Fabric Mask Tutorial
Materials needed for one adult mask:
- one 9” x 7” piece of patterned fabric
- two 9” x 7” pieces of solid color fabric
(Use 100% cotton “quilting” fabric – this is high quality densely woven cloth, which is the best choice for masks.)
- one 6” long piece of thin wire – curled at the ends to prevent sharp points
(We recommend 22 or 24 gauge jewelry/craft or floral wire)
- two 40” long pieces of ½” double-fold bias tape
For a children’s size mask, use 7”x5” sized pieces of fabric, and a 4½” long piece of wire.
Download a printable PDF version of this tutorial here: murkymarten.com/maskpdf
1. Layer the two solid color pieces on top of each other. Place the patterned piece on top, with the “right” side of the fabric facing down.
2. Pin the short edges of the fabric sandwich.
3. Straight stitch along the short edges, leaving about a half inch or so seam allowance.
4. This is how it should look now. Trim the short edges neatly if they look messy, but still leave some seam allowance.
5. Open and turn the fabric sandwich so that the “right” side of the patterned fabric is now showing on the outside.
6. Flatten out the seams, using your fingernail (or an iron, if you’re fancy). Start flattening the patterned fabric first for a crisp look.
7. Then flatten and neatly press down the whole seam edge.
8. This is how the finished flattened seam should look.
9. Repeat for the other seam. This is how it should look now – nice flat seams.
10. Trim to neaten up the long edges, if they need it.
11. All ready to add the bias tape straps!
12. Place the fabric sandwich on the table with the patterned side face-up. Take one piece of bias tape and fold it in half. Crease the halfway point.
13. Open up the middle of the bias tape piece, and use the crease mark to approximately center the piece along one of the long edges of the mask. Align the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edge of the mask.
14. Pin the bias tape to the fabric sandwich. Make sure the bias tape opens toward you, not toward the mask fabric.
15. Stitch closely along the edge of the bias tape. This can be a simple baste stitch – this step is just to hold the bias tape in place.
16. This is how it should look now.
17. Repeat steps 12–15 for the other side.
18. Next is to sandwich the bias tape around the raw edge of the mask. Start with the TOP part of the mask (according to whatever your patterned fabric looks like).
19. With the patterned fabric of the mask face-down, make sure the bias tape is lying neat and flat.
20. Fold the bias tape down to sandwich over the raw edge of the mask corner.
21. Pin the corner in place. All raw edges of both bias tape and fabric should now be hidden.
22. Repeat steps 19–21 with the other corner.
23. Make sure again that you are working on the TOP part of the mask. This is the part that will have wire.
24. Take the piece of wire, straighten it as best you can, and center it between the corners.
25. Slide the wire up into the fold of the bias tape.
26. Pin the bias tape with the wire stuffed all the way into the fold. Make sure to pin right at each end of the wire, and also one at the center of the wire. This will help prevent the wire from moving out of place while sewing.
27. You should be able to feel – possibly even see – the wire in the fold. Make sure it’s not bent or sticking out anywhere.
28. Now take one end of the bias tape and open it up.
29. Fold up the end about a half inch or so.
30. Then fold the sides back in.
31. Fold in half, and now you have a neat end for your mask straps! Pin in place.
32. Repeat steps 28–31 for the other end of the bias tape.
33. Starting at one end of the bias tape, straight stitch close to the edges of the bias tape.
34. Keep sewing along the entirety of the bias tape.
35. Take care while sewing that you don’t accidentally knock the wire out of place.
36. And just keep sewing until you reach the end of the bias tape!
37. The top part of the mask is now complete!
38. Now, repeat steps 19–22 on the bottom part of the mask. The bottom doesn’t need wire, so pin the sandwiched bias tape in place, then follow steps 28–32 for the ends.
39. Straight stitch close to the edges along the bias tape, just as you did before.
40. Looking good! You’re nearing the finish line. All that is left are the pleats!
41. Fold the mask in half lengthwise, with the patterned fabric on the outside.
42. Line up the bias tape edges.
43. Press down on the fold for a neat crease. Use an iron if you prefer, but fingers work just fine!
44. Open the mask back up and make sure you have a good crease.
45. Fold one edge of the mask up toward the center, leaving about a quarter inch of space between the center and the bias tape edge. Press down the fold.
46. Repeat with the other edge of the mask.
47. This is how the back should look now, with nice straight creases. Make sure the side seams are creased well too.
48. Starting with the BOTTOM of the mask (the part without wire), use the crease as your guide to make a pleat.
49. First, fold as the crease wants to…
50. Then pull the fold toward the bottom of the mask, pressing under the fold to create a pleat.
51. The first pleat is done! Pin in place.
52. Start the middle pleat the same way as you did before.
53. Line the middle pleat to match up with the bottom pleat, taking care that they don’t overlap.
54. Pin in place and repeat for the top pleat.
55. One side of the mask all pleated and pinned!
56. Repeat steps 48–55 for the other side of the mask. Make sure the pleats are all going in the same direction.
57. Both sides now pinned and ready for sewing!
58. Top stitch across the pleats, about a half inch or so in from the edge.
59. Sew carefully across all the pleats until you reach the bottom of the mask.
60. This is how the finished pleated edge should look on the front of the mask.
61. And how the back of the mask should look. You’re nearly finished!!
62. Top stitch across the pleats on the other side.
And that’s it! Your mask is FINISHED! Wheeee!!
Wearing Your Mask
The straps tie around the back of your head, with the top straps going over your ears.
The front of the mask can expand out from the pleats.
The wire in the top of the mask can form to the bridge of your nose and under your eyes, for a comfortable fit (and to prevent your breath from fogging up your glasses!)
Handmade fabric masks do not provide full protection against the coronavirus and are far from any guarantee against contracting COVID-19.
However, they can be a useful extra protective measure for both your own health, as well as others.
It’s very possible for someone to have the virus and be contagious, but not know, because they might not experience any symptoms. So wearing a face mask can help prevent you from transmitting the virus to other people, in the chance that you do have it – even if you don’t feel sick.
When wearing your mask out and about, don’t touch your face! Leave the mask alone – no fiddling with it please! Touching the mask is off-limits until you return home and wash it.
Only go out if absolutely necessary, and please still keep a 6-foot distance from everyone else. The mask doesn’t negate the need to continue practicing social distancing.
After coming home, and before removing the mask, wash your hands with soap, scrubbing for 20-30 seconds.
Carefully remove the mask, taking care to avoid touching the outside. The exterior is contaminated, so take care not to allow it to touch your stuff.
If possible, toss the mask straight into the wash.
Wash your hands again thoroughly for another 20-30 seconds after handling the used mask.
Washing Your Mask
Your finished mask is machine-washable and dryer-safe.
Use a hot water or “sanitary” cycle if your machine has one.
Putting the mask in a delicates laundry bag, if you have one, will help keep the long ties from tangling.
Tutorial copyright © 2020 The Murky Marten
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