There is a shortage of medical masks, and lots of crafty/sewing types are cranking them out. I am, too. And lots of people want to know more about the pattern.
I was using the basic pattern from Deaconess Hospital in Evansville (where I think our godson was born 35+ years ago); it can be found here. But then my friend, Stephanie Williams, founder of Roxie Rose Kids and The Lemon Seed Boutique in Bedford, Indiana (and Hen and Chicks Barn Market Vendor!), made some improvements to the basic pattern and made a video outlining every step, with some great tips for less waste of fabric and better sewing in general (as in, trim your stray threads as you go, which I always regret not doing!) Her version has a great inside pocket for inserting some sort of third-layer filtering sheet; she also suggests making ties for the mask from strips of jersey material pulled tight and threaded through the mask (it reminds of of the surgeons on MASH). However, our local hospital is requesting elastic which fits over the ears and I happened to have a supply of elastic, so that's what I am showing here.
A dear friend - hi, Virginia - is hoping to make 100 masks for the New York hospital where her cousin is a doctor. I told her I would make some for her, too, and take pictures of the process and send her the steps. Then I realized that it would probably be easier if I put them all in one spot. (This is how I blog post is born, I suppose.)
(And just as an FYI, I did masks like I do quilt piecing - I cut many pieces at once, and run them through my machine daisy-chain style. I do about 10 masks at a time; the first step with all 10, then the second step with all ten, etc. Also, I don't pin if I don't think I need to - you may want to. And I don't iron much - please iron as much as you like - yours will probably be much neater, like Stephanie's!)
Needs: Good quality cotton fabric, thread, pins, pipe cleaner, 1/4" elastic, some sort of filter/barrier
First, cut your main fabric into an 8" x 16" rectangle:
Also cut two strips, 2" by about 6" (this can be the same fabric or a contrast):
Fold your mask into a sort of pocket, and pin:
On the top edge, sew a channel 4/8" from the top: (I marked 4/8" on my sewing machine plate with a piece of washi tape - this really helps when sewing many masks at one time):
Using side cuts, cut the pipe cleaner in half:
Then fold it in half:
Sew 2 1/2" from the end of the channel, perpendicular to your channel seam (again, I have the 2 1/2" marked with washi):
Sew across pleats on both sides of mask:
(I just didn't believe this would work until it worked!)
It looks so small and tidy,
Finger press a small hem on the outside of the strip:
Fold in and stitch, creating a channel for the elastic.
Repeat for second side.
Cut 1/4" elastic into 7-8" pieces.
Using a safety pin, thread one piece of the elastic through the channel:
Sew the ends of the elastic together (I find this the trickiest part, and use a chop stick to hold and guide the elastic so I don't sew my fingers. It's happened.) Go forward and reverse several times to make sure the elastic is secure:
Thread the sewn junction of the elastic into the channel and secure with a small seam to keep it there.
I've seen and heard about people using all sorts of things for the filter inside the pocket - I'm not sure what is best, but I've been cutting out pieces of heavy interfacing and sending it along with the masks - at least it's one more layer between germs and other people:
I hope this helps those who are helping those who are helping to keep us all healthy.
Peace, love and hugs, from a social distance, of course.