Mask post #3

If you’re keeping up with the news, you’ll see new reporting about the utility of wearing masks. Most people I know are keeping exposure to an absolute minimum but still need masks to decontaminate food deliveries or go to the grocery store.

(I kept asking K, “How can 2 billion people be wrong?”) (well, okay, 1.4 billion, but you get my point. They now surmise that Hong Kong’s outbreak was contained somewhat by the prevalent use of masks).

While I wouldn’t recommend using masks that can otherwise serve the medical professionals, homemade cloth ones might help the rest of us, especially if they have a pocket for inserting additional protection.

When I saw the video of the European tailor (below) whip up a mask out of three pieces of cloth in about three minutes, I was beyond impressed. This morning I finally gave his version a try. I want to share the extra steps that I devised to compensate for the fact that I don’t share his mad skills.

First the dimensions:

RECTANGLE: 7.5″ x 14″

TIES: 27.5″ x 1.25″

1) Press short lengths of rectangle under 1/4″. Fold in half. Top stitch from one edge in 2″ then top stitch other end 2″ from edge to the edge. I marked the two inch distances with pins.

(The tailor did not press first or make marks).

2) Press and pin pleats and stitch down. Finished length 3.5″

(The tailor folded as he went while attaching ties).

3) Fold tie in half to determine halfway point and pin, right sides together on pleats. Stitch down.

4) Press tie toward mask’s back then press each side of the long tie towards its center with 1/4″ fold. That makes it easier to stitch.

4) Fold tie and stitch from mid-pleating to one tie end before reversing and stitching from mid-pleat to the tie’s other end. (If you are a precise and practiced seamstress, begin at one end of the 27″ tie and sew to the other end).

5) If desired add an X of top stitching for additional strength at corners of masks.

Voila! A cloth mask with a pocket made from three pieces of cloth.

Here are some ideas for inserts, roughly ranked from most to least effective:

  • Piece of furnace filter cut to size
  • Piece of vacuum bag cut to size
  • A maxi pad
  • A piece of batting
  • A piece of cloth, esp batik or silk
  • A used piece of dryer lint
  • A folded paper towel.

Even if these masks do nothing more than remind one not to touch one’s face between hand washings, they have value.

This morning I read some speculation that the virus might in fact transmit through the air (and not just by droplets) for very short periods of time. That might make cloth masks more important than initially believed.

Some hospitals will accept these to wear over N95 masks. Some hospice/nursing home caregivers have no masks at all and would appreciate these. One friend is making cloth masks for her local firefighters at their request. Every area is different.

Obviously, wash between uses.

18 thoughts on “Mask post #3

  1. Tina

    My sister suggested using cloth diapers .. believe it or not I actually have a pack of 6 never opened. I guess I know what I’ll be doing today.

    1. deemallon

      Diapers are nice and soft. I certainly would like the feel of them on my face. Some are awfully thick though? Perhaps hard to breath through? Let me know how it goes.

  2. Joanne

    Well, I decided to try and make G and I each a mask for going to the grocery store. I wrote down the instructions and we’ll see how it goes. And if they turn out fine- then a few of my neighbors will find one in their mailboxes.

    1. deemallon

      It can’t hurt, right? Once I got past the idea of really going hung ho, I find it okay to make a couple, maybe four, on some days.

    1. deemallon

      I’m gonna guess 4.5” instead of 7.5 across. Maybe twelve instead of fourteen on long dimension?

      1. Angie Shipley

        Made one today—my first one—by your tutorial. It was an excellent tutorial!! And it fits great! I will definitely be making more. I posted pictures on IG and tagged you, but IG seems to have issues right now, at least with me, so I don’t know if the tag will work or not. BTW, I had seen the video a couple of times but hadn’t acted on it. So glad I waited and you shared your tutorial. Thanks a bunch.

  3. Deborah Lacativa

    I’m so glad you reposted the video. I watched it once, and in haste to share it, I forgot how to find it again. When I made mine, I tried to rewatch it on memory. My ties ran horizontally rather than vertical and so may not be as effective. I’ll give it another shot tomorrow. Lots of cotton here, even some old diapers. Thanks.

    1. deemallon

      I’ve seen some with ties that go horizontally but I think they have biding on short edges, too. I like the idea of three pieces. I may have seen this on your FB feed initially?

  4. Mo Crow

    thanks for this (((Dee))) Old Man Crow reckons we should start wearing masks for the indoor plant hire as it looks more professional than bandannas!

      1. Liz A

        my first try was a disaster … the second try better, but yeah, bandannas are looking really good right now (there’s a reason my sewing machine is dusty)


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