With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommending that all Americans wear a face mask when out in public, I began to worry about how I was going to get masks for my family.
I don't have a sewing machine, but I do have a needle and thread. I also have an abundance of outgrown infant bodysuits. It only made sense. I can make a mask from an infant bodysuit!
I did some research online and I found a few tips.
- The base material should have a tight weave. If you look through your fabric, do you see light? The less light you see the better.
- Your fabric needs to be able to be washed clean in hot water to kill any germs. Make sure the edges can not fray.
- A pocket or opening for filters is important. One study found that blue shop towels let through the least amount of particles.
1.) Take an infant bodysuit that is 18 months or larger for adult masks; you can go smaller for child masks. Turn it inside out.
Cut the sleeves off outside the seams. (If they are long-sleeved keep the sleeves to make straps.)
Next, cut off the bottom of the bodysuit, making a square edge. Keep the sides of the bodysuit intact as they will be the top and bottom of the mask.
2.) If your bodysuit had long sleeves, cut them lengthwise into four strips. (If the bodysuit had short sleeves, you can use ribbon, elastic, string, or any other fabric.)
Take any strip and fold it in half lengthwise with the outside (printed side) of the fabric facing inwards. Sew the sides together making almost a straw.
Pin a safety pin on one edge and push it all the way through the "straw" to flip the strap inside out. Now you have a strap that can be washed and won't fray. Do the same with the other three strips.
3.) With your infant bodysuit still inside out, place one strap inside each corner of the bodysuit. If your straps are uneven in length, place one long strip and one short strip in the corners by the neckline and repeat on the cut side of the bodysuit. Sew them into place.
4.) Sew along the neckline and bottom cut edge of the infant bodysuit. Sew the arm hole of the side where the long straps are. Leave the other arm hole open so that you can add a filter or extra fabric.
5.) Once you have sewn the neckline, one arm hole, and the cut side of the bodysuit, flip the suit inside out through the open arm hole. Flatten it out and you have the basic shape.
6.) Adding pleats will make your mask fit better at the top and bottom. Fold three pleats into it, using safety pins to keep the pleats in place. Sew across the edge, securing the pleats. Remove the safety pins.
7.) For your filter, use a blue shop towel (preferred), a coffee filter, or just some extra fabric. Cut or fold it into the shape you'd like and stuff it through the armhole and smooth into place.
8.) Place the mask on your face with the small straps and open arm hole on the bottom. Tie in place and you are done!
Keep yourself and your family safe. We are all in this together. Remember this pandemic won't be here forever. We WILL get through this.