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Easy D.I.Y. Face Mask for Beginners

While bandanas and other no-sew options work to protect you from spreading germs to others, they're not really protecting you from inhaling germs from your environment. Follow this quick tutorial to learn how to hand sew an effective, reusable mask with materials you probably already have at home to keep you and your loved ones protected.

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  • Pillowcase or cotton fabric. Read this article for more information on the best fabric for making masks.

  • Thread

  • Sewing needle

  • Scissors

  • Straight pins (if you don't have any pins, use extra sewing needles to pin fabric in place)

  • Ruler

  • 72+ inches of ribbon. If you don't have ribbon, you can use fabric cut into strips 1/2" in width, spaghetti straps cut from an old tank top, a headband cut into 1/2" strips, etc.

This tutorial will create a rectangular mask with two ties in the back, and which has a pocket for a filter. If you would prefer not to include a filter pocket, you can choose to sew up the fourth side of the mask once you have sewn the other three sides, and turned the mask right-side-out. Follow the instructions in blue throughout the tutorial for tips on making the mask without a pocket.

Step 1: Layer two sheets of fabric on top of each other and pin and cut an 8" by 8" square. If using a pillowcase, use the corner of the case so that two of the four sides of the square are already sewn.

Step 2: Turn the square inside out. Pin lines 1/2" inside of the edge of your fabric so that three of the four sides of the square are closed.

Step 3: Along the fourth side of the square, fold the fabric 1/2" down two times so that the raw edge of the fabric is no longer visible. Run the outside of the blade of your scissors along the edge of the fabric you just folded so that it makes a crease. This will be your filter pocket. If you would prefer not to include the filter pocket, pin along this fourth side of the square, leaving 1" open so that you can turn the mask right-side-out after sewing.

Pin 1" in on either side of the pocket edge, leaving the inside 6" of that side open.

Step 4: Using a threaded needle, stitch up along the edges you've pinned so that three sides as well as 1" on either side of the pocket edge are sewn closed. Be sure to knot off the thread well at the start and end of a seam so that it doesn't unravel.

Turn the fabric right-side-out. If you chose to make the mask without the pocket, sew closed the 1" gap that you used to turn the square right-side-out. Otherwise, leave the 6" stretch on the pocket side open.

Step 5: Cut your ribbon into four 18" strips. Pin one end of each strip to one corner of the square. Stitch two rows of straight stitches to secure each ribbon.

Step 6: Flip the mask over so that you can't see where the ribbons are attached to the square. On either side of the square, use pins to mark the half- and quarter-points of the mask horizontally.

Starting with the first two pins towards the top of the square, fold the fabric so that the pins are pulled halfway to the next set of pins. This should create a shallow pleat. Pin the pleat in place. Do the same with the other two sets of pins so that you end up with three pleats.

Step 7: Stitch along both sides that are now pleated to secure the pleats in place. Be sure to knot off the thread well at the start and end of a seam so that it doesn't unravel.

That's it!

Put your mask on by tying two sets of the ribbons together at the back of your head. For the filter, you can fold a tissue, coffee filter, or dried baby wipe for extra protection. Hand wash masks using light soap and water, and hang to dry.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to protect yourself and others from spreading the virus or other compromising illnesses by staying home as much as you can and wearing masks whenever you go out. I hope you and your family are safe and healthy in this time.

Remember to follow and tag us @o_issa_fit on Instagram if you make a mask using this tutorial and share with friends!

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