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DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

DIY fabric face masks

Here in the U.K. there’s been a turnaround in guidelines regarding wearing homemade masks. The government are now recommending wearing fabric “face coverings” whilst on public transport or enclosed public spaces where social distancing can’t be maintained. And that’s led to a new initiative being formed called the Big Community Sew. Back by Public Health England, the initiative (set up by the Bee’s Patrick Grant) is promoting the making of these face coverings and encourages all us home sewists to make some for ourselves, friends, family and others.

They are incredibly easy to make. There are tons of free patterns and tutorials out there. I’ve made over thirty masks so far and whilst it’s a somewhat boring task there’s something rewarding about it!

Here are some links to a few free patterns and tutorials!

Trend Patterns

State the Label

Dhurata Davies

Tilly and the Buttons

Even the U.K. government website has a tutorial on how to make them!

(If there’s a pattern/ tutorial you recommend, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list! This is by no means a comprehensive list so far!).

I used the State the Label pattern to make mine and some fat quarters of woven cotton.

This style of mask uses a curved centre seam to create the shape. It’s lined and the edge are folded back and topstitched to create a channel for your ties.

Fabric choices:

Tightly woven fabrics will always be the best choice if you have it – cotton lawn or poplin or even bed linens (sheets, pillowcases etc).

I read an article a few days ago that recommended using a layer of polyester elastane chiffon for extra efficiency so you could try that sandwiched in between!

There are tutorials that add in an filter pocket though in my opinion I don’t think they’re necessary.

Whether you choose elastic for ear loops or a woven tie is up to you. I’ve had success using bias binding (folded and sewn in half) and also using a woven flat tape yarn. I just used what I had to hand!

Using them:

– Always wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser before putting a mask on.

– Whilst the mask is on avoid touching the outer surface as much as possible.

– After you take it off, wash or disinfect your hands straight away.

The mask needs to be washed are every single use. I recommend washing them on as high a temperature as you can or even putting them in boiling water on the hob. (This is my personal preference as someone who is a health professional though current government guidelines say you can just use a regular wash).

These are by no means going to solve the problem of the coronavirus or prevent you from getting it but they might be able to stop or slow the spread by just a little bit. And that may make all the difference at this point!

Hope you’re all staying safe out there!

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