Wednesday, 6 May 2020

how I made my mask - it's easy!

I promised to show Debbie and Joanna how I made our facemasks so I made another one taking photos of each step and am putting it here to share with anyone who wants to use it. This is NOT meant to be a mask for our wonderful NHS workers. It's NOT a medical mask. It's just meant to try and keep us a wee bit safer when we're allowed out after lockdown. I don't make any claims that it will keep us safe from coronavirus but it might help.

There are a LOT of photos but it's really easy, honest! I only took lots of photos to try and explain what I did - it would be much easier to explain if you were in my sewing room and I could show you but that's not allowed right now so we do what we can!

Here's what the finished mask will look like.

What you need - finely woven cotton fabric. 2 pieces 8" wide by 7" high. They don't need to be different fabrics - I just used different ones here to be able to show front and back more easily.

2 pieces 6¾" long of 3mm wide soft elastic or soft cord elastic. The important thing is the "soft" part. If you use a firm elastic, your ears will get sore! This is a good time to use up that cheap elastic you thought was a bargain but it turned out too soft to use. That's what mine is!
*edit* This photo is the uncut elastic. Joanna got herself all confused about how long her cut elastic was in comparison to the photo. Sorry about that!

Measure down 1" from the top of your front fabric at each side and pin one end of your elastic pieces there. Pin the bottom ends 1" up from the bottom edge. Make sure you have the tops of your pins sticking outwards so you can pull them out at the next stage.

Pin your back fabric to your front fabric with right sides together. Pin all the way around leaving about a 4" gap so you can turn the mask. I use double pins to show me where to stop. (I started sewing at the white pin on the right of those double pins.)

Sew all around with a 3/8" seam - leaving the gap open. Don't sew over the pins - take them out as you go. When you get to the elastics, leave the pins in as long as you can without stitching over them so you don't lose the elastics! When you get to the elastics, do a backstitch over them to hold them more securely. I'm pointing at that backstitching in this photo.

Press. Clip the corners diagonally - close to the stitching but not too close!

Turn the mask through the gap and poke out the corners. Press folding the seams for the gap into the inside. Pin the gap closed. No photo of that - don't know why!

I'm going to show how do to the pleats using a template. You can do it without the template but I find it easier with it. To make the template, take a piece of paper or card and cut it to 6¼" tall. The width doesn't matter - mine is about 4" wide. The 6¼" is the height your mask is meant to be at the stage we're at. PLEASE don't worry if your mask isn't exactly that size. As long as it's close, it doesn't matter!! None of my masks have been exactly that size and they're fine!

Okay, fold your paper in half lengthwise. Draw along that centre fold line. Instead of me taking you through all the steps to make the template, I'm going to show the photo of the completed template - I hope it makes sense!

The top foldline is 1¾" down from the top edge and the bottom foldline is 1¾" up from the bottom. Each pleat is 3/8" deep. Draw in all your lines.

Fold your mask in half and put pins in where the centre is.

Open your mask back up and put the template close to the edge at the right hand side matching the centre fold on the template to the centre pin on your mask.

Where you've drawn the lines, put pins in your mask.

As you can see from that picture, my template is bigger than my mask but, as long as the centre folds match up, we're good.

Repeat the pinning on the left side.

Okay, let's get pleating. This is the bit that's harder to explain than it is to do.

Take the right side of your mask and fold it on the centre foldline and fold that downwards - towards the bottom of the mask. The second pin is where the back fold line is so you're folding on two lines for each pleat - one at the back and one at the front. So, in this photo, the back fold is where the blue pin is and the front fold is where the orange pin is. I pinch the front fold with my fingers and fold it all along that blue pin then fold it downwards and pin it to the mask. (See I told you it was harder to explain than to do!!)

Reposition your pins to hold it in place.

Next fold on the top foldine again folding the pleat downwards.

Repeat with the bottom foldine. You might find that the folds overlap slightly - just move them down or up a bit so that they're lying free of each other.

Repeat the same procedure on the left side, folding all the folds downwards.

Stitch all the way around your mask about 1/8" from the edge. When you've sewn down the pleats, turn the mask and sew back over them again then turn, sew over them again and continue around the rest of the mask. Take your time especially as you sew over the pleats. Again, don't sew over the pins. This will close the gap you'd left for turning earlier. This photo shows the extra stitching over the pleats.

This is how your mask will look now.

Give it a press to flatten the pleats.

This is how the back looks. You could wear it either way - remember the pleats need to fold down towards your chin, not up to your nose!

And me wearing the finished mask - no make-up, in need of a haircut but who isn't these days? LOL

I hope that helps. You could add in a channel for some wire at the top - your mask would then not be reversible! I didn't do that because I couldn't find my florist's wire. I couldn't have tossed it before we moved house, could I? Surely not! *gasp*

Anyway, as I said already, these masks are NOT meant for health professionals. I don't know if they'll keep us safe but we do what we can.

Let me know if there's anything you don't understand and I'll do my best to explain it better.

Stay at home. Stay safe. We WILL meet again! 😷💕


  1. I'm sure this post will help a lot of people. They're saying that restrictions may begin to be eased on Sunday so we may all be needing masks sooner than we think.

    1. I hope it helps others, Jo. I looked at a lot of posts and youtube videos some of which, to me, were far more complicated than they needed to be! :o)

  2. I'm going to try this tomorrow. I'll let you know how I get on! I'm not allowed out my house even if lockdown eases, so I'll just wear it inside because I want to be 'on trend'! LOL! 🤣


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blethers. I really appreciate it. I do try to reply to everyone but sometimes life just gets in the way of that happening! :o)