How to Make a Face Mask with Filter Pocket
If you were told a year ago that most of the world would be “shut down” would you have believed them? Probably not, right?? If you heard a city ordered people confined to their homes, your first thought would have been that it was “fake news”! The present generation has never experienced shortages of common everyday items, let alone toilet paper and eggs, till now. Extreme measures are in place in an effort to keep us safe. The most recent recommendation from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is for us to wear non-medical grade face masks when in public. This has led a lot of us to bring our sewing machines out of retirement. Many are now searching for instructions on how to make a cloth face mask with filter pocket for our families and friends.
The recommendation to wear non-medical face masks is mainly so the “medical grade” masks can be conserved for those on the front lines. Current opinion is that the cloth masks can lessen the transmission of the virus from an asymptomatic person (one who has no symptoms). Therefore, it can help reduce the risk of others contracting the illness. Wearing a mask should help because it can prevent you touching a surface that harbors the virus and then touching your face and becoming infected.
The world is a different place than it was before the Corona virus!
If you feel as if you are in unchartered waters, YOU ARE CORRECT!
It is hard for most to understand why the “rules” for dealing with the virus seem to change day by day. The Corona virus is what we call a “novel” virus. This means it is a virus to which humans have never been exposed. This means we have not had the chance to build immunity to the virus. This is one of the reasons the CDC recommendations have changed over time.We ARE learning how to deal with this virus as we go. It is an evolving science… we DON”T KNOW how to deal with this virus. But, we are learning.
The first recommendations from the CDC discouraged wearing face masks. Originally, it was thought wearing masks would likely “do more harm than good.” Now that there is more information about the highly contagious virus, recommendations have changed.
Therefore, many are pulling out our sewing machines to make face masks for our family and friends. Some hospitals and nursing homes are also accepting donated cloth masks. There are several patterns available to make a mask. Here I will show you how I make a face mask with filter pocket.
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Please note that I do NOT claim to be an expert seamstress! These instructions are how I make a face mask.
How to Make a Face Mask with Filter Pocket
- Cotton material. For an adult mask, I use a 16 inch x 8 1/2 inch rectangle of tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. You can also use T-shirt fabric if other not available. I have read that if you can see through the fabric, it is not suitable for this purpose.
- Two strips of 1/4 inch wide elastic. I have used anywhere from 7-10 inch strips for adults. I suggest measuring for fit. My husband, who is 6’3″ needs a 10 inch earpiece. I prefer an 8 inch strip. Elastic can be hard to find. In that case, you can use an elastic hair tie, shoe strings, strips of cloth.
- Needles +/- sewing machine
Step By Step Instructions
- Measure and cut material into a 16 inch x 8 1/2 inch rectangle. See illustrations below for guidance. For best results, I always advise watching the video below before beginning the project to get a better idea of the process.
- Pin material right sides together along the short sides. Leave space approximately 3-4 inch in the center which will be for the opening of the filter pocket and to return the fabric to right side out.
- Stitch along the raw edge on each side of the space, leaving center open. I use 3/8 inch seam allowance.
- Next, fold material so that seam is in the center of rectangle, still with right sides together. Press seam open.
- Top stitch along edge of seam to avoid fraying of the edges (optional step).
- Next I turn right sides out to attach elastic. Going through one layer of material only, pin ends of elastic to each corner keeping elastic to the inside of rectangle. Make sure elastic is not twisted. Turn material with right sides together and pin edges.
- Stitch along pinned edge.
- Trim corners, taking care to avoid cutting stitched seam.
- Now turn mask right side out. I take my scissors and gently push the corners square from the inside.
- Iron mask flat.
- Make three evenly spaced pleats on the front side of mask. The slit for the filter pocket is to be the back of the mask. The pleats should point downward to avoid collecting dust particles. I don’t measure my pleats. I just “eyeball” them. Once you are happy with the way they are spaced, press with iron and pin. I pin in the center of the mask to avoid the pressor foot going over the pins.
- Now top stitch around the entire mask. I line the edge of material with the edge of my pressor foot and use this for my seam allowance.
- Press the mask smooth.
Video Face Mask Tutorial
To have a better understanding of the process, I recommend watching my video below. Please note this is an edited version of a Facebook Live I did on my business page, so you will hear some back and forth conversation. I have removed as much as I can without compromising steps.
There are several ways to make face masks. I am anxious to hear how you make yours. I would love to share your ideas with my audience! Fill out the form so I can credit you and let you know when I update this post with your tips.
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