Making face masks

The last few months have been strange. The coronavirus crisis has on the one hand been extrememy anxiety inducing and stressful, a combination of cabin fever caused by not being able to venture far from home and trying to juggle homeschooling and work pressures. On the other hand, as we got into a bit of a rhythm, lockdown had provided an opportunity to slow down, spend quality time together as a family, and get out and about and explore our local area on walks and bike rides.

As lockdown restrictions start to ease, I’m finding anxiety levels rising. It’s very strange venturing out right now… surely I can’t be the only one constantly scanning to try and spot any risky situations – runners approaching at speed, other pedestrians hogging the pavement, or people lunging last you too close to grab something from the supermarket shelf. It’s exhausting!

So how to make it all a bit less scary? I figure a decent face mask should help a bit! Enter The Big Community Sew…

The Big Community Sew is a brilliant initiative that encourages sewists to make washable face masks for people in their community. The website includes patterns (created by the awesome By Hand London) for two types of face masks – pleated and shaped – in both adult and children’s sizes, along with loads of videos of sewing stars demonstrating how to make them up, including Esme Young, Patrick Grant and Tilly & the Buttons.

I decided to make a few masks for us as a family as a starting point using the pleated pattern.

It was a great opportunity to use up some of my fat quarter stash, and I let my girls choose their favourite fabrics for their masks. Eldest chose a pink floral print and Youngest chose a purple and pink leafy pattern. I also decided to make masks for nieces and nephews, so picked out some pirate and car cottons I’d had kicking around for ages.

I cut out two rectangles for each mask, along with two lengths of elastic. With right sides together, I sewed the two long sides then turned it right side out and pressed the mask. I pinned the pleats by matching the notches, then sewed the short edges. I created the elastic channels by folding the edges in once and then again. After slipping the elastic loops into the channel, I then sewed the short edge channels closed.

Long sides sewn, ready for turning out
Kids’ masks – pleats pressed and pinned
Adults’ masks – pleats pressed and pinned

And… Ta da! A stack of 13 masks 🙌

Now to find out where I could donate masks to locally and get sewing some more….

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