As the world is seized by another global pandemic, the need has arisen to protect ourselves from deadly pathogens. The demand for proper PPE protection against potentially deadly diseases and viruses has increased throughout the healthcare industry. As normal citizens, we should strive to not take away from the supply that is needed by those who work in hospitals or are first responders. For today, we will show you how to make your own washable cloth mask that you can use in public.
As a disclaimer, this is a “better-than-nothing” option when it comes to PPE. We make no comparison of efficacy of homemade masks compared to N95 masks.
The required supplies you will need are a fleece sweater (or comparable garment), a sewing needle, thread, scissors, a ruler, printer paper, and a marker of some kind. The type of sweater that is needed is one with an elastic cord used to seal an opening of the sweater. An example is shown below:
The first step is to carefully cut the elastic cord out from fold that it is sewn into. The best method is to use a pair of scissors and cut along the bottom edge of the fleece, being careful to avoid cutting the cord itself.
From there, take your printer paper and measure out a rectangle with a ruler to be 9.5” by 8.0” (241mm by 203 mm). Cut out that measured template and you should be left with this:
Now we will need to demarcate our fold lines. The first set of fold lines will be on the shorter sides of the rectangular pattern that we’ve created. The feature will be 1” in length with a fold 0.5” in the middle of that dimension. The first fold pattern should look like this:
The second set of fold lines will be on the longer sides of the template with 2.0” in feature dimension with a 1.0” fold line. Your template should look like this:
From there, use your newly created template to mark out the outer dimensions of your cloth. Proceed to then cut the cloth in that shape.
Perform the first fold along the shorter edges of the cloth workpiece. If you have dressing needles, you can have the folds held in place as you sew them. Here is how the workpiece should look with the dressing needles.
Here is how the cloth workpiece looks after the first series of sews have been completed:
After that has been completed, repeat the same process for folding over the longer edges. Please note to sew as close to the interior edge as possible. This operation is created the loops that will have the elastic cord go through and will help hold the mask to your face.
We are now done with the cloth piece for now and move on back to the elastic cord. Most fleeces, jackets, or similar garments will have an elastic cord that will look like this:
To prepare the elastic cord, you must cut where the two ends have been sewn together and remove the miscellaneous hardware. Please keep at least one of the locking cinchers.
From there, loop the elastic cord through your cloth workpiece to look like this:
Then, reinstall one of the locking cinchers back onto the two ends of the elastic cord and the results should look as so:
Adjust the length that will allow the mask to fit comfortable on your face to use for extended periods of time while you are out in public getting the essentials. At this point, the mask is usable, but if you are feeling adventurous with your needlework, there is one additional setup that will help improve the design.
Start by folding the shorter sides of the mask into a pattern that looks like the picture below. Sew the folded sections in place.
If performed correctly, your mask should look like the pictures below:
These folds will allow the middle part of the mask to unfold out and cover most of your lower face and jaw. The folded and sewn edges will then be able to seal the sides of your face better than without those sewn in features.
Our Team at Creative Mechanisms hopes that this tutorial is helpful. We wish for everyone to stay safe. We will all get through this together.