As face coverings are required in shops from tomorrow, I’ve been busy making my own. There are loads of patterns available on the internet – there seem to be three main types: pleated, shaped and with a pocket for a removable filter. I made a couple of pleated ones a while ago, but decided I needed more. I now have enough use once before washing ready to use again and I can even co-ordinated with outfits! I’ve already noticed discarded disposable masks lying around – I’d far rather have reusable ones and not contribute to litter and plastic pollution.
There are lots of guidelines about using masks correctly. Of course they have to cover mouth AND nose, without gaps at the edges. They should be removed and handled with the elastics rather than the fabric and washed after use.
I experimented with some different designs and decided the shaped ones fitted me better. I used one of the the Big Community Sew patterns – The website includes a couple of patterns (one shaped, one pleated) and instructions, along with lots of videos of people from Great British Sewing Bee making them. I did modify the method though. My version includes 3 layers of fabric (as recommended by World Health Organisation) instead of two. This is how I did it.
I used an old sheet for the inner and lining and print cotton for the outer layer. I only used the lining pattern piece, cutting 3 pairs of pieces.
With a 1cm seam allowance, and right sides together, machine stitch the long curved edge of each pair, then cut notches in the seam allowance and press.
Next, stack the three sections together as follows to ensure the centre seams are hidden.
Bottom: outer print layer right side up
Middle: lining, right side down
Top: inner layer, right side down.
Then stitch the three sections together, 1cm from the top and bottom edges and turn inside out. Press.
Fold all the raw edges on both ends of the mask inside (1cm) and press. Measure how much elastic you’ll need. to fit round your ear, allowing 1cm at each end to stitch inside the open edge you’ve just pressed under. (I use about 18 cm each side, but it’s worth measuring – I’m having to redo the elastic on one I made for K as his was too small!). Insert the elastic to form ear loops at each side, pinning the ends of each elastic piece Icm inside the opening. Stitch all the way round, simultaneously closing the open ends, securing the elastic and top stitching the top and bottom edges.
And that’s it!
I now have a quite a selection, from florals, to pinstripe, animal print to nautical. Which one do you like best?