Mask sewing and donating

My roommate (a former Broadway costume sewist) and I have been sewing masks for ourselves, our friends and family, and to donate, both to nurses at local hospitals and the Tohono O’odham Nation. We’ve used a variety of patterns and techniques; this is what is working for us. I’ll update in the coming months, as those of us living in the United States will be wearing masks for quite some time.

Sewing masks aligns with my values of community- and cooperative-based thinking: wearing a mask protects the people around you. It shows you value caring for society broadly. If sewing masks with a ridiculous unicorn-cat-rainbow print makes mask wearing that much more enjoyable, bring it on. Plus, it’s improving my pressing skills and incorporation of pressing into my sewing workflow.

Patterns

  • NurseMade: my go-to favorite mask. Fits over an N95, has cloth ties, and a filter pocket. We’ve figured out how to add a removable nose bridge wire to the top binding: when stitching the binding in place, leave a gap of about ⅜–½” roughly 2″ from the center of the mask. Lockstitch on each side, then slide in your nose wire.
  • Craft Passion: roommate has been busting out these, and I’ve been topstitching them as she puts them in front of my loaner sewing machine.
  • Emily’s Mask: Emily Lakdawalla’s mask, involving some pleating, but not a lot of pressing. Can accommodate filters and removable nose bridge wires.
  • Todaro: similar to NurseMade, but no binding required.

Techniques

  • Fashion Incubator has some fabulous videos and links for efficiently producing masks with a minimum of pressing or pinning.
    • Particularly keen on the binder attachments she links to in the first video. If you’d like to buy us one, let me know in the comments 🙂
    • Some friends have had success taping a simple metal bias tape maker to their machine to minimize pressing and expedite the binding process.

Vendors

We’ve been using coffee bag crimps for nose bridges, but you can make your own out of two pieces of wire and masking or painter’s tape.

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