DIY Fabric Face Masks – Help Local Hospitals

March 23, 2020

With the current health crisis, there is a massive need for DIY fabric face masks. They do not replace the N95 masks that are in use, rather they extend the life of the masks. Anything helps at this point. I am going to point you to an established post on another bloggers site. I don’t normally send you other places but this particular post has good photos and it is one of the patterns that my local Project Linus group is asking volunteers use for sewing these masks.

The blog is called Button Counter and the link is shown below. I do have some tips before you go. These are some of the things the hospital is asking for and some things that I’m adding in to make the process more efficient.

This is an example of when having a decent sized crafting hoard stash comes in handy. I have a lot, A LOT of 1/4 inch elastic tucked away in a drawer and I plan on using it all up. Or at least until my hands give up and say, “Please, no more sewing”. At that point I will give away whatever I have left to others who are still making them.

Figure out how many masks you can make by seeing what you have the least of. If you have less 1/4 inch elastic, find out how many masks worth you can make and then cut that many pieces of fabric. Or if you don’t have much fabric, cut out what you have and then cut the matching amount of elastic. In scientific terms, this would be called your ‘limiting factor’. Hey, my biology degree is actually being used!!!!

TIPS for Making this Process MORE Efficient

Batch things as much as you can. Cut all your elastic at once. Cut all your fabric at once. Make a template marked with the measurements needed so you don’t have to whip out a ruler every time. Use the same color thread on everything, no one is going to notice and it makes the process so much faster! Sew each step all at one time and then trim threads when you are all done. It takes time to pick up the scissors between sewing on the machine and that time adds up. This is how a manufacturer would plan out their assembly lines, take a hint from them to make it work for you.

Preparation for Sewing:

1: Prewash and dry the fabric on HOT settings
2: Iron the fabric on a HIGH heat setting so you have a nice smooth fabric to cut, for accuracy
3: Square up your fabric so you can cut a lot of pieces accurately at one time. Use this tutorial if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
3: Cut out a 9 inch wide by 12 inch high piece of fabric (this is the actual face mask portion) – use rotary cutter & mat (see this post showing how to cut fabric with a rotary cutter if you need help) or scissors

****Now go over to the tutorial to finish the mask(s). Follow this link or click on the photo below:

Stitch Clinic featuring Button Counter
Fabric Face Mask Tutorial by Button Counter

I’m going for speed on these, I’ll likely not pin on the first step of Button Counter’s instructions. This really is a great intermediate sewing pattern, those pinned folds are a step up from beginner patterns, having to make adjustments for the different heights of the fabric takes time to learn.

A great big thank you to all of you sewing these and an even bigger thank you to all of those who are still working day to day to keep us healthy, fed and our cars gassed up.

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