So, I have been sewing masks since this whole thing started, and I have gotten to the point where I have gotten batch sewing down to a fine science. I sew 10 or 20 at a time, and just keep sewing so I end up with a continuous strong of masks. These is something relaxing about doing really repetitive work that I really enjoy. I swear I was born to work in manufacturing lol.
My total so far in masks is well over 200 by the time I finish the next batch. I have been to the post office more times than the grocery store lately! I have also found a woman within walking distance that is coordinating donations in our area. Did you know that hospitals are providing masks for employees and nurses while they are working, but as soon as they leave the hospital, there are not enough masks for them to take them to get home, to see their families, or to the grocery store? I also didn’t know that retirement homes have enough masks for their staff, but not for residents. So, she has been getting literally thousands of requests. She has been in the news, and papers several times with her organization Canada Sews. Check them out at Canada Sews Website Anyways, after talking to her, it renewed my need to make these.
So, although I love repetitive work, I needed a change, so I thought I would try sewing some fitted masks. But, I wanted to keep them open somehow to allow for a filter to be added. So, this is how I have modified the pattern and process to work.
Here is my pattern I have been using, glad a took a picture yesterday, because I just cut in in half with my rotary cutter by accident 🙂 hopefully you can use the measurements to make your own
I have been using my rotary cutter to cut anywhere from 4-8 pieces at a time. I am still using bedsheets from our linen closet at the linings. (Once again, rewarded for my inability to get rid of things!) For the outside fabric, you need to cut two pieces in reverse.
Start by putting the right sides of the fabric together and sewing the curved edges together.
Then, to make it easier to sew, I pressed the seams open towards one side. I have a serger, so I started serging this seam. Then, open up your fabric and lining and sew the top edge (the one that is sort of scalloped, or has the point) together, being sure your good sides are together. Because I ironed the seams all the same way, when you put them together like this, the seams should be facing opposite ways, so they are not too bulky. Leave a generous seam allowance to leave room for the wire in the next step.
Adding the wire, so you can tighten the mask around your nose makes a huge difference to the fit, so it is worth the time to add. I have been using wire designed for the garden from the dollar store. It comes in a huge spool, and unlike any other sewing supplies these days, there is lots of it in the dollar store. I bend it in the right shape, then use a zig zag stitch to attach it as close to the seam as possible.
The next step is to open up the two layers and finish the side seams. I have been either rolling the seam, or serging the edge, depending on the fabric. As I am sewing the seam, I add the elastic to the outer fabric, like the picture below. Be sure to backstitch a few times to hold it in place
Then, fold it back up, right side together again, and sew the bottom seam right across.
Flip it right side out, and there you go! A reversible mask with open sides so you can add a filter 🙂
The N95 filters are on Amazon for a lot cheaper than masks. Just search for N95 mask filters, and it should come up.
Hopefully, I have explained each step well enough for you to follow. I just checked on the Canada sews website, and they have requests for another 60,000 masks, so I guess I had better keep sewing 🙂