How to make yourself a face mask

A roundup of tutorials with sew and no-sew options.

A roundup of tutorials with sew and no-sew options

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

This article reflects health and safety recommendations at the time of publication. As these are constantly evolving, be sure to follow the most current public health and safety guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Canada's top doctor recently said that wearing non-medical masks can help limit the transmission of COVID-19. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concurs and is recommending them for places where social distancing can be a challenge. Ordering a face covering online from a local maker or seller is an option, but they tend to go fast (and can take time to ship), so many of us are considering making our own masks to wear when we're headed to public spaces.

Fortunately, they're relatively easy to construct using materials and tools we already have, like T-shirts, scarves, cotton sheets, elastic bands and so on. There are even simple options for non-sewers. We've rounded up a few instructionals from around the internet for making your own non-medical masks.

If you opt to wear one, it's worth watching Dr. Samir Gupta's advice on what you need to know before wearing a homemade mask, including the reminder to "always assume your [worn] mask is contaminated with the coronavirus." It's also important that you continue to check up on the latest Public Health Agency of Canada recommendations to avoid getting or transmitting the novel coronavirus, including hand-washing, social distancing and staying home as much as possible.

Masks and face coverings that don't require a sewing machine

A no-sew mask using a handkerchief 

The CDC recently released illustrated guidelines for how to fashion homemade face coverings using just a handkerchief (or a square piece of cotton) and two elastics. In fact, it may be the most popular from-scratch solution on the internet right now. Many people have taken to social media to demonstrate their own process for making masks like these. 

A no-sew T-shirt mask

This post from Hudson Market Bakers shows how to turn a cotton T-shirt into a mask using just a pair of scissors and two pins. 

A quick-cut T-shirt face covering

Along with two other tutorials for homemade face coverings, the CDC also released a how-to for making a mask from a cotton T-shirt in just a few snips. Full instructions can be found here

(Source: cdc.gov)

Tutorials that require a sewing machine

4 different face masks made according to instructions from hospitals

Canadian sewer and YouTuber Wendy Liu (a.k.a. withwendy) created the following video tutorial showing how to make four different types of masks using materials and tutorials suggested by health-care professionals who need people to make and donate masks right now. She's included links to all the original requests, tutorials and the materials she used in the description of the video on her channel. 

A 2-ply pleated mask to make with a sewing machine

Many designers, including Toronto-based Hilary MacMillan, and sewers across the country are answering the call to make masks for front line workers. The Michael Garron Hospital Foundation recently issued a challenge to sewers in Toronto's east end for 1,000 masks to be made (collectively) each week. The foundation shared a PDF how-to along with all the info needed for local sewers to be able to safely drop off donations (while adhering to social distancing best practices), which can be found here

(Source: mghf.ca)

A sewing-machine mask from designer Naomi Mishkin

The Cut enlisted designer Naomi Mishkin to make this step-by-step mask instructional using this pattern from State the Label.

A DIY fabric mask

Created for the Washington Post by Grace Jun, a professor of fashion at Parsons School of Design, in consultation with health experts in New York, this detailed guide to sewing your own fabric face covering, complete with pattern, GIFs for each step and a video tutorial can all be found here

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