With the rise globally of Covid-19 cases and Germany having just made it mandatory for people to wear face masks when outside, it won’t be long before the UK Government potentially do the same. Personal protective equipment is hard to come by, with the NHS and care workers not having access to enough to adequately protect themselves.
It may be that you chose to tweak it further to suit yourself, but here is my version of the mask which is basic and simple enough for someone with basic sewing machine skills to create.
Please note, I am not a doctor, nor a scientist, nor is my design medically approved; I have simply researched and come up with a design I think more plausible in protecting you than some I’ve found online. As the government keep saying; I followed the science.
A fabric face-covering won’t protect you from getting Covid-19, but it might help prevent you from spreading the disease.
I’ve made various different versions and come up with the following design which seems to be working well for all the people I have made them for.
What I felt was important:
- I’ve tried to use stuff most sewers have lying around so as to make it accessible.
- I also wanted my mask to be machine washable as the increase in one-use disposable items recently has gone through the roof.
- It to be comfortable to wear for extended periods.
- It to be comfortable to talk in without the mask moving around too much.
- I wanted it to actually work to protect people as best possible against Covid-19 without the faff of changing a filter each time. This is where the non-woven interfacing comes in. Covid-19 droplet particles are >5-10 μm in diameter so will go through most fabric, no matter how many layers you have. The non-woven interfacing will protect you better from Covid-19 particles.
What you will need:
- Sewing machine – can be basic as I only use straight stitch!
- Cotton fabric
- Non-woven interfacing – very important that it’s non-woven
- Metal wire
- Printer for your face mask pattern
You can also follow along with my video on YouTube; however, this doesn’t have narration.
Please note that if you don’t have any wire, I’ve seen all sorts of things being used, from hair grips to metal foil baking trays cut into strips. I just felt that wire gave me a much stronger grip around my nose and therefore secured it better.
How to make a face mask
Wash your fabric in order to make it clean and not at risk of shrinking later in the wash.
Cut out your face mask pattern
I used this face mask pattern from CraftPassion.com and have customised it slightly to how I want it.
You can find the pattern to print off yourself in four different sizes below. I’ve found that to make it comfortable, the women one is a little too small and doesn’t fit comfortably around my face and allow me to talk without it moving around and slipping down my face.
For my masks, I’ve used the men’s pattern and drawn around the men’s pattern with a double pen to extend it even further. This seems to give a snug fit still, without it moving around too much. Simply get an elastic band or a hair tie and secure it around two pens, use one pen as a guide around the template and the second to draw the line you’re actually going to cut along.
Cut out 4 layers of cotton and 2 layers of the non-woven interfacing. This will form the basis of your mask.
Try not to use pins where possible as you don’t want to create additional large holes in the mask for particles to enter, especially when it comes to the non-woven interfacing otherwise you’re defeating the purpose in using it.
Separate out two pairs and place them with the fronts of the fabric together.
Put one piece of non-woven interfacing either side of one of the pairs so that you end up with four layers.
Interfacing, cotton, cotton, interfacing.
Around the two layers of cotton (on the left) sew a 1/5 inch seam and snip along the edge to allow it to curve when against your face. This will form the inside of your mask and therefore needs to have a larger seam allowance to be smaller than the outside layer.
Around four layers (on the right) sew a 1/4 inch seam and snip along the edge to allow it to curve when against your face.
Put both pieces together with the front side of the fabric facing and sew along the top of the mask (the most curved bit). This can be fiddly, but again, try not to use pins to hold it together.
Create a casing for your piece of wire which is going to sit across the bridge of your nose.
Cut a piece of wire which sits comfortably across the bridge of your nose and cut a piece of fabric roughly with as much excess as the picture below.
- You want to be able to fold it over the wire and give you enough space to run a sewing machine foot along the excess without the wire getting in the way.
- You also want enough excess along each edge in order to fold the fabric over the edge of the wire numerous times to not risk it poking into your nose later down the line. Ladies, we’ve all had a bra wire poke us in the chest – none of that please.
Fold the fabric lengthways across the wire and sew as close to the wire as possible to keep it in place.
Fold the width of the fabric over the edge of the wire at an angle,
Then fold it back on itself at an angle so that the point of the wire is now coated with 4 layers of fabric and sew in place.
Repeat on the other edge of the wire.
You’ve now created a dodgy looking wonky cover for your wire.
Separate your two sides and sew your wire cover into the single layer of fabric which will be on the inside of your mask. Place the wire at the top of the seam allowance in order for it to sit at top of the material when turned inside out, this will give you the snuggest fit and not allow for gaps around your nose.
The wire cover in the picture is in a different material so that I can show you more easily where to place it.
Fold the mask back over. Sew along the bottom of the two pieces of material.
Turn the mask the right way around and fold in the open edges on each to fit your face.
Cut three lengths of elastic.
Two to tie together which you’ll sew at the bottom of the mask. The third will be sewn in at both sides of the top of your mask and will fit tightly around your head.
You will have seen a lot of face mask designs with elastic just sitting around people’s ears, but I didn’t think this would be comfortable for long term wearing of the face mask.
On one side of the face mask thread in two pieces of elastic and sew in place. I ran two lines of sticking along the side to hold in the elastic, just to make sure it wasn’t going to pop out.
On the second side of the mask, thread the last strand into the bottom of the mask. Then pick up the elastic you’ve sewn in the top of the mask on the other side and thread this into the top of the mask.
Sew both pieces in place.
And there you have it, an odd-looking face mask that might just protect you and your loved ones.
Now, we’re off to Sainsburys!
Stay safe and stay creative