While doing my part to stay at home, I’ve found several ways to keep making and creating. If you’re looking for a simple maker activity to do at home, give this a shot. This post is a little “quarantine diary entry” mixed with some helpful tips to make your own cloth face mask. Enjoy!

Day 19:

I woke up to see the CDC’s recommendation for everyone to use face masks. Not a big deal; I know I can make some. I checked my fabric stash, and to my horror, there’s only fleece and felt. I can’t make suitable masks with these materials! So I checked JOANN Fabrics, only find there’s no fabric or elastic in stock. And Amazon says no delivery until May 15th. What to do? In desperation, I call my Grandma. Her stash is equally depleted, but she does have new pillowcases and sheets I can cut up. I can even use the elastic by removing it from a fitted sheet. Grandma rocks!

Day 20:

Ran to Walmart today to buy sewing machine oil and somehow walked out with two tomato plants—also found a few yards of cotton fabric. Yay! Time to make more masks. I swung by Grandma’s to grab materials and was able to wave to her through the screen door, which was nice.

Got home and needed to hunt for the elusive iron and ironing board. Next, I cut the fabric into three pieces for each mask, trimmed all the elastic and ties, and soon had everything I needed to make fourteen masks. Not too shabby! The extra fabric solves the elastic problem, too. (Dog proceeds to nap on all the fabric—he’s always very helpful. Guess I need to wash them before I give them away.)

Time to sew, and of course, I can’t find the pedal. I never seem to put it away in the same place twice. I finish the first two masks, and everything works perfectly. Just twelve more, so I stay up late, piecing them together.

Day 21:

Got up early to finish the masks. On the last five, my machine started jamming over and over. Tried to Google the answer, which takes 45 minutes to solve: check the top thread tension. I finished off the masks and started handing them out to family and neighbors. Woohoo!

Technical Info:
  • I used this article from CNN and a video from JOANN Fabrics to create the masks. I won’t repeat the instructions here because they already do an excellent job of explaining how to make them.
  • The masks are essentially a rectangle of fabric with pleats. I cut my pieces at 9×6″. At these dimensions, a 1/4″ seam on all sides makes the masks a bit short, so if I create more, I will cut them at 10″ instead of 9″.
  • I used two pieces of cotton and a rather heavy piece of linen for the insides. My masks are not pretty, but they’re functional. If you can make your own masks, I encourage you to do it. My family and neighbors claimed ten of my masks, and the rest are going to Central DuPage Hospital to help the ER nurses.

Disclaimer: Yes, the above all really happened. Remember making is never perfect. Whatever you make will be wonderful, and only you notice any mistakes. No one else will ever know.