78. Emergency (face Mask) Sewn

The call for much needed support for United States Health Care Services being met by the Sewing Community

Last weekend I ran across an article for sewing face masks for the Doctors, Nurses and Health Care workers who were running low on their medical face mask in the United States. I have found that Nurses and Pediatricians with sewing skills are meeting this need, and creating face masks for those who work on the front lines in Hospitals and other Health Care facilities. I felt these professionals were brilliant with their creativity in meeting a needed. I wanted to share the mask I’m making for my 82 year old mother who lives in Toronto and who I believe would be safer with a mask when she has to leaves her apartment.

These masks are for air born droplets from talking, sneezing and coughing. If you are donating sewn masks to hospitals then they will wash the masks. For your own personal cleaning of the face mask, a washing machine or dipping it in boiling water that has soap to sterilize the mask so you can reuse it. Use what ever method you feel is necessary.

Link for the mask I’m sewing

https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR0NpCLPmCcI40kgPRz3qLaK_TT1rf_-uleQcLOvx71Gb_axDGR1dt9Ym2Y

This link has an instructional video for sewing the face mask with flat elastic. There are also 2 PDF files for face masks with ties and elastic. There are adult/child sizes.

Materials Needed

  • 100% Cotton (quilting fabric), One fat quarter gives you 3 masks at (9 x 6) inches with flat elastic, you’ll need extra fabric for making binding strips.
  • Package of flat elastic (1/4) inch wide or make binding strips at 34 inches by 1 1/2 inches each, make two.
  • Thread, straight pins and scissors.
  • Note pad and pencil for your own notes.

My Transcript from Video (Adult)

  • Use pre washed fabric because shrinkage and any chemical finish.
  • Cut 2 rectangles of 100% cotton (9 x 6) inches.
  • Cut 2 flat 1/4 in elastic strips at 7 in long.
  • Place right sides of fabric together, pin in place.
  • Start sewing (straight stitch) at halfway mark on (9 inch) side. There is 3/8 to 1/2 inch seam allowance, which ever seam allowance you feel comfortable with. The 3/8 in follows along the edge of sewing foot, this is what I did.
  • Placing elastic at corner: An inch before you reach the first corner you will place the elastic with one end at and towards the corner, halfway btwn 9 inch and 6 inch edges. The remainder of the elastic will be btwn the two pieces of fabric at an angle.
  • Continue sewing to and around the corner making sure you sew over the elastic. Do the same with the next corner, placing the other end of the elastic, the same as first corner, creating the loop that will go over your ear.
  • On the next ( 9 inch) edge you’ll create a hole by ending your stitching and starting again in 2-3 inch. This creates a hole for you to turn your fabric right-side out.
  • Continue sewing around the other corners, and placing the elastic correctly.
  • Finish sewing to where you started.
  • Turn the mask right-side out.
  • Poke the corners out and I give a quick press with steam from my iron.
  • Pin Tucks: You’ll do 3 pin tucks on each 6 inch edge making sure tucks are going in the same direction.
  • Top stitch 1/4 inch around all edges two times for strength and reinforcement, making sure you catch the elastics on your way around.

Special Notes:

  • The flat elastic is too long for me, I would cut 6 inch long strips because my face is smaller. I had to pinch a bit and sew to make elastic shorter for a better fit.
  • For the children’s sizes, there was no elastic length given, so I’d try btwn 4-6 inch strips depending on the child age.
  • When sewing the last two rounds, around the face mask. Sew the 1/4 inch seam allowance because you’ll sew over the ends where the elastic joins the corners.
  • These masks are double layer 100% cotton, they’re reusable and washable.
  • These masks do not take the place of hospital grade surgical masks but the do fill a need due to shortage.
  • Please join a group that is already working with a Hospital.
  • Some videos position elastic differently, checkout Links at the end for the Youtube video for an example.
  • From cutting fabric to finishing touches the whole project takes about 30 minutes per mask.

Some photos I took for a visual reference.

This is how you place your elastic at each corner, 6 inch ends.
What the elastic should look like at the ends before sewing.
You’ll see the pin tucks are pointed down and in same direction on both sides.
I stay stitched the pin tucks down and removed pins before I sewed around the edges.
What the face mask looks like in full before stitching down along all edges.

Finished the Face Mask, front and side view.

More links for different face masks:

There is a wealth of important information in the following links, please take the time to read.

https://buffalonews.com/2020/03/19/former-pediatrican-in-amherst-sewing-cotton-surgical-masks-urging-others-to-help/

Nurses All Over Are Asking People to Sew Masks. Here’s How You Can Help.

https://freesewing.org/docs/patterns/fu/instructions/

Your Sewing Skills Are Needed In The Fight Against Covid-19

God Bless & Keep Sewing On

I hope this post has encourage you to see hope and light at the end of the tunnel. We will survive this pandemic because we are made of strong stuff, just look around at all the amazing people stepping up to find solutions. I feel encouragement because of these people and I thank God that I can be part of the solution by sharing, Amen.

Until next time, Jennifer

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