Doubling down with DIY masks

PJ Heath
Staff Writer
A year into the pandemic, it doesn’t look as if face masks are going away anytime soon – even with the new COVID-19 vaccines becoming available.
If you’re tired of the masks you see in stores and want to create something that fits your personality, here is how to make a quick and easy DIY face mask.

• Two pieces of fabric 8 inches wide and 8½ inches long.
• Two 6 -inch long pieces of soft elastic.

1. Place fabric pieces right sides together, and then pin the elastic end between the two fabric pieces at the top and bottom corners with elastic along the 8½-inch sides.
(Obviously, the elastic is much shorter than the sides of the fabric pieces, so once the elastics are pinned in place, fabric pieces will bunch up on the sides. )
2. Using a generous quarter- inch seam, start sewing the material three quarters of the way from the side on the bottom edge of the mask pieces. Then, pivot at the corner, and be careful to stitch the elastic end between both pieces.
3. Following the stitching, reach in between the two pieces and carefully pull the elastic to the left while sewing the fabric edges together, so it doesn’t get caught in the side seam, while also making sure the bottom end of the elastic stays pinned in place. (Mask side will start to bunch up as seam is sewn along the side!)
4. When you reach the bottom corner, back-stitch and pivot, making sure to catch the elastic end and then continue to sew all the way around the sides, repeating the process while holding the elastic out of the way on the long side. Leave a 2-3-inch opening at the bottom for turning right-sides-out and carefully press so that seams are flat and seam allowance is tucked inside at bottom opening.
5. Gather sides (where elastic is) into three equal pleats – you can measure or eyeball three equal pleats on the sides – and then pin them in place.
6. Finally, starting in one corner with a quick backstitch, top stitch around the outside edge of the entire mask, sewing down pleats and closing the opening at the bottom as you go.
And that is it, you have your very own homemade face mask! If you are interested in a doubled face mask, here is how to create one of those as well.

• 10×12-inch fabric of your choice.
• Two pieces of ¼-inch elastic measuring 10 inches and 9 inches
• Pins or clips
• Chalk for marking.

1. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise with the right sides together. On the long edge, make a mark 2.5 inches on both sides – this will be your opening.
2. Using a ¼-inch seam allowance, sew from the edge to the mark you just made, and don’t forget to back stitch!
3. Repeat this for the other side; this will leave the center unsewn.
4. After that, press the entire seam allowance open, including the unsewn section.
5. Next, edge the stitch along both sides of the seam.
6. Following edging, press the tube flat, keeping the seam ½-inch from the top – this is your filter pocket.
7. Insert elastic into the fabric, and pin the 10-inch piece 1/8 inch from the top of the mask and pin the 9-inch piece 1/8 inch from the bottom.
8. Sew the edge with a quarter- inch seam allowance, making sure to backstitch on both ends.
9. Turn it right-side out and turn it to the front. Then, edge the stitch 1/8” on the top and bottom of the mask.
10. Fold two half inch pleats along the short side of the mask so that it measures 9.5x 3 inches.
11. Lastly, sew it in place with a quarter- inch seam allowance and you have your double layer face mask.

While making your own masks allows you to pick up a new skill and improve on that, it also allows you to be as personal with your masks as possible!
Throughout the process, you are choosing materials that work best for you and that reflect your own style. It also might help you save money in the long run if you have an ample supply of materials.
Plus, there is no limit to what or how many you can make and leaves room for experimentation. So, get out there, and mask up in your new and unique DIY masks!

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