[Due to recent coronavirus attacks across the world, I have been receiving a lot of requests on how to add non-woven filter inside the face mask. Disclaimer: this face mask is not meant to replace the surgical face mask, it is a contingency plan for those who have no avail to surgical mask in the market. Proper use of a surgical mask is still the best way to prevent virus infection. I have updated the tutorial by adding the option to sew the face mask with a pocket for filter media, please scroll down further to find the tutorial.]
Contemplating the ever-rising pollution level on our Earth, the respiratory face mask will soon become an essential item in our life. Every year around May till August, we will be attacked by terrible haze, as our neighboring country started to mass-burn their plantation wastes during this dry weather period to clear out their land while producing fertilizers for the next cycle (hmmm, not a right way to recycle, huh~).
The hazardous smokes and burning particles were being transported by the wind which is blowing towards us, settled in and won’t go anywhere else unless the rain washes them down. At times, the API (Air Pollution Index) can go up to 400 (hazardous) in a certain area. The haze is dusty, smokey and obscuring the clarity of the sky, the most important thing is that it caused eye and respiratory irritation, it is life-threatening especially to the young and elderly person, and those with weak heart and lungs.
[Update: We have collected some feedback from readers and updated a different way to wear the elastic band that will put less stress on the ears.]
Besides limiting the outdoor activities and switch on air purifiers at home, my BFF and I urgently needed the face mask for our kids to wear. Like most kids nowadays, they have weak lungs and vulnerable respiratory system, the haze will impact a lot on their health condition. What makes us furious and anxious was that the kid’s size face mask was out of stock in the market. So, I sewed up a storm on this double-layered face mask recently and gave some away to whom who needed them.
In order to share out more so that you can sew your own washable and reusable face mask, I made the pattern into 3 sizes, small kids (around the age of 3-6, young kids (7-12) and Teenage & Adult. Not recommended for baby. It is not medical rated but good enough to filter out those haze particles and bad smell.
Before you start sewing, please pre-wash all fabrics before sewing, and wash it again prior to wearing it. In this tutorial, I used quilting weight cotton on both layers, which is good enough for basic filtration. Besides, I sewed some in cotton flannel as the lining too, the filtration is even better but not recommended for small kids as it might be a little difficult for them to breath through properly.
Apart from wearing it on a hazy day, the face mask would be good for the motorcyclists, bicyclists and whoever needs to travel on a heavy traffic road. Exhaust gas from motor vehicles is even perilous and unhealthy! Also, you can use it on your sick days, to prevent spreading the viruses via your respiratory discharge.
Just a suggestion, you can also DIY the face mask for something fun, for example, adding some drawings on a plain white face mask like a “Red Hot Lips”, “No-Teeth”, “Skeleton Teeth” (a perfect match with the skeleton costume during Halloween), or any funny smiles!!! Just to have fun 🙂
See us posing for the face masks… For Better Life, cheers!!! ***camera rolls***
More Details on how to sew the Face Mask
Download and print out the Face Mask Sewing Pattern. Don’t scale the printing, it is in letter size paper (8.5″ x 11″) so you should have no problem printing it in full scale. There is a 2″ scale marking for you to check if you are printing it in the right size.
Cut out the pattern of your size.
[Remark: It is a pdf document and will be open in a new tab or window, or asking you to download. Please make sure your computer has the supported software for it to open correctly. Unblock your computer “pop-up blocker” for this site if you have it enable.]
[Important: Don’t print the pattern from the browser, the size is not correct. Please open the pdf pattern in Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro and print from there]
Fold the main fabric into halve with the wrong side facing each other, pin the paper pattern onto the double-layered fabric. Cut the fabric with 1/4″ allowance, except the ear side. Cut the fabric at the ear side with 1″ seam allowance.
Insert the tracing paper between the layer, trace sewing lines with tracing wheel.
Remove pins and paper pattern, get set to sew.
Fold in 1/4″ at the raw edge of the side ear, fold again so that the first fold edge is 1/4″ from the lining raw edge.
Sew a straight line down, don’t forget to perform a few back stitches to lock the thread end.
UPDATE: A different way to wear the elastic band that will put less stress on the ears.
Instead of splitting the elastic band into 2, use the full length and insert through the pockets as shown in the picture, tie a knot and hide the knot in the pocket.
Wear the facemask with the elastic band sits at the back of the head.
No more stress on the ears with this method.
Face Mask With A Pocket For Filter Insert
Get ready for all the materials as stated in the material list above.
Fold the fabric with the wrong side facing each other, place the paper template on it, pin.
Cut the fabric out with ⅜” seam allowance, except the side of the face mask: 1″ for the outer layer, ½” for the inner layer.
Trace the sewing lines with the tracing paper and tracing wheel.
Turn the pieces over and pin the pair together with the right side facing each other. Sew the curved lines as shown in the picture.
Draw a line ¼” from the original side sewing line of the inner layer, do the same to the other side of the inner layer.
Clip the seam allowance about ½” apart. This will let the fabric’s raw edge to stretch without pulling the seam when you turn it right side out. Repeat this on both the outer layer and the inner layer.
Turn the pieces right side out, press the seam allowance to one side, topstitch near the seam line. Repeat the same to the inner layer.
Fold the side at the second line drawn next to the original sewing line of the inner layer. Fold the raw edge and hide inside the fold. Topstitch to sew it on. Repeat on both sides of the inner layer.
Place the inner layer on top of the outer layer, with the right side facing each other.
Sew the top and bottom seam lines.
You may notice that the edge of the inner layer is now ¼” away from the sewing line of the outer layer. If it is not the case, please check if you sewing it correctly in the previous step.
Clip curve on the seam allowance where the 2 layers meet. Leave about 1/2″ from the ends un-clip.
Turn the face mask right side out. Press seam flat.
Double fold the top and bottom raw edges of the outer layer (both sides). Topstitch near the edge as shown in the picture. Repeat the same to the bottom seam line.
To make the pocket for the elastic band, fold the side raw edge 1/4″ from the edge, then fold again so that the edge meets the edge of the inner layer.
Topstitch a vertical line to sew it on. The top and bottom have an opening for you to insert your elastic band.
I added my label while sewing it.
This is the opening for the filter insert.
Add elastic bands to the pocket face mask the way you like and it is really to be worn.
Insert a surgical mask if you are using the face mask as a cover.
Insert a non-woven fabric if you can’t find any surgical maskin the market. I air-dried a piece of the anti-bacteria wet wipe as the filter insert. Throw away the filter correctly and wash the face mask every day.
Disclaimer: this face mask is not meant to replace the surgical face mask.
Insert the medium into the pocket from both openings of the face mask. Adjust it nicely so that the medium doesn’t crumple up.
After the surgical mask is fully inside the cover, push the nose wire to the tip of the cover, bend the wire a little to follow the curve.
The filter insert must be placed till the tip of the face mask, where the nose position is at.
Wear the face mask properly, ensure no air is breathing in from sides of the mask.
Handle the face mask carefully, wash it thoroughly every day. Do not touch the contaminated side of the face mask, wash your hand if you accidentally touch it.
Always keep good hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly with soup, don’t forget the fingernails and up till the elbows.
Wear safety goggles if needed and avoid rubbing your face, eye, and nose at any cost.
I am still experimenting on using wax to make the fabric repels water droplets. I know water repellent spray can be used but I can’t find any that doesn’t contain chemicals. If you do have a better solution, please comment and let us know.
Thank you. Hope you all stay safe and stay away for any virus.