DIY Masks

A surgical mask blocks about 80% of the viruses. A home-made mask blocks about 50%. And for children, a well-fitted homemade mask can outperform an ill-fitting surgical mask.

In order for a mask to filter particles out of the air going into your lungs, you must breathe in THROUGH the fabric. Researchers tested various household materials in single and double layers for effectiveness and breathability. They concluded that cotton fabric was the best overall choice for a DIY mask.

However, the tightness of cotton fabric varies. Pick your fabric(s) and use your best judgment about how many layers of what types. The video below uses two layers of quilting cotton, plus a third inner layer of cotton flannel. The instructions below call for 2 layers of woven cotton. Researchers who tested cotton tea towels found that one layer was best. Use your best judgment. You want filtration without suffocation.

What you will need for the style mask in the video above:

  • COTTON fabric, a pretty print is best.
  • Rope Elastic, beading cord elastic will work (you may also us 1/8” flat elastic)
  • Cut the elastic 7” long and tie a knot at each end (DO NOT knot the ends of the flat)

You can make two sizes: Adult or Child

  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together
    • Cut 9×6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child)
  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew the elastic with the
    edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew
    a few stitches forward and back.
  4. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again put an elastic with the edge out.
  5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.

The style of mask in the second video is curved, rather than tucked. It also includes a slot for extra filtration material. There is a downloadable, printable pattern available at the link below the YouTube.

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