Last week, I responded to a call for volunteers to make face masks. On Wednesday, I received everything I needed to make 100 masks — fabric, nonwoven fusible interfacing, twill tape and thread — donated by the fabric store I work for and from which I am currently on furlough.
After prewashing and drying the fabric, I made one mask to test the instructions and make sure I understood them.
The method described for making the pleats was more complicated than it needed to be, I don’t know why the straps were made from four pieces rather than two, and the straps were too short to tie a proper bow. We also added a layer of interfacing, which wasn’t included in the original instructions.
Then it was time to get my assembly line going.
Wednesday evening was devoted to cutting the fabric and the interfacing pieces. I also started to fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric piece.
Friday morning, I returned to the task, first finishing the fusing.
Next up, folding each piece in half, right sides together, and sewing the edge opposite the fold.
Then each piece was turned right side out and pressed.
Then, I used my white Chacoliner to mark the pleats. With the stitched seam to my left, I drew lines at 5-1/2″, 3-3/4″, 2-3/4″, and 1-1/4″ from the seam.
Rather than marking all the pieces and then folding the pleats, I marked one piece and then folded it. I was concerned that if I marked all of them before pleating, the chalk lines might disappear.
Once all were pleated and pinned, I sewed along each side.
The last step was adding the straps. This seemed to take nearly as long as the whole process up to that point.
I cut the twill tape into lengths of about 36″, using my pinking shears to cut the ends so they would be less inclined to ravel. Most of the tape was 3/4″ wide, which just barely wrapped around all the layers. There was one length of tape that was 1″ wide, and that was much easier to work with.
These masks are not intended for health care professionals, but will go to non-medical hospital staff (front desk, cafeteria, housekeeping), people in the homeless community, and other communities in need.