The Easiest DIY Mask To Sew
Necessity is the mother of invention.
You’ve probably heard by now that the CDC has officially recommended that we start wearing fabric masks while out in public. Since masks are hard to find anywhere right now, there’s only one thing you can do. DIY! I have an easy tutorial here for anyone that would like to sew their own mask. These are easy to make and machine washable. Please note these masks are not medical grade and they do not replace social distancing. So with that said, are you ready to bang them out? Let’s do it!
Pick out some tightly woven cotton fabric. Solid. Print. Whatever you like. I picked some pretty fabrics that I personally liked. Nobody knows how long we’re going to have to wear masks, so pick out something that makes you happy. Cut out a rectangular piece that measures 8″ by 15″. Fold the fabric in half so that the right sides “kiss”. Measure 2″ from the top and bottom of the fabric and mark with pins. The space in between your measurements will be space to insert a filter.
Tip: Most patterns are calling for a 2″ or 3″ opening for the filter pocket. I found this was too small and made it difficult to put the filter in. I added an inch to my pattern because I found a 4″ opening was more efficient. Also, I would not recommend using interfacing as a filter because I am not sure how safe the chemicals are that go into producing it. Since this will be near your mouth, you really have to think about using something non-toxic. I used a folded paper towel or tissue in mine. You could also put another piece of cotton fabric in it. Just remember you need to be able to breathe in this mask.
Sew the fabric edges together. I lined the fabric edge to the 5/8 mark on my machine and sewed straight down. Stop when you get to the pins. Take out your pins when you’re done. Backstitch where necessary. Now open up your seam. Smooth it out with an iron or with the heat of your finger by pressing down on it. Finish your raw edges if you want. I did a simple zig zag stitch on mine to keep the edges from unraveling. Position your fabric with the seam in the middle on the horizontal.
Cut a piece of flat elastic 16″ inches long. Fold it in half. Cut it the halfway point. Now you have two pieces of elastic 8″ long. Note that if you have super stretchy elastic, a 14″ piece cut into 7″ pieces will work just fine.
TIP: Elastic is sold out pretty much everywhere. You can try hair elastics or rubber bands as a last resort. Those are selling out quick too. I’ve also seen some people use spandex swimwear ties.
Position each piece elastic in the corners. Be careful not to twist it. Pin it in place.
TIP: Elastic is tricky to work with. Try tacking it in by hand with a few stitches to keep it in place while you machine sew it. Also wanted to point out that most patterns on the internet are using 7″ elastic bands. I found that was a little too tight and cuts into the ears on some people. I found that 8″ elastic fits most people.
Pull everything inside out through the open pocket filter seam. Press it out flat with your hand or an iron. Topstitch along the top and bottom. It’s time to make some pleats. Start folding your fabric down in even increments. You can measure this or eyeball it. I eyeballed mine. Pin it in place then sew along the edges on 5/8″.
Smile. You’re done. If you’re able to, make some extras for your family and friends.
Don’t forget to wash your mask after you wear it in public. Wash it on a hot cycle and if you have an anti-bac setting on your dryer, use it to dry your masks. Otherwise, toss it in your dryer and dry it on hot. Press it when it’s dry if you want.
Stay safe and be well.