We are not yet finished with the threat of the Coronavirus and COVID-19. Wearing mouth caps is becoming mandatory in more and more places, and in the coming time it is important that you try to protect yourself and others as best as possible. Fortunately, if you can sew a little, you can make mouth caps yourself. Just keep in mind that most masks made in a factory are more effective than homemade masks. In really risky situations it is therefore always safer to wear an officially approved mouth cap or face mask.
Method 1 of 5: Choosing the right fabric
Step 1. Choose a somewhat thicker fabric for the outside and a somewhat thinner fabric for the lining of the mouth cap
To make the mask more effective, it should consist of two layers. You will get the best results if you use a slightly thicker, tightly woven fabric for the outside and a thinner fabric, such as cotton, for the lining.
- Recent research has shown that the best material for homemade masks is the sterile packaging used to protect surgical instruments. This material can stop up to 99% of all bacteria and viruses.
- For the outside, you can use a non-stretch fabric like denim, twill, canvas, duck cloth, or quilt.
- For the lining you can use regular or mixed cotton, as long as it is non-elastic.
Cloth face masks should be washed and sterilized often. Therefore, choose a fabric that does not warp or shrink during washing.
Step 2. For an easy option, take a 100% cotton pre-shrunk t-shirt
To make an effective face mask, for example, use a pre-shrunk cotton T-shirt from the Hanes brand, or if necessary take an old T-shirt that you no longer wear. Boil the T-shirt in water for ten minutes and allow it to air dry to further shrink and sterilize the fabric.
For best results, choose a pre-shrunk cotton T-shirt. You can use your old T-shirts if that's all you have
Step 3. If you don't have a T-shirt, cut up a pillowcase
A pillowcase may not be an ideal option, but the fabric protects fairly well against germs. Therefore, if you have nothing else to hand, use a pillowcase.
If you have to choose between a T-shirt and a pillowcase, always take the T-shirt. That offers more protection
Step 4. Combine different colors or patterns to make it easier to distinguish the front from the back
If you accidentally put on a mask inside out, you run the risk of inhaling the germs you are trying to avoid. Therefore, use a recognizable color or a clear pattern for at least one of both sides, so that you can more easily see which side is the front.
Use for an easy-to-make face mask approved by the Center for Disease Control and Control
pattern below: https://www.coxhealth.com/innovation/masks/. This pattern is a bit simpler, and you can't put a filter in it.
Method 2 of 5: Cut the fabric to size
Step 1. Always work with clean hands, work surfaces and materials
You must wash a homemade face mask before use, but it is of course a good idea to make face masks for daily or medical use under very good hygienic conditions. Disinfect the sewing machine and the surfaces you will be working with with bleach or disinfectant wipes. In addition, wash your hands for at least twenty seconds before you start working. And of course you can put on one of your homemade masks while sewing, so that you don't breathe, cough or sneeze on the new masks.
The latter is especially important if you are making face masks that you want to donate to medical staff or other care providers
Step 2. Print the pattern for the mouth cap and cut it out
You can find a lot of different patterns for face masks on the internet. Many of those patterns are suitable. For a good quality face mask, choose a pattern with a firm nose arch that allows you to adjust the mask to the shape of your face when you wear it. Don't forget to select "actual size" when you print the pattern, so that the pattern has the correct scale. Before cutting out the pattern, check the scale with a ruler.
- For a slightly larger mask for men, try the pattern below:
- Choose this pattern for women or teens:
- For children between the ages of seven and twelve, use this pattern:
- Try this mask for smaller kids ages three to six:
Step 3. Fold both pieces of fabric in half with the 'right' sides in
To sew the mask you need two mirrored pieces of fabric in the shape of the pattern: one for the outside and one for the lining. If you fold the fabric before you cut it, you can cut the pieces more easily. Lay out the edges of the fabric with the 'right' side in and the 'rough' side out.
Step 4. Draw the pattern on the back of the fabric you will be using for the outside
Lay the folded fabric on a flat surface. Then place the pattern on the fabric. Draw the shape of the pattern on the fabric with a pencil or chalk.
Step 5. Cut out the outer pieces with an extra 4 cm side margin
The idea is to leave wider margins on the sides of the outer layer of the mask, so that you can pass the rubber bands for the ears through them later. Cut out the pattern with fabric scissors. When cutting the outer edges, leave a margin of about 4 cm (on the sides that will face your ears when worn).
Step 6. Draw the pattern on the back of the fabric you will use for the lining
Place the smooth side down and place the pattern on the fabric. Draw the outline of the pattern with a pencil or chalk.
When cutting out the pattern, the idea is to cut through both sides of the fabric, as you will need two pieces
Step 7. Using fabric scissors (or other sharp scissors), cut out the fabric pieces for the lining
While the fabric is still folded, slowly cut around the edge of the pattern you've drawn. You should have two copies of the pattern when you're done cutting; one from each of the sides of the fabric.
If you don't have fabric scissors, just use the sharpest scissors you have
Method 3 of 5: Making the mask's frame
Step 1. Place the liner pieces together with the smooth sides inward
Place the nose seams on top of the pieces of fabric you will be using for the lining. Before sewing, make sure that the sides that should be on the outside when the mask is finished are exactly opposite each other.
If you like, hold the pieces in place with pins. This is optional and not necessary
Step 2. Sew along the seam you drew on the nose edge of the liner
Use the sewing machine or by hand to sew the seam that will sit over your nose when worn. Follow the line you drew on the fabric while leaving a wide margin.
Step 3. Line up the outer pieces with the pattern facing inwards
Place the printed sides of the outer fabric facing each other. Then place the nose seam on top and check whether all the edges are exactly on top of each other.
As with the lining, you can pin the pieces of fabric together if you want, but it's not necessary
Step 4. Sew the outer parts together along the nose seam you have drawn
Sew with the sewing machine or by hand with a needle and thread the seam that comes over your nose when you wear the mask. Use the line you drew on the fabric as a guide, leaving ample margins.
Step 5. Flatten the outer seams of both pieces of fabric
Open the liner and the outside. Place both pieces on the ironing board or on a heat-resistant surface, right side up. Set the iron to a low setting, then gently press the outside of the seams onto the outer fabric and lining.
This way the seams become flatter, so that you can put the seams on both sides of the mask more easily
Step 6. Align and pin the outer seams of the exterior and the liner
Lay the outer fabric on a flat surface, right side up. Then place the fabric for the lining on the outside, right side down. Make sure the nose seams of both pieces are exactly together.
Step 7. Sew the top and bottom of the mask together with a sewing machine or by hand using a needle and thread, so that the outside and the liner come together
Leave the sides of the mask open.
The idea is to leave about an inch of fabric on each side for the earloops
Method 4 of 5: Applying the nasal arch
Step 1. Turn the right side of the mask out and press the seams flat
Open the mask on one of the unstitched sides. Carefully unfold the sides of the flap so that the 'right' side of the mask is on the outside. Now carefully pull the rest of the mask through the flap you made, so that the right side of the mask is on the outside. Then flatten the mask by ironing over the seams at the top and bottom.
- Be careful not to accidentally tear the seams when turning the mask inside out.
- After you have turned the right side of the mask out, it will probably be a little bulged. You can solve this by running the iron over the mask.
Step 2. Put a piece of flower or corsage wire of about 15 cm through the top of the mask
With the flower wire you form a nose arch with which you can adjust the mask to the shape of your face. Slide the flower wire in through the openings on the sides of the mask with your fingers. Push the thread against the top seam where your nose will sit when you have the mask on. Hold the wire in place with pins so it doesn't slip.
With the iron wire you can improve the fit of the mouth cap, so that it stays in place over your nose and mouth when you wear it
Step 3. For extra reinforcement, sew a topstitch along the top and bottom
The topstitch immediately holds the nose arch in place between the pieces of fabric. Therefore sew the stitch just below the wire. Sew an additional topstitch along the top and bottom of the mask using the machine or by hand with a needle and thread to reinforce the seams.
When sewing along the top, make sure that the flower thread for the nose bow is between the first stitch and the topstitch
Method 5 of 5: Sewing the sides and applying the filter
Step 1. Fold about 60 cm on the sides of the outside
With the excess fabric on the sides of the outside, form the sleeves that should hold the elastic in place. Fold the edge over, keeping it just inside the gap between the outer fabric layer and the lining, which you left open. Then gently flatten the fold with the battle bolt to form a crease.
When you put the mask on, keep it in place using the rubber bands on the ear flaps
Step 2. Sew the edge of the side loop down into the outer layer
The idea is to leave the space between the outside and the liner open so you can put the filter in between later. Therefore, do not sew through the lining. Sew the edge of the side flap to the outside of the mask using the sewing machine or by hand. In this way, a narrow channel remains open on each side of the mask, as it were, through which you can put the rubber bands.
You can also use hair ties instead of regular rubber bands. If you are using hair bows, insert the elastic into the ear flap when you flip it over. Then sew the flap around the hair tie.
Step 3. Fold in the frayed edges of the lining and sew the seams on both sides
Although you finish the seam on the outside of the mask with the elastic loop, you should also make a seam on the lining so that the fabric does not fray. Using your fingers, fold about 1 foot from the lining fabric to the opening in the side of the mask. Then sew along the edge with the sewing machine or with a needle and thread. Remember not to sew the lining to the outer fabric, otherwise you won't be able to put the filter between the outside and the lining.
- Do the same on the other side of the mask.
- This gives you an opening on each side where you can put the filter.
Step 4. Push one end of the elastic through the opening on the side
Take a piece of elastic that is about 70 cm long and 0.5 to 1 cm wide. Using your finger, push the end of the elastic through the opening on one of the sides of the mask. Work the elastic through to the opening on the other side and pull the end out. Then push the other end of the elastic through the opening on the other side of the mask. Now tie the ends of the elastic together.
- By means of the length of the elastic you can adjust the size of the mask to your face.
- The elastic may shrink with washing, so it's okay if it's a little longer.
Step 5. Before using the mask, wash it in warm water with detergent
A homemade face mask is not automatically sterile. Therefore, before you use it, wash it with washing powder in the washing machine at a high temperature. Then tumble dry the mask, also on a high setting, until it is completely dry.
Don't have a washing machine? Then sterilize the mask by boiling it in water for ten minutes
Step 6. For extra protection, put an air filter in the side of the mouth cap
Use a HEPA filter, a vacuum filter or non-woven fabric for the filter of a face mask. Place the filter in the mask between the liner and the outside before putting on the mask. When you take off the mask, throw the filter away and replace it with a new filter if you are going to use the mask again.