You can make an improvised face mask in less than a minute–with a handkerchief and an elastic. Photo from @muji.au on Facebook
Culture Spotlight

No available surgical masks? Here are ways to make improvised alternatives

One good thing that can come out of this COVID-19 outbreak—you can unleash your craftiness and resourcefulness. By RHIA DIOMAMPO-GRANA
| Mar 29 2020

The scarce supply of surgical masks in the market left everyone looking for ways to improvise their own face masks. Fortunately, the internet is a rich source of information on making DIY face masks. While these can’t guarantee full protection from the COVID-19 virus, as one doctor says, it’s better than not having any protection at all. We chose two DIYs—one you can do in less than a minute and another requiring basic sewing skills.

Muji’s handkerchief mask

Place a clean handkerchief on the table. Fold the two sides toward the middle. Flip to the other side. Fold the two ends again toward the middle. Place elastics a few inches from the two ends. Fold the ends of the handkerchief toward the center. Adjust the elastics, and it’s ready to wear!

 

CRAFT MNL’s Face Mask

Whether using a machine, or by hand, you can try your hand at sewing a face mask.

You’ll need:

Pattern printout from Craft Passion

Thread

Cotton fabric

Flannel cloth

T-shirt yarn

Thread

Scissors

Sewing machine

Barbecue stick

Flat iron

Safety pin

For patterns of face mask in other sizes, click on this link

Here are the steps:

1. Make the outer layer

Cut out the pattern. Pin together two layers of the cotton fabric. Get the pattern and draw the cut lines, adding approximately 1/4-inch margin all around, except for the side where the straps are attached—these require additional one-inch margin. Pin the pattern onto the fabric. Cut the fabric.

 

2. Make the inner lining

Using the pranela (flannel), follow the same procedure in making the outer layer, but this time, the ¼-inch margin goes all around. Secure the pattern to the fabric using a pin. Cut the fabric.

 

3. Sew the fabric pieces

Take the two fabric pieces for the outer layer and pin them together, wrong side facing out. Mark out the line to sew, with a seam allowance of approximately ¼ inch. Cut notches along the curved seam allowance. This is so we can press the seam allowance to one side without wrinkling. Be careful not to cut into the seam when notching. Do the same with the lining.

 

4. Reinforce by topstitching

Using an electric iron, press the notched seam to one side, starting from the ends. Do the same with the lining. Do the topstitch close to the seam, over where the seam allowance lies underneath. Go slowly and don’t tug at the fabric too much. Do the same for the lining.

 

5. Hem the edges of the lining

Place the lining on the table, wrong side facing up, then fold the edges inward, about ¼ inch. Press with electric iron. Roll the pressed edge inwards again, about ¼ inch. Press again and pin in place. Do the same on the other side. Stitch the hems.

 

6. Sew the outer layer to the lining

Pin together the outer layer and the lining, right side to right side. Stitch the lining onto the outer layer; try to keep about ¼ inch from the edge. Stitch at the top and at the bottom; keep the sides open. Turn the mask inside out. Press. Topstitch both top and bottom, end to end.

Lining side up, fold the outer layer inward about ¼ inch, and press. Fold the pressed edge again until it reaches the lining’s edge. Press and pin in place. Do the same to the other side. Sew the edge, making sure there’s enough room for the strap.

 

7. Attach the T-shirt strap onto the mask

Cut about 20 to 24 inches of T-shirt yarn (or depending on the size of the mask wearer). You can make your own T-shirt yarn by cutting old shirts in strips. To insert the strap, wrap the T-shirt yarn around the blunt tip of a barbecue stick and push it forward until the strap goes out to the other side. Do the same to the strap.