On April 1st, Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, recommended that everyone wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other cities are following. Medical grade surgical masks are reserved for medical professionals and many others are sold out. So here’s how to make a fabric face mask at home.
At home? Yep, that’s right.
The coronavirus pandemic prompted people to raid their fabric stashes and sew fabric masks for health professionals working on the front lines of the crisis. Craft giant Joann Fabrics offered supplies to help the grassroots effort. Although they are not medical grade, hospitals and health care organizations are still taking donations of fabric masks.
And now that people need them for themselves, the quest continues.
How to Make Your Own Fabric Face Mask
Bronwen Burton is the Costume Shop Foreman at Fullerton College in California, as well as a cutter/draper, educator, and YouTuber. She created a video tutorial for homemade masks.
She has included two types of masks in this video:
- One is a simple double-sided fabric mask.
- The second shows you how to make a mask with a filter, and uses a pipe cleaner to ensure a tighter fit across the nose.
You’ll want to use two different fabric patterns to tell the back from the front of your mask.
How to Make a Mask with a Filter
A fabric mask on its own is not the most protective gear. Luckily, Burton provides a design that allows for a filter. If you have a clean air filter in your home, you can convert your fabric mask to something that will provide increased protection.
An air filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of 13 or above filters particulates, bacteria, and viruses. Yes, viruses. Take the filter apart, remove the frame, and the filter material can be inserted into the mask as a sheet. Remove the filter before washing the mask.
One filter has enough material for a couple dozen masks.
Personalize Your Mask
Aside from fun fabrics, you can decide whether you want elastic or fabric straps. Even if you lack the supplies such as bias tape, there are tutorials on how to make your own and other hacks for straps that even the novice sewer can master. For my family of four, each person chooses their fabric and we are making masks like an assembly line. One we got the hang of it, we continued to make masks that we can donate.
We Can Do It!
The key is to find a mask that is comfortable and wear it whenever you leave your home. Together, we can flatten the curve and help slow the spread of COVID19. As more and more homemade masks show up in your community, don’t be shy to compliment your neighbors. Just be sure your compliment is from six feet away.