Join Team Face Mask Making

Edited 4.8.2020
Click Here to Jump to Quick Tips.

I purchased a sewing machine when my daughter was two. I had this idea I was going to sew her one of those adorable dresses you see in whimsical toddler photos. I had the pieces cut and pinned to the fabric after I found the perfect pattern and material combination.

I don’t know the circumstances behind this, but the pinned fabric remained folded up in a lined wicker basket untouched until I recently raided my fabric bins to make face masks. My daughter is 9 now. Hand-to-face, total walk of shame. Although, in my defense (doesn’t help the dress situation, just the sewing machine purchase) I have used my machine to hem pants, make a poodle skirt, and mild sewing repairs.

Brinskee
[I won this dress from a boutique and started searching her store. The dresses were so expensive I thought to myself, I could do that. Haa!]
I asked my daughter if she wanted to help make face masks and she was super excited to learn to sew. We washed the fabric to sterilize it and found an easy PATTERN. I had her pick out the fabric she wanted for her mask. It was the made with love, only never made, but still loved childhood dress material.   We were ready to start sewing. The first mask we made was too small, even for her. We’ll tweak it for her American Me doll. The second we made was too big. Although, this one fit my husband. He took it to work the next day. Girly material and all – he’s proud of his little girl.

MASK #1
The striped mask was the first pattern we used. The red mask is the new pattern (child sized) that I like the best.

We took a break from sewing. We had it on the slowest setting, so we didn’t sew little fingers, and let’s just say it took us awhile. My daughter needed to release energy. I was on the phone with my mom, and we were talking about the masks we were making. My mom was making some as well to donate. She sent me the pattern she was using. I added my Cricut machine to the mix since there was a file format I could use to cut the pattern out. My daughter and I were ready to redeem ourselves.

She picked out a different material this time for her mask. We had a few trials, but we didn’t give up. It was a success. We chose to cut down a dusk mask we had to place inside as the filter. This was a good thing for us, because at the time I didn’t have the right size elastic, so we were able use the existing elastic. My daughter LOVES her mask. It isn’t too big for her little face like the dust mask was. Similar to the porridge in Goldilocks and The Three Bears, our mask was made too small, too big, and then just right! 😊

Mask #2
The mask she cut and sewed herself.

We made one for my Mother-In-Law because she loves red and I had a beautiful red fabric. In attempt to make the sewing easier for my daughter we revised the process and it worked! That is until we were ready to put the filter in. We had closed the center and couldn’t slide the filter through. I suppose we could cut a filter for each side and add our own elastic, but I made a new one for her. Done for the night.

I took a break from sewing. I’m not going to lie. I kept my cool with my daughter near, but I was getting a bit frustrated. I should be able to sew these patterns effortlessly. The project is estimated to be about 25 minutes and you can imagine it was slightly (aright, exceedingly) longer than that. I hadn’t sewed a real project in so long, it was worse than learning to ride a bike again! I wanted to make more masks to donate, but I was really upset with my sewing skills. That is, until I was talking with a coworker who is high risk. He has been using a bandana, although I am sure it was the “stick ‘em up” fold and not folded the way the Surgeon General recommends HERE.  I told him I’d make him one.

robbery
It worked so well in the westerns.

I pulled the fabric out again and started my quest all over. I made one and sewed the front liner on backwards. I was so frustrated. I didn’t feel like taking out the stitching, although I may after I calm down a bit. Take two. I successfully made another one. I watched this VIDEO and it really helped me. Although I took a lot longer than she did.     When my husband came home, I couldn’t resist having him try it on. I liked this pattern better than the one he was using. It looked so good on him, I told him to use it instead. I had 3 days before I saw my coworker. I was feeling a little more confident with my sewing skills.

Hubby
I love the personalization. My hubby manages production of testing materials and ventilators.

The next two days I worked on mask making. I struggled with a lot of errors. I made them too small, inside out (again, seriously I don’t know what my brain is thinking!!!), and some that were just right.  I was able to make extra for my hubby to take to his job and hand out.  I am getting used to operating the sewing machine again. I am ready to continue to make some more!

Quick Tips:

  • Here is the PATTERN for the Surgeon General’s Bandanna Mask.
  • Here is the PATTERN for the first mask with the pleats.
  • Here is the VIDEO for the mask I like the best.
  • Elastic is sold out everywhere! I went to the hair section in the mega store and grabbed shower caps. The elastic can be cut out of those and has a very comfortable stretch! I got mine for $.99 at Walmart, but you can get them on Amazon  HERE. (not an affiliate link.  Included for a visual of what I used.)
  • Use a vacuum bag as your filter.  I used a HEPA one.  It is still very easy to breath through the mask and provides better filtration of particles!
  • Make sure to iron your fabric if you are sewing. For this beginner sewer, it really helped!
  • Have patience. I finally put the machine on slow speed. It took longer, but I didn’t make mistakes. After awhile I increased the speed on the straight edges. Then, as I got more comfortable I was able to speed it up to the second speed setting for the entire project.
  • You’ll find your touch as you guide the fabric. Don’t pull or push, just use your hands to direct the needle where to

I am happy I am getting better.  My essential job just became non-essential last night and now I am able to make more masks to donate.  I am super excited to be able to help!

We are in this together!

me
I got snowed on so my hair is wild – yes, that needs to be announced. I have fun walking around in this mask!

 

20 Comments on “Join Team Face Mask Making

  1. We have to be safe in this period and so I prefer to buy them on official store but if it is not possible this is a good way to protect yourself. – Paolo

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  2. These are such beautiful designs. And they look so much thicker than the other ones I’ve seen. Excellent job!

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  3. This is great. I love that these look like they are great quality and will stand up, and the fact that she’s learning such an important skill at the same time. A win/win!

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  4. This time availability of masks in market is big problem, you have shared an innovative idea of making mask with different designs and colors so every one can use it as fashion too but this time it is the need of our safety. Great job you are doing!

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  5. These are really great and I love to see the use of masks increasing. We had a big box of masks anyway, before the news broke, because we live in Japan and its hay fever season. The box is open so I couldn’t donate them to medical staff unfortunately – they will only take unopen boxes or individually wrapped masks. I understand that. I’ve learned how to make masks out of cloth without needing to stitch, so that is the plan when our disposable ones run out.

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  6. On behalf of essential workers, thank you. Right now we have masks where I work but they’re becoming hard to obtain. It’s a scary time.

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  7. It’s wonderful that your daughter is learning to sew! The finished results look great!

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  8. I see so many people making masks. Our local community center has started to make masks for people and it’s been wonderful! I sadly can’t sew, nor do I own a sewing kit so I’m unable to contribute at the moment.

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  9. This is wonderful, and I love that your daughter is helping you. What great skills and lessons for her to learn at a young age – sewing but more importantly, to use her skills to help others. Love this so much!

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  10. This is so awesome! So glad you are helping! I just learned how to make a mask with a handkerchief and hair ties, that’s pretty much as sophisticated as I can get! lol.

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  11. I just made masks for my family today. I like your patter. I haven’t sewn for years, so it was fun getting the sewing machine out today

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  12. A great way to get kids involved and to understand what is happening. I shall be making my mask tonight

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  13. We were able to buy washable face masks before the stores closed up. I don’t know how to sew so I don’t think I can make one.

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