Making a face mask
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
I'm switching from creating historic ballgowns to making cotton masks for the hospitals. They are in short supply of medical grade masks and once they are gone, my petticoat fabric will be all they have for a while. This is what my grandmother and great grandmother did and I am now carrying on the tradition.
Here are the steps for making my double ply, cotton face mask. This will not prevent Corona Virus. It will help if you need to go out and are sick or need a dust mask for work. This mask is made with wire added at the top to mold the top edge over the nose and cheeks. You can make it without the wire or leave a seam open so you can add your own filter. These masks should be washed after every single use.
This mask is made from one piece of tightly woven cotton that is 8" X 15". If using a patterned material, make sure to cut the fabric so the pattern will be upright when worn. You'll need two pieces or either rope elastic or 1/4" flat elastic cut to 7 1/4".
Using 5-" of wire is optional. I used a piece of 22 gauge brass wire but you could use a twist tie, green gardening wire or whatever you have handy. If incorporating the wire, take your pliers and make a loop or fold the end over so it won't poke the wearer. This will also help the wire not cut through the fabric during repeated washings. Here is a video demonstrating how to prepare the wire, https://youtu.be/Dp_P2AnDqcI. Set the wire aside.
Fold the fabric over and place one end of each piece of elastic in the upper corners diagonally. With pins, mark 1 1/2" in from each corner and 1/2" up from both bottom corners. Sew in between pins. Reach inside the hole and place the other end of each piece of elastic into the bottom corner diagonally. Sew bottom corners and then clip all corners. Turn mask right side out and press if you'd like. If using the wire, insert it into the opening and slide it under the fold. Pin and stitch the wire into place. Make three pleats on each side, folded toward the bottom, and top stitch from the top to the bottom of each side. Make sure to start at the very top and sew all the way to the bottom to double stitch the elastic in place.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my tutorial. Here is a video showing how to make a more advanced mask with a pocket for a filter, https://youtu.be/3aF-YJtfTcc. If you are able, consider sewing or donating financially to Sewing Masks for Atlanta Hospitals. The Facebook page can be found here, https://www.facebook.com/groups/253579072321528/. Stay safe and happy sewing.