Hand-sewing (not machine-sewing) face masks?
March 27, 2020 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I am a wanna-be sewist with a small stash of quilting cotton but I never actually got around to buying my own sewing machine. I'm vaguely competent with a standard sewing needle though; can anyone recommend the simplest possible face mask pattern for hand sewing?

I know I won't be able to make face masks at any semblance of scale with hand sewing. But my best friend is a NYC hospital resident, so she can use all the masks she can get and it'd be nice to send her a few made from fun fabrics with extra love.

I have:
- quilting cotton
- rotary cutter and cutting board
- tape measure
- sewing needles and thimble
- thread
- travel steamer

What I DON'T have, and can't feasibly get (storage is an issue):
- sewing machine
- iron/ironing board
- printer (no printing out pattern templates)

Can anyone recommend a dead-simple face mask pattern that is doable with my limited resources and skills?
posted by serelliya to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
i think this one (youtube link) will work with handsewing. This is the written directions from the content creator here.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 4:01 PM on March 27, 2020

I think the pleated rectangle type would be the easiest for hand sewing, as described here under Community members who sew. It's all measured out by inch, no printed pattern. https://www.providence.org/lp/100m-masks
posted by buildmyworld at 4:02 PM on March 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Don’t forget to prewash and dry your fabric on hot. Quilting cotton can shrink and the colors can run, and you don’t want that to happen when your friend launders her mask.

The edges of the fabric will fray in the wash — not sure the best way to address that by hand sewing and no pinking shears.
posted by liet at 5:35 PM on March 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you make a rolled hem, or some other hem that hides the raw edge in the seam, that should help with fraying.

If you happen to be wishing you could help with mask sewing in your area, you could volunteer to do cutting.
posted by yohko at 6:01 PM on March 27, 2020

I've handsewn a couple out of this pattern, taking about 90 minutes per mask for a very inexperienced sewer in backstitch. They're not particularly fitted at the nose, but suitable for errand use or covering a proper mask to make it last longer. If you don't have elastic or ribbon I'd go with making fabric ties out of tubes, or maybe i-cord if you knit and have cotton yarn.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:01 PM on March 27, 2020

If you have a hair straightener you can 100% use it on cotton to get crisp folds, this will make whatever of the great options you’ve already mentioned so much easier to make
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is a different type of pattern than many I've seen. I like it because the fabric hovers over your nose and mouth rather than resting on them. It looks pretty easy to cut without printing and then hand sew.

COVID-19 Face Mask Instructions and Pattern (PDF link)
posted by mosessis at 5:05 AM on March 29, 2020

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