Pleated Style Hand-made Mask for COVID-19

(Obligatory statement: These are not meant to be a perfect replica of an N95 mask. They’re my attempt at making something useful in times of change, and my sharing it here is to help others who are interested in making masks, too. Please know that these will not take the place of careful hygiene, hand washing, staying home if you’re sick (or even if you’re not) and physical distancing. Always follow the guidelines of your local health authority.

It’s taken me a couple days to get back here to get this second piece up for you. The second prototype mask is based on this pattern:
It’s one of the first ones that was posted to our local Facebook mask-making group. I’ve since read more of this type and think that I’d make the initial fabric wider, use two different prints for the front and back, add a filter pocket (for disposable filters) and use fabric ties.

Even so, this is what I did with the guidelines above including additional layers of polypropylene (remay) fabric as a sewn-in liner. (Why remay? I covered this in the last two blog posts).

My short pieces for side binding were made a little wider (2.5″ rather than 2″) for ease of turning later. – Oh, and I used a pretty darn cool iron to keep from fusing all the layers of remay together.

Backing fabric with 4 layers of polypropylene remay cloth layered on for washable filter lining

I laid out 4 layers of remay on the base layer (this becomes 8 layers once it’s folded in half for the first step of stitching). You can see I made the remay about an inch narrower, leaving space on either side to reduce bulk in the side binding (making some of those last steps much easier).

For the most part, I followed the directions of the tutorial, with, like the last mask, making ties from the elastic rather than ear loops. For future masks, I’ll make the ties out of straight-grain binding rather than elastic as that will stand wear and tear better and will protect anyone with a latex allergy from being exposed to the possibility of latex in the elastic.
I added the nose-clip sleeve for Drew’s 3-D printed nose clips to these ones, too.

Below is a little photo essay of what that looks like. The strips were cut 2.5″ X 6″ (ish), and finished on 3 sides with the serger. One long edge was folded under for hem, and the whole works was pressed in almost-half lengthwise – I let the serger edge peek out a bit – this makes the inside piece a little easier to catch with the machine and takes into consideration the thickness of the final fabric sandwich.

I snipped in the middle from the hem edge to the fold, folded each little triangle back like the entrance to a circus tent and pressed. Using a hem stitching foot, the little triangle was edge stitched for strength and to help it keep it’s shape.

The folded piece was added to the top of the mask, and stitched through all layers along the bottom edge.

Hope that makes sense – Please email me if you have any questions and I’ll try to clarify.
These masks are wash and dryable (if you use pre-washed 100% cotton for the outer layers), and rather soft with all the remay layers inside.

Good luck with your own projects. I’d love to hear and see what you come up with.

In the meantime, if you want to help, there are many hospitals, health care centres and home health care professionals out there that are looking for donations. If you’d like to sew to share, make sure you follow the guidelines of the people you’re donating to.

Take care of yourself and each other.

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