DIY Cloth Face Masks

When I recently was asked to make some more cloth face masks for the coronavirus, COVID-19 requirements when out and about, I went back to my recent post (HERE) and was chagrined to see that I had only noted where I found the information for the mask covers, but not the plain masks. Hence I determined to add a little more detail in this post so I can refer back to it the the next time I need to make some more. Hopefully, it will be helpful for you, dear reader, should you choose to try your hand at making an adult reversible cloth face mask. Speaking of hands, make sure to wash your hands well before starting this project!

This time I used:

  • two 9″x7″ pieces of 100% cotton pre-washed material (last time it was 9×6 and I though it was too small),
  • a 4″x1 3/4″ piece of material to hold the pipe-cleaner nose piece,
  • two 4″ pieces of pipe cleaner (aka chenille stems) and
  • two 7″ pieces of 1/4″ elastic (thanks, sweet cuz, for sending me what you had, as there’s none to be found down here!)

To make the nose-piece, fold the small 4″x1 3/4″ piece of material in half and place the two pipe cleaner pieces inside, near the fold, then sew around the three open sides: across the pipe cleaners on the two short sides and close to them on the long side.

Place the two large pieces of fabric right sides together. Center the nose piece on the top of 9″ side, between the two layers of fabric, with the pipe cleaners hanging outside the fabric with the seam just inside the edges of the material and pin the two ends. Start sewing a 1/4″ seam across the bottom of the 9″ side (the side opposite the nose piece), starting about 4″ in from the 7″ edge.

Turn the corner 1/4″ from the edge and, after a stitch or two, put one of the elastic pieces in between the two pieces of fabric, setting the edge flush with the edges of the fabric. I sew back and forth over the elastic a couple of times to keep it from pulling out. Continue sewing this side, being careful not to tangle the elastic into your seam until you reach about 1/2″ from the corner. Gently pull the free end of the elastic between the fabric pieces, making sure it isn’t twisted, set it flush with the edges of the fabric and sew over it several times, then continue to 1/4″ from the corner.

Turn the corner and continue across the top edge, sewing back and forth across the nose piece before continuing to the next corner.

Turn the corner and stitch this side, adding the elastic just like you did the opposite side.

Turn the corner and stitch about 1/2-1″, leaving a 2-2.5″ opening. It will look something like the piece on the left of the picture below:

Turn the mask inside out by pushing the fabric through the opening and poking out the corners and press. Top stitch 1/8″ around the entire rectangle, making sure the edges of the unfinished ‘hole’ for turning the mask inside-out are tucked in. Trim any excess material from the nose piece, making sure not to cut the seams on either side.

Note: The above steps are easily found on most any other DIY post in case you’re totally confused by now.

Making the pleats, however, is where I had a little difficulty both times and really wished someone had posted a picture to help my pea brain figure it out. This time, I took a picture to help me out next time:

Fold back 1 1/4″ from the bottom. Fold up 1/2″ and pin. Repeat twice, 1/2″ further up each time, leaving 1/2″ at the top, as seen above. Sew across the entire edge several times to reinforce the pleats as they will feel the pull. (My old machine gave me fits a couple of times due to the thickness of the fabric. Repeat on the other end. Press with a hot iron. below, you can see the difference between the previous ones that were 6″ (left) vs these that were 7″ (right). I think the pleats turned out much better this time and hope they worked well.

Being in a family where all three of us have severely compromised immune systems, my thanks to all who have chosen to unselfishly wear cloth masks in public to help protect others during this pandemic!

~D.Ann

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