Are you crafty and looking to help?
Usually, I would talk about women's ski clothing or something winter-related, but currently, times are a bit different. I find myself asking “what can I do to help?”...I found a solution that worked for me.
During these times we rely on each other for help, but due to the circumstances, we must stay 6 ft. apart. You hear and see motivational stories about how people are dropping off groceries at a neighbors house, donating food at a local food bank, friends and families standing outside of their loved ones' homes singing and holding up signs to make their day a little brighter. These are all wonderful ideas, but I found one idea that put my hands and skills to use.
On a local news station, there was a special about groups of women sewing fabric masks to prepare in case of an emergency...In my head, I was like, “I can make those. I have a sewing machine. I can do this. I CAN HELP!”. I researched for a mask pattern and found a hospital in Indiana providing info and a video on how to make a fabric mask. The next day, I set out to Joann Fabrics (I was thankful they were open and compliant with social distancing), bought the essentials and VOILA! - I made my first fabric mask. If you are like me and enjoy crafting and have a sewing machine. This project can be for you.
Here is how I made a fabric mask and where I will be donating them.
- Sewing machine
- 100% Cotton Fabric (I chose a printed fabric)
- Fabric Scissors
- Paper or Brown Paper Bag
- Flat Elastic or Double Bias Tape (I used 3/8” flat elastic)
Make the pattern:
- Adult mask - 9” x 6”
- Children's mask - 7 ½” x 5”
Use a ruler to outline the rectangular shape of the mask onto the brown paper bag (if you don’t have a brown paper bag you can use any kind of paper) and cut it out. Don’t forget to write down which pattern size is which.
Cut out the fabric and elastic strips:
- Apply the pattern on top of the fabric you picked, either outline the pattern with a marker or use pins to secure the pattern and cut out the swatches. Note: You will need 2 rectangular pieces (same size) to construct a mask. To save time I doubled the fabric before cutting.
- Cut the flat elastic to 7”. To construct the mask you will need a total of 2 elastic bands.
Constructing the mask:
1. Take your two pieces of fabric and have the right sides (patterns) facing each other. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Put the flat elastic inside the edge of the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this in place.
2. Sew to the next corner, but stop before reaching the end of the corner. Bring the other end of the same elastic to the inside corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
3. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put another elastic band inside the edge of the corner. Sew back and forth to hold it in place.
4. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic to the inside edge of the corner.
5. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread.
6. Turn inside out.
7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are in the same direction.
8. Sew ¼ “ around the edge of the mask.
9. VOILA! You have made your first fabric mask.
These instructions can be applied to an adult or children sized mask. For an extra layer of protection. You can add a layer of polypropylene fabric in-between the cotton printed fabrics.
The first mask took me 15-20 minutes to complete. Once I got into the groove and prepped the fabric cuttings, each mask then took me 5 - 8 minutes to sew. So far, I have made 25 masks and will continue making them. I plan to donate them to a few of my friends who work in the medical field and Joann Fabrics. Joann Fabrics will be accepting fabric masks to support local medical personnel: https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response/
You can reach out to your local news station and see if your county, city, or town are accepting fabric masks.
Here are a couple resources and video links for a step-by-step mask tutorial:
Remember, we are all in this together and we will get through this together. Stay safe!
Note: These are not medical grade masks and they will not replace the N95 masks. Fabric masks will be used for a crisis response emergency when no other options are available. Please see the CDC for more information - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html
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