Face Mask Production
Across the country -- and I suspect across the world -- quilters have been stepping up to the challenge of supplying face masks to hospitals, clinics, care facilities and essential workers who need to stay safe during this pandemic.
There are a lot of videos on how to sew these masks. I decided that the simple ones to sew made the most sense as more people can participate and they take much less time per mask to produce.
For my first set of masks, I followed the video tutorial provided Deaconess Hospital. My one modification was using two different fabrics for the front and back of the masks. I used a batik for the front as I had read that a tighter weave cotton is better than a loose weave. For the backs I used flannel. It is important that users not get confused and flip the direction of the masks as that puts them at a greater risk.
What to Do without Elastic
I am now down to my last yard of elastic and elastic is hard to come by. It seems we are all working on masks and have been exhausting the supply of this resource.
I read that you can replace the elastic with four ties. The ties will be cut 1-1/2" x 18" and double folded. Here is a video showing how to sew the ties.
For my next set of masks, I plan to follow the instructions in this video for sewing the ties and will replace the elastic as shown in the first video with these ties.
However, I think I will stick with using just two layers for my masks as that was what was requested by my local hospital.
Create a Cutting Chart to be Efficient in Fabric Usage
Since I want to be efficient in the use of my fabric and I have a very large collection of Fat Quarters -- I wanted to figure out how to make the best use out of each fat quarter. For any non-quilters -- a fat quarter is a piece of fabric that is approximate 18" x 20".
Using Electric Quilt, I create cutting charts for two fat quarters. Each set of two fat quarters will produce three masks with very little waste.
In my video tutorial, I will share how you can use EQ8 to create your own cutting charts -- either for yourself or to share with someone else working on masks.
You are welcome to use my cutting charts.
With two one yard cuts of fabric, you can cut out enough ties and mask panels for 12 face masks.
How many masks are you hoping to complete?
Critter Motif Update
Mary Ellen McNerney
4/4/2020 08:33:16 am
Fabric ties are time-consuming to sew, especially for those of us with large hands. I’ve seen some patterns that suggest shoelaces, but they’re probably jumping off store shelves, too. Last: 1millionmasks.org shows how it’s possible to get more masks from yards than fat quarters. Stay well.
4/4/2020 12:52:30 pm
Check with the organization you are making the masks for and make sure the material you plan to use meetings their specifications. For the cutting I am doing, the yardage is exactly the same for fat quarters and full yards. But that is because I have very little waste in the fat quarters. However, you can create your own cutting chart for yardage in EQ to double check this. You will get many more masks if you aren't using ties.
4/4/2020 09:07:09 am
Thanks for the EQ cutting charts. I'm heading down stairs today to start sewing. Something I have seen but not tried yet is cutting open a bungee cord for the elastic strips inside it.
4/4/2020 12:54:52 pm
I haven't tried that. You may want to check to make sure they will stand up to multiple washings. I am a little concerned that the same issue may exist with the 1/8 inch elastic that I have as well.
5/9/2020 08:32:38 am
I have found that to crochet the ear straps works well. They are comfortable behind the ears & are a bit stretchy. I used a 5mm hook G. The using 2 ends of DK yarn crochet a chain 33 stchs long. This includes space to see on using a sewing machine with a reverse.
4/4/2020 10:03:51 am
Instead of elastic I've been using bias tape or ribbon as I have a good supply of that and I fold the end of the mask over to make a tube opening and thread the tie through and sew in the middle to keep it in place and it is a lot easier and faster.
4/4/2020 12:55:51 pm
That would definitely work if you have it on hand. I don't do a lot of basic sewing, so that isn't in my inventory. Thanks for sharing.
4/4/2020 02:11:09 pm
Thank you so much for this pattern Kari. I have been making masks for about three weeks and this design will be another tool for my armoury.
4/5/2020 12:15:11 pm
4/6/2020 11:37:59 am
Awesome tutorial and I will try to do it for practice.
5/3/2020 03:14:21 pm
My nurse friends and other people who have to wear a mask all day are getting really sore ears from the elastic bands. They prefer the ties. Also, they are using the cloth facial covering to cover the N95 mask that they are wearing so it helps prolong use of the N95. I use my own facial cover mask when out on my very limited outings to the store for urgent items.
5/4/2020 11:01:10 pm
To help with sore ears my nurse daughters have attached buttons to cloth headbands and then hook the elastic from the mask onto the buttons. They find alot of relief doing this, for guys I'm working on creating a band similar to what is worn for sunglasses when you go swimming, but made from cloth & buttons as well.
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