Today my eight year old asked me, “Will the world be safe again mommy?” I said “yes” right away. If I have thought about that answer I will have said “I don’t know son”. This answer came from within. I truly felt it. Why? Maybe because after all this negativity and selfishness there are also great act of kindness. What my heart sees are the helpers, those that during this tragedy in a way have run towards the fire. We at home can just look for ways to support those on the frontlines. That is why I am making face masks.
Taking into consideration the shortage of surgical and medical grade masks, doctors are asking as their last resource for homemade face masks to permit them to reuse the few ones they have. Now, the government is asking for the general public to wear them. This has been a great excuse to teach my kids how to sew and to learn to give back and help others. I want them to remember this time, beyond the extra time they got to play on their screens, as the time that we came together as a community and world.
After my research for the best pattern among the many options in the crowded Internet, I want to make it easy for you and share the best design and patterns I found.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
First, these are things you need to keep in mind:
- Full disclosure: face masks aren’t intended to protect wearers from getting sick, but rather, to prevent them from spreading the virus to others.
2. Choose a good fabric
- Some fabrics work better than other to filter viral particles. Dr. Scott Segal, chair of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said, “You have to use relatively high-quality cloth,” in an article called Making your own face mask? Some fabrics work better than others. This article pointed out that “The best masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight “quilters cotton” with a thread count of at least 180, and had thicker and tighter weave. Lesser quality fabrics also worked well, as long as they had an internal layer of flannel.”
- “You do want to use a woven fabric, like batik,” Segal said, “but you don’t want to use a knit fabric, because the holes between the knit stitches are bigger.” In other words, if the fabric allows for a substantial amount of light to shine through, it’s probably going to allow tiny viral particles through as well.
- Kayser Permanente has given instructions in how to make face masks and it is asking for two layers of cotton fabrics. So make sure you choose the right fabric to start!
The Best 6 Homemade Face Mask Sewing Patterns
My favorite patterns:
1.Homemade Face Mask from Freesewing.com
This is the first pattern I used for a basic face mask, the A4 facemask pattern. I chose this after doing my initial research because it covers your face the most and the free pattern comes in different sizes. Find free printable patterns from here. It fits well without the need to put metal on the bridge of the nose. It took me a whole day to finish my first one, but once done you get the hang of it they go fast. After I learned the ropes I got the kids involved and they both loved helping me make them.
2. Homemade Red Poppy Face Mask
It provides good coverage and includes a metal insert for the nose band to get a better seal.
3. Homemade Mask from Printable
This homemade mask fromPrintable is similar to the red poppy face mask but made with elastic bands instead of ribbons. I like this because:
1. You can make this fit very well around your nose
2. You can add a filter inside so it could be reusable.
3. you can add elastic bands to fit according to the need.
As a filter you can use a coffee filter, or the lining from vacuum bags.
4. Homemade New York Times and Kaiser Permanente Face Mask
5. Homemade Flu Mask
This mask is a bit more complicated to sew and the pattern is not free. However it is a good fit option with the choice to add a filter. You can find the pattern instructions and pattern here: flu mask. This looks like a great choice if you have experience sewing.
6. Homemade Face Mask with HEPA Filter from a vacuum
Dr. Ryan Southworth’s wife created this face mask using a HEPA filter from a vacuum cleaner. You can find the directions here and the patterns here. This mask required little sewing but they are disposable.
I hope this helps with your decision on what to sew. Good luck and stay healthy.