-Fit Fabric: This fabric is completely waterproof and is designed to be used in wet, windy, and generally volatile and unpleasant situations. As it’s often used for ski gear, you can trust that it will minimize moisture and keep your face warm, should you be in colder climates. This three-ply microfiber polyester fabric is a good choice for a mask, truly fit to weather a storm. 

  • 2-Ply Waterproof Breathable Fabric: If you’re looking for something a little lighter, that still has the durability you need, choose this two-ply, breathable fabric. With its micro-porous Teflon membrane, you can be sure that it will keep respiratory particles out, while still remaining thin enough that you can breathe deeply--and safely. 

  • 3-Ply Ultrex Fabric: The three thin layers of fabric that comprise this Ultrex fabric, each have a distinct purpose to keep the wearer germ-free. Featuring a layer of very densely-woven fabric, a layer of micro-porous polyurethane coating, and one with a durable, water-repellent finish--this fabric is built to keep you safe for as long as possible. 

How to Make Your Own

Once you’ve chosen your fabric, it’s time to start sewing. These protective masks are relatively simple to make, but it’s important to get it right so that they can fulfill their purpose. 

  1. Gather your materials. You’ll need fabric and two 7” long pieces of elastic with knots tied at each end. 

  2. Decide which size you need to make your face mask. There are two general sizes: Adult, which will measure 9x6 inches, and Child, which will measure 7.5x5 inches. Cut two measured pieces of fabric and place face-to-face.

  3. Sew from the bottom edge out to the corner, leaving a 1-2” gap from the center.

  4. Place the end of the elastic into the corner, and sew over a few times to stabilize.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the mask, looping the other end of the elastic to meet the other lower corner. 

  6. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 to cover the top of the mask.

  7. Sew around the entire edge of the mask twice, leaving a 1-2” gap in the bottom.

  8. Turn the mask inside-out. 

  9. Sew the 1-2” gap shut! 

That’s it! These masks are simple to make and can really help as we work to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Key Takeaways

Making face masks is a great way to give back to all the healthcare professionals who are risking their own health to keep us safe — many are facing a critical shortage of necessary protective equipment. That said — donate today!

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