Introduction: Face Mask

This tutorial will help you make a full coverage face mask using minimal basic supplies. The idea of this tutorial is to not only teach the "how-to" but also some tips on how to get creative to find supplies when stores may be sparse due to the Covid-19 crises. Before we delve into materials needed, a few notes:

- Machine needles - you want to ensure you have a needle installed in the machine that can handle thick fabric because you will be working with layers of fabric. I use denim/leather needles because they can handle layers very easily.

- Machine setting - For this simple project, you want to use a straight stitch, needle centered, and a tight short stitch.

- Fabrics - choose breathable fabrics that are not too flimsy or delicate, but also not too course or thick. Recommendations: cottons, cotton/poly blends with not too much "stretch", bandannas, very thin cotton flannel (such as infant receiving blankets) old t-shirts, bed sheets, thin curtains.

NOT recommended - denim, corduroy, burlap, thick flannel, blankets/comforters, towels, silk scarves, 100% poly.

You need enough fabric to cut two pieces that are about 9x9 each. If using fat quarters(a 1/4 yard of cut fabric), or your fabric is just short of that, just ensure you don't go less than 8.5 inches on any side and your project should still come out fine using this tutorial for an adult sized mask.

- Ear cuffs - choose soft and stretchy elastic - if this cannot be found in stores, see what clothing you may have around the home that you were going to donate or sell - you can find elastic in several waist bands and even some styles of shirts. You can also find elastic in fitted sheets - LOTS of it! I prefer to use thick hair ties or stretchy head bands, cut them to 6 inch strips and pull them til they curl and make stretchy cuffs. I also hear if you cut open a bungee cord you will find some - but I have yet to test that theory.


Basics needed:

1. Sewing machine (note: this project can be accomplished with a needle and thread by hand but the results will take longer, and may not look like the finished project in the photos - but can still be efficient and functional!)

2. Thread

3. Scissors

4. Push pins

5. Ruler - it doesn't have to be fancy like mine - you can also use a tape measure - but a flat ruler will make it easier to mark fabric when you need to cut it.

6. Dark pen (to mark light fabrics) optional - white pencil (to mark dark fabrics)

7. Iron & place/space to iron

8. Stitch remover - to quickly fix mistakes

Step 1:

Note: The "right" side of the fabric means the side with the print on it, and the "wrong" side is the light side with the faded print.

Start by taking your two pieces of fabric and flipping them with the right side down. Fold down one of the edges 1/2 inch. Iron all the way across. Do this to both pieces.

Then take the pieces and line them up with right sides together, with the two edges you just ironed together as well. Pin in place if desired.

Step 2:

Starting on the top corner where the ironed/folded edges meet, sew down the edge, 1/2 inch in from the edge, all the way down that side, stopping 1/2" from the bottom.

Keeping the needle in the fabric, lift the foot and turn the fabric and do the next edge. Repeat sewing the 1/2 inch in from edge, stop 1/2 inch from bottom, and repeat for the third side, this time going all the way to the end.

Stop, remove from machine, and cut off loose threads. You should now have three sides sewn together, with the 4th side that has the matching ironed/folded edges remaining open.

Step 3:

Now the corners need to be cut off at a 45 degree angle to the edges. This will help the corners more easily pop out nicely once turned right-side-out. Also if your material is a bit thick, its a good idea to cut the excess edges off as well so your needle isn't having to struggle sewing through too many layers. Even on thinner fabrics this is a good idea, but it is still is optional.

Step 4:

Take your project and flip it right side out. Reach in with your hand and use your finger to pop out the edges and corners - gently use a small screwdriver or pen/pencil if you need help on the corners. Lay it out and take an iron to it and press the creases, ensuring the open edge is lined up nicely with the other side when ironing that edge.

Step 5:

Starting with the open edge sew it shut, sewing 1/2 inch from the edge, stoppin 1/2 inch from the bottom.

Turn, and do the same all the way around all 4 sides, to create a new clean stitch all around.

Step 6:

You will now be creating 3 folds in the mask. OPTIONAL: you can use a ruler to be precise, but I do not, I just do it my eye/hand and adjust as needed.

Grasp the sides near the bottom of one side and make a fold about 3/4 to 1 inch. Hold it in place, and flip the corner up and look under it. Make sure you have left about 1/4 inch space from the bottom edge on the flipped up side. Hold it nice and straight and steady, and pin down both sides. Ensure it is a nice straight fold before moving on

Step 7:

Flip it over, and spin it around and do the same with the other opposite edge. This time, flip it over before you pin it down, so that both the top and bottom fold are pinned down on the same side.

Step 8:

Now you will grasp the sides right in the middle about 3/4 inch up from the top of that bottom fold, to make a fold in the middle just like the other two. Pin it down on both sides. Now look at both edges. Ensure the folds are all about the same size, and that they don't overlap on top of each other. Make adjustments if needed, Then lay it flat and make sure all the folds and edges look neat and straight, make adjustments if needed.

Step 9:

Ear loops: Choose the ear loops you are going to use. Holding the bottom fold in place, unpin one side. Place an end of an ear loop approx 3/4 to 1 inch inside the fold. Re-pin the fold on top of it, putting the pin through the ear loop.

Bring the other end of the ear loop up and do the same with the top fold (If using a flat piece of elastic or flat hair tie, ensure you don't twist it, keep it flat). Pin in place. Repeat on the opposite side.

Step 10:

Try the mask on (be careful of the pins - don't poke yourself!). Ensure the mask isn't too tight or too loose. If it is too tight, the loops will have a hard time staying on your ears and will pop off (see 2nd photo). If the mask is too loose it will sag off of your face.

Step 11:

Optional: TIES.

If you are having a hard time finding elastic or just don't like ties or are having a hard time making them work for you, you can make ties instead. These ties are sometimes called "bias tape". Bias tape can sometimes be found already made online or in hobby stores. You also can buy fabric strips already cut in 2.5 inch strips. If either can be found, its easy enough to make your own.

Cut 4 strips of fabric, 2.5 inches wide and 18 inches long.

Take one end and fold in 1/2 inch and iron to make a crease - this will be the end of your tie so it won't fray or unravel.

Then fold in half long ways and iron to make another crease.

Fold each edge in - the top & then bottom, to the middle crease - ironing along the way.

Then fold in half again, and iron down.

Sew shut all the way down, and cut off excess strings.

Take the end you did NOT fold over inside, remove the pins from the folds as shown in earlier steps, and put ties in place. Replace pics.

Step 12:

Starting with one short edge, slowly stitch down, a bit closer to the edge than the previous stitch, all the way down through all the layers, removing pins as you go. Stop just short of the bottom edge, and turn.

Stitch down the long edge, also just in from the previous stitch.

Stop and turn, and stitch on the opposite side short edge, slowly through the layers, and turn and stitch the fourth edge.

Ensure when stitching on the long edges that you aren't catching any folds together.

Inspect your finished project for any threads that need cut off, and stitches that are too crooked or loose etc, and make any adjustments needed.

Step 13:

Wash the mask in warm water on the delicate cycle. Dry for 30 minutes on medium heat.

Remove from dryer - you will probably see the mask isn't as straight and pretty as before but that's ok! Inspect the mask to see if anything tore, if any stitching came out, and ear loops or ties came undone, and make any repairs necessary. Use a little mist of Lysol spray on both sides to sanitize it for any germs. Iron the nice and flat again.

If getting it ready for someone other than yourself, bag up to keep clean until delivery.