That is awesome. Here are all the things you need to know in order to do that, from someone who has so far made
over 60 (Update: 150++!) of them:
(Don’t know how to sew? Skip this first section and scroll down halfway. There’s a pattern for you.)
Let’s make some masks!
There are many, many, MANY tutorials and free patterns available free online for people who have relatively ok sewing skills. If you know how to make a sewing machine work, you can do them – they are really straightforward. You’ll need cotton fabric, felt, and some elastic.
The basic pattern I use can be found here in this very easy-to-follow tutorial. It’s CDC Crisis Compliant and not a bad little pattern to work. Takes me about 45 minutes from start (cutting the fabric) to finish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2bZTaKtcQM&t=207s
Here’s a link to a PDF of the pattern that I drew out to help. Honestly, their tutorials are incredibly thorough and easy to follow – you’ll do great! (as of 4/1, the link should work!)
UPDATE! (3/26) I had to make more tweaks to the pattern because 1/4″ braided elastic is sold out everywhere. You can still get thicker elastic, so I experimented and came up with this to the left. I’ve been distributing this new version and it seems that people actually like it better than the original (personally, I still like the original and that’s what I use!).
The new version you slip over your head and there’s two straps – one on top of your head (like where a ponytail knot would be) and the other near your neck. If it’s too big, just cinch the elastic using a safety pin or even just making a knot in the elastic. I haven’t tried it yet but I think if you can’t even get elastic, you could replace it with string or yarn.
It might be totally obvious how I did that, but just in case it’s not, I made this handy drawing (it’s a little manic, but I think it will answer any question you possibly have):
NO SEW PATTERN!
UPDATE: 3/29: Do you need/want a mask and don’t know how to sew?? I got you!
Just to review: an N95 is best. This is only for when those are not available, and you also don’t know how to sew. They’re not cute, but they get the job done. I’ve made a few using this pattern but I haven’t had people test it to see if my directions are clear. If I get feedback that changes are needed and clarification needs to be added, I’ll edit it as we go.
You need: a piece of cotton, 20″ x 9 1/4″; a piece of acrylic felt, 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″, and two elastic hair bands. Also: scissors and a ruler.
Lay the cotton fabric out and put the felt rectangle in the middle. Lift up the top and bottom parts of the cotton and wrap them around the felt, like you’re wrapping a present. It will barely fit, but that’s ok.
Working on the left side, use your ruler to measure 4 1/2″ out from where you can see the edge of the felt is through the cotton. Turn your ruler in towards the center, to make an angle. (Ok, the picture really helps with this one):
Do the same for the bottom, so that you have a triangle. Cut that triangle out:
Do the same for the right side.
Now, slip one side of it into a hair elastic, so that the elastic comes to rest at the base of the triangle (where the felt starts).
Do the same to the other side. Then, fold the excess fabric toward the center, left over right (or right over left), again like you’re wrapping a present.
Carefully put your mask on, with the folded sides towards your beautiful face! Try not to look as tired as I do. Voila!!
If you start selling, or giving away, or whatever your masks, I am happy to help you promote. So many people want these masks, there’s no way I can even meet a tiny percentage of the need. I won’t promote anyone who is price gouging or clearly doing really lackluster work. But if you’re doing it in a good spirit, let me know in the comments and I’m happy to help spread the work.
If you can, go make some masks. Every little bit helps. Check out my FAQ for some thoughts on how to distribute them, if you want to give them away for free. It’s sometimes trickier than you might realize. But mostly – go out there and make some masks, and let’s all take care of each other.