When I first learned that the Covid 19 virus was spread by infected people before symptoms occurred, I predicted to myself that everyone would be required to wear a mask in public before this pandemic was over. Yesterday, the CDC made that recommendation and we all should abide by it. So, I wondered when I made my prediction, where are we going to get 300 million masks, not counting the millions used by personnel caring for sick patients. I started looking into patterns and materials to make my own. When my sewing machine broke while sewing the first mask, I came up with a no-sew version.
N 95 masks are impermeable, fitted to the face, and certified. This mask is impermeable, fitted across the nose, and obviously not certified. I want to thank Cindi Rein, who owns The Fabric Patch, a quilting store in Washington State, for her excellent video on making a woven fabric impermeable by adding a non-woven, bonded fabric, such as the material in fabric, recycling bags. For these no-sew masks you need a square piece of fabric, such as a bandana or large handkerchief, a square cut from a recycling bag, a piece of aluminum foil, and an iron.
First, measure from ear to ear across your nose. Next cut a square of the bag with the diagonal the size of your measurement. Tear off a ten inch piece of aluminum foil and roll it to make a half inch wide flat piece. Cut this about four inches and fold it in half, along the long dimension. Next lay your bandana wrong side up. Place the square from the bag in the middle of the bandana and fold the square in half into a triangle. Next put the aluminum foil in the middle of the fold of the bag material.
Next you fold the bandana over the triangle formed by the bag material. Now, being careful to keep the bag material at the fold in the bandana, you iron both sides of the bandana on high heat which causes the bag material to bond to the bandana. The final product looks like a bandana, but you are breathing through two layers of water resistant fabric as well as the cotton and you can pinch the aluminum foil to seal the top of your nose. While it isn’t fitted to your face, the impermeable material does extend over your nose and mouth.
Stay safe out there and please wear a mask. Make your own even without a sewing machine. The sewed version of masks with this material is washable, but I don’t know about this one. I will have to check and write more about that later.