Anyone making fabric masks? Best patterns/instructions?

It wasn’t. :slight_smile: But I learned a lot about what not to do…

Today’s mask project went much quicker and I actually like how this one turned out. I made another of the same pattern I used yesterday, making adjustments that improved the finished item. Only about two hours today. The extra time was down to having to re-learn how to thread my sewing machine and load up a new bobbin. It’s years since I’ve sewn much. Obviously. :o

By tomorrow, I may knock out two!

My nurse friend has been sewing face masks from this pattern, and they look to fit well:

Aspenglow, I’m very relieved I can still find the instruction manual for my sewing machine. I wouldn’t have remembered how to thread a bobbin without it, it’s been so long. I had misplaced the power cord for the machine, but it’s a pretty standard one, and DH had one I could borrow from a piece of computer equipment he wasn’t currently using. Reminds me, must remember to order another one (or two?).

I’ve made two types of cloth mask so far. One is the plain rectangle with pleats. It requires no pattern. There are a number of websites with tutorials/youtubes for this one.

The other type I made is a duckbill type, which uses a simple pattern. I used this website, printing her pattern.

I’ve held onto my basic sewing stuff and a machine for decades.

I forgot how much I hate sewing.

I’ve stayed home for almost a month now, but have to head out to restock food today, so I’ll test them out. My nose is broken and stopped up from allergies, and I’m weirdly claustrophobic, so this should be . . . interesting. . . . Just from trying the two types out at home, it feels like the duckbill will be more comfortable, since it gives the beak more space.

I’m off my essential job for five days of vacation so, among other projects, I started making some face masks. I’ve been using the pleated rectangle pattern and old flannel shirts I’ve been saving for projects, getting 4-6 masks out of a shirt (due to having to cut around things like holes). For me, the hitch has been the ties - I don’t seem to have any ribbons or bias tape and sewing fabric ties was slowing me down. So I’ve been experimenting with chained crochet and braided acrylic yarn for ties, which I can make a lot faster and I have supplies to make

Maybe shoe laces would be good for mask ties. The athletic ones typically have a bit of stretch to them.

Thanks for sharing that, Seanette. I don’t feel quite so inept! :slight_smile:

Apart from a semester of Home Ec in eighth grade about <mumble> years ago, half of which was dedicated to cookery (aced that, at least!), and then a resurgent bit of madness 10 years ago when I decided to make a few skirts and forgot that I spent most of my sewing time in the Home Ec class unpicking, I have not sewn. I was not raised in a household where sewing was learned at mother’s knee. I always feel quite adrift when I’m trying to do it, even stupid-easy things like these masks.

I did at least have the foresight to buy an excellent machine, otherwise known as the Sewing Machine for Perennial Unpickers. It compensates for many of my shortcomings. Which is good, because I hope to make quite a few more of these for friends and family.

Best wishes for your own efforts!

Well, yes, they would work fine… except I have no spares and I really am trying not to go anywhere during my mini-vacation both because I need the break and because it’s the right thing to do.

Although I might run a couple of necessary errands this afternoon, drop off the masks to people I know, and that would be at a store that might also sell useful stuff like bias tape, ribbons, and shoelaces…

My sewing machine clutch is frozen :frowning:

After a mere three hours of grocery shopping while wearing the cloth duckbill, I’ve realized I will need to install a tiny ice bag in my masks, since I seem to have fiery hot breath, and quickly overheated.

I made the non-sew one in post #2 today before I went to the store, using a coffee filter (basket in my case) a bandana we had lying around and rubber bands. Worked fine, took only a minute to do first time. I understand some grocery stores around here are not letting people in without a mask, mine is. I’m not going to wear it when walking since I never go near anyone.

It is more of a sign than protecting anyone from me, since I’m pretty sure I’m virus free.

Tonight I realized I’d been sewing the nose bridges to my masks on “upside down”. That is in the accordion masks, the side touching your face needs to be pleats facing down so nothing can collect in the folds. And I sewed my masks with the folds being down in the front, never flipping it around to see that it’s opposite in the back.


I had only finished 3. Two were proof of concept and the third was where I realized my mistake. I had triaged all the other masks. Like I cut all the fabric. Then sewed the tops. Then sewed the sides. So if I found a trick or a problem, I could work faster assembly line style.

So now to correct it I’m just going to sew another nose piece on the “bottom” which should really be the top. The mask works fine with my braided metal thread around the chin.

My suggestion for those making masks? Mark the face side and top in some way. I am using red thread to make a little X on my pale masks. I’d just use a Sharpie but I can’t find one. It’ll make it much easier to put the mask on just looking for your mark rather than touching all over the damn thing, going “is this the right way? oh no it’s this way, right? oh I was right the first time.”

Word got out I make masks.

I can not keep up with demand just from neighbors and coworkers.

I’ve told people I’m not charging but I need more materials to make them. Think that will work out. Will be driving my pickup for a few days in case that turns out more successful than anticipated…

I’ve gotten better at making them, at last. They’re the perfect item for me to practice and improve my sewing in general, as well as use up scraps of material. Lots of straight seams, simple pleats, nothing challenging.

I modified my design to include a pocket at the bottom, eliminated the bonding fabric and instead am using a double thickness of material for a total of 4 layers. The pocket allows a paper towel to be inserted to add another layer of protection between the double layers of fabric.

I made four today for my parents. Each took about 30 minutes. I no longer need to refer to any instructions for either the sewing machine or mask construction. Progress!

I wish I had pipe cleaners. I’d add them to the top of the mask to ensure a closer fit around the nose. Maybe I can find a substitute. For now, I guess tape will have to do.

The plastic ties that come with garbage bags works perfectly, ifyou have any lying around, you can zigzag right over them! Sweet!

Cool idea, elbows! Thanks for the suggestion! Bonus: I can play around with the zigzag function on my machine. :smiley:

I’ll have a squiz around here and see if I can find any. I have a ton of bread bag ties… I wonder if those would work? :slight_smile:

I tried craft wire. Seems OKish.

My big challenge is keeping my glasses from fogging.

Hadn’t gotten around to trying my mask in public until today (I still had a manufactured one, but surrendered that to DH for a grocery run today, after Lysol). I’d established in short home trials that 18" ties weren’t long enough, so I replaced those with 24". I was using two layers of cotton quilting fabric, and ran into a major condensation problem. Wonder if there’s still some sort of sizing on the fabric?

Has it been through the wash yet, Seanette? If not, throw it in now on hot and see if it’s better.

My wife has been sewing masks based on a pattern provided by a large local hospital (PM me if you’d like the pattern). She sewed all the masks they asked of her, has also done so for our family and several friends and neighbors, and is now doing so for members of our Episcopal parish, on a first-come, first-serve basis from a signup list they’ve set up.