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Making a face mask…

Have you made a face mask? I’ve seen lots of posts and videos but I wasn’t sure if they were effective prevention against the Corona Virus. A friend asked me to make a mask for his girlfriend. She is working in a restaurant take-away and can’t get hold of any masks. His opinion is it is better than nothing.

I asked some family members who are working in key jobs said they would feel more comfortable wearing a mask and asked me to make some for them. Since then I’ve read that even if the non-surgical grade masks don’t protect the wearer from the virus, they stop the wearer spreading the disease to someone else. So that has to be a good thing.

I chose a cotton poplin from my fabric stash that could withstand washing at 60oC. I read that fabrics need to be washed with soap at this temperature to help breakdown the proteins of the virus. Poly-cotton is also a good fabric choice for this project. I recommend the fabric not being too thick as the design contains two layers plus pleats. The wearer needs to be able to breathe through all that fabric. Old cotton or poly-cotton shirts would also work as a material to use. T-shirts or jersey fabric could also be used if it is first fixed with non-woven interfacing.

I always pick up random pieces of vintage haberdashery when I see it at charity shops and vintage fairs. Well, you never know when it might come in handy! I was in luck, this piece of white elastic will work perfectly. It even states ‘not spoiled if boiled’!

Karla from my Fast Fashion Therapy group sent me a You Tube video of a pattern created by Leah Day. She has been making them for a hospital that her daughter works at. She said the staff wear them to and from the hospital then swapping to surgical grade once in the wards. The pattern and instructions were really simple. In the comments people have suggested the pleats should face down (opposite to the video) so the dust is not trapped. You will need pipe cleaners, luckily my local hardwear store are still open and had a packet.

UPDATE: Since writing this there is a shortage of elastic. I’ve also made some masks using these instructions from Tilly & The Buttons, which use ties rather than elastic. They worked well. Instead of using long pieces of fabric for the ties, I used bias binding, folded it over and stitched across the opening to secure. Or this Stitchless TV video upcycles fabric from other resources such as a sleeping bag!

I’ve now made the masks to give to friends and family, they have been popular. Stay safe!

Please note the efficacy of this mask has not been tested. I made them as an option as it is difficult to buy surgical grade masks and also want these to be saved for people who are dealing with the general public in their jobs.