How to make eco-friendly masks ?
We believe that health and safety should not be privileges but basic human rights hence we wrote this article (inclusive of a video tutorial and a downloadable PDF version) to help people up-cycle old textiles and create their barrier masks.
Our first few mask prototypes were based on the guidelines from the CDC, AFNOR, and a research paper published by Cambridge University. To that knowledge, we added the feedback that we received after donating 2500 masks across France and we were able to compile a standard for creating a mask from old textiles. So here are the 10 simple steps to follow, but before that, let’s look at the things that you’ll need for this project!
~Things you will need~
A square piece of paper 20 cm X 20 cm and a marker | Old tightly woven cotton textile like a shirt or a bedsheet | A pair of scissors, sewing needles, thread, pearl pins and measure tape | (Optional) a sewing machine and an iron.
Step 1: Cut the fabric for masks
- Cut a 20cm X 20cm square on a paper. (This square shall serve as the pattern for all the masks)
- Use this pattern to cut twice as many fabrics squares as the number of masks you wish to make. For example: To make 10 masks, cut 20 squares.
Step 2: Mark stitching lines for the masks
- Take two fabric squares and place them one on top of another. (Right sides on the inside)
- Mark a stitching lines around the four edges leaving a seam allowance of 0.5cm.
- Leave a 5 cm gap on one of the edge to serve as a slit at a later stage. Let’s assume point X at 0cm and point Y at 5 cm of this slit marking.
Step 3: Stitch the layers for masks
- Secure the two fabrics together with pearl pins ensuring that all the four corners of the two fabrics coincide with one another.
- Start stitching from point Y all the way along the edges finishing at point X.
- At the end you will have all the four edges of the two fabrics stitched together with a small 5cm opening(slit) on one of the edges
Step 4: Pull the masks Inside-Out
- Turn the stitched fabrics inside-out by pushing each edge out through the 5cm slit.
- It is recommended to iron the stitched fabric after turning it completely inside-out. It shall help to get pointed corned and straight pleats in the next step. However, ironing is optional.
Step 5: Pleat your masks
- Make a knife pleat by lifting the stitched square in the centre by placing your middle finger underneath it and then rolling it over away from you. Secure it with pearl pins.
- Make sure that before starting to pleat, the edge with the 5cm slit is placed parallel to the direction of the pleat and not vertical.
Step 6: Repeat
- Repeat twice the process to make knife pleats and create one pleat above and another below the first pleat.
- Finally you should have three pleats secured with pearl pins, ready to be stitched.
Step 7: Stitch the pleats on your masks
- Stitch the pleats together by sewing perpendicular to the pleat pleats on each of the small edge.
- Remove the pins and iron over the stitched fabric to accentuate the pleats. It is not an obligatory step yet is highly recommended to create a a neat finish.
Step 8: Prepare the fasteners for the masks
- Cut two strips fabric fastener 80 cm each. To lean how to create fabric fastener, click here.
- Fold each on the centre and create a crease.
- Place it under on of the longer edge of the mask (parallel to the pleats) in such a way that the crease line is on the centre of the mask.
- Fold over the edge and to create a piping.
Step 9: Stitch
- Repeat the same process on each of the long edges and secure the fastener with pins
- Start stitching from one end of the fastener stitching all the way brought the piping over the mask until you reach the other hand of the fastener.
- Repeat the same for the fastener secured on the other edge as well.
Step 10: Finishing
- Wash the mask with soap at 67 degree for one cycle.
- Dry your masks and iron then on a clean surface.
- Store them in a clean, dry place.