Make your own face mask with a filter pocket from your scrap fabric and a little bit of elastic or ribbon.
These masks are 100% cotton and function similar to surgical masks. There are 2 layers of cotton and an opening in the back to insert a filter, such as a micron filter for more protection.
Let me state these masks are not 100% preventative! I am in no way claiming that these will save you from contracting an illness. 100% cotton, though tightly woven, is still a large enough weave for viruses to move freely through the fabric. Plus, these masks are not sealed around the face like a properly fitting N95 mask.
They can help you from transmitting an illness by lowering the amount of droplets you release in the air. They can also be an extra layer of protection for someone already wearing a medical mask or help stretch the longevity of an N95 mask.
100% cotton fabric
1/4 inch (6mm) elastic or ribbon
Seam Allowance: 1/4 inch (6mm)
Sewing the face mask
I’ll be sewing an adult size in this tutorial, but the steps are exactly the same for the child size. Download the sewing pattern from the sign-up form above! It is free and you can print it at home instantly.
Step 1: Cut a mask using the pattern. Make sure to cut on the fold! You should have a rectangle that is 13.5″ by 9″ (34 cm x 23 cm).
I was able to get 2 of these out of one fat quarter. Presumably you should be able to get 8 masks from one yard of fabric.
Step 2: Give the 9″ ends a 1/4″ (6mm) double hem, which means you will fold the ends over twice 1/4″. Press the hem and sew to secure it.
Step 3: Fold the ends in towards the center so the hemmed edges meet in the middle, right sides together. Over lap the hemmed edges about 1/2″ (1.3 cm) and pin in place.
Step 4: Cut 2 elastic strips 7 inches (18 cm) long each. If you’re using ribbon, cut 4 pieces at 14″ (35.5 cm) each.
Elastic and ribbon for the children’s masks may need to be slightly shorter. Use your own discretion on this.
Step 5: Insert all of the elastic inside the mask and line up the ends in the corner. Leave a tiny bit poking out. Make sure your elastic is not twisted inside the mask. The elastic should be in a U shape.
Ribbon will be inserted into each corner with one end loose inside the mask (no U shape).
Repeat on the other side.
Step 6: Sew both sides closed with a straight stitch. Be sure to back stitch over the elastic/ribbon for extra security.
Trim the excess around each corner. Turn the mask right side out and press flat.
Step 7: Lay the pattern over the mask and mark the pleat lines on both ends. If you have a dark fabric, use pins for this. Lighter fabrics can also use pins or disappearing ink.
Step 8: Pin 3 pleats in place with a Z shaped fold. Repeat on the other side. Be sure the pleats are folded in the same direction on both sides.
Step 9: Sew a straight stitch down the side to secure the pleats in place. Repeat on the other side.
You should now have a completed mask!