Sunday, 5 April 2020

Sewing a fabric face mask

Hi everyone,

In these crazy Covid-19 lockdown times, I think we have to focus on what we can do to control our own behaviour. We are entering the third week of self isolation / lockdown at home.

I am loving being able to just mooch around catching up on various things. My sewing machine has taken up residence on the conservatory table because there is no chance of visitors & it is handy for the projects I have not completed.

However, I am aware of the conflicting advice re the wearing of fabric masks but I thought I would feel a lot happier if I had 2 at home for hubby & I incase we have to go out & wanted to feel we were doing everything to protect ourselves.

I read the NBC News advice on which fabrics work better than others  so I feel that I am doing it well.

The best masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight "quilters cotton" with a thread count of at least 180, and had thicker and tighter weave.

If the fabric allows for a substantial amount of light to shine through, it's probably going to allow tiny viral particles through, as well.  Wash masks regularly, with regular detergent and in regular washing machine cycles.

The advice on a Vogue article on wearing of masks looks at the pros & cons of wearing masks. 

In essence, masks are created primarily to protect not the wearer, but those around them, absorbing the micro droplets expelled when coughing, sneezing, or even speaking. “There is some extra protection for the wearer, but it is imperfect. It’s good to think about wearing a mask as protecting your community and asking your community to do the same for you,” added Howard.

There are also some concerns that masks could create a false sense of security, whereby wearers scale back on important preventative measures such as hand-washing and distancing, though there don’t seem to be specific studies on this. 

I found this easy version with a good video to make it very user friendly - it is important to select the fabric carefully  following the advice above. I fortunately have a good stash of fabrics. I made a paper template the right size - 9x6 inches, then cut 3 pieces of fabric for each - a front, middle, back & two pieces of elastic about 8 inches in length.  I like paper templates as they make it much easier to cut out fabrics.

I decided on pink (for me) and a paisley (for hubby) with the sort of woven quilted fabric for the middle & a woven cotton for the back ...

Line the fabrics up per the video - the middle fabric, then the front fabric right way up on top of that, then the last fabric wrong side up on top. Pin the elastic between the outside fabric & the front fabric.

As you can see, I pinned the elastics wrong - the loop has to be to the inside, luckily I noticed as I am really short of elastic - take note of that when you pin yours, because once it is sewn & turned right side out, it will be to the outside ....

Start sewing at the one side just at the bottom elastic, reversing over the elastic to strengthen it, then sew all the way around, returning to the same side & finishing at the elastic (reversing again) as the opening will allow for it to be turned right way out.

I snipped the corners to get rid of the bulk before turning the mask through ...

Mine are a little bulky with the woven inner fabric but this is how they look with the opening still visible between the two elastics on the right.

Fold it over twice to make two pleats across the mask, pin it in place & then sew through the pleats & close the opening.

My pink one being completed.

The pleats hold it in place then open up across the face so it covers the nose & mouth

This is how it looks when the pleats open up to give the size needed to protect the nose & mouth

I am rather pleased with my efforts - there were a few snags - pinning the elastics wrong, the middle fabric being a bit bulky which made sewing the pleats tricky. However, I am pleased with the efforts & the video is useful to refer to while sewing

Since doing this earlier in the week, I have noted that the US Government are encouraging people to wear masks in public & several Medical practises in the UK have asked the public to make masks such as these to donate to hospitals etc so I feel that I made the right decision to plan ahead for us.

Stay safe everyone, your health & that of the vulnerable is in your hands so make good decisions & stay home.

Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to your company & comments, tell me if you make them, 

Dee ~💕~

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