Project #1: Face Mask w/ Filter Pocket

Hey y’all! This is my first post. Considering we’ve started MECQ here in the Philippines, I’ve decided to try to help by making a few face masks. I’m not sure if I still want to include the filter pocket as I have no filters to provide each mask but it’s worth a shot.

Whenever I make slopers (the cardboard beside the fabric), I usually use 2-ply cardboard as it will not affect the pattern if I accidentally roll it.

I based my pattern from Sarah Maker’s pattern (link below) and used some leftover cotton fabric from some of my previous college projects. I think it’s a specific type of cotton but I forgot to take note of what type it is.

I usually make slopers (a copy of the pattern made with cardboard) half the size of the pattern especially if the pattern is on a fold. I realized I forgot to write where the fold will go when I looked at the photos again. The little cuts on the slopers are called notches, as they mark where are the allowances and other important parts of the pattern. If you don’t have a notcher, you can cut a tiny triangle there as long at it’s pointing to the allowance lines correctly.

As per instruction, sew with a 5/8″ allowance up to where the pocket opening.

After sewing the top part along with the opening for the filter pocket, I set up my miniature ironing station and pressed the seam flat on both sides. I also marked a quarter inch away from the seam and cut the raw ends with my pinking shears so that it doesn’t fray badly.

Back in college, there’s a lack of ironing boardsso some of us would have a few yards of canvas to act as a sort of ironing board. I usually go around setting #4-#5 as it’s a paper-thin fabric.
Pinking shears can be an alternative used when you don’t have an edger, a machine that stitches the raw ends of your fabric so that it doesn’t fray and fall apart. However, you can use your sewing machine if it has a zig-zag stitch.

I cut some 1/8″ wide garter I had to 2 eight inch pieces and pinned them 1/2″ from the top and bottom. Remember, pin the garter in the right side of the fabric so that when you turn it right side out, it’s not inside the pocket meant for the filter.

The garters are inside the fabric and believe me, it took me a while to align then correctly. I recommend using a 1/4″ or a 1/2″ garter if you aren’t used to sewing small objects. Remember to pick stitch the garters!

At this point, I have realized I did not read the instructions thoroughly. Apparently, the opening was meant to be at the center of the mask, but I sewn it with the opening on the top part. Oops. I continued doing the project anyway.

Remember to press your mask flat after turning it right side out. It helps a lot when you’re pleating.

Before I started pleating, I pressed three lines onto the mask via hot iron – one in the middle, and both are made folding the top and bottom to the middle. Afterwards, I marked 1/2″ below the indents to dictate how deep the pleats are. Top stitched them roughly 1/8″-1/4″ from the sides.

Overall, the pattern is pretty good so far as I have some experience from my college. However, I’m in the process of making the other two child sizes as Filipinos have smaller faces compared to the Americans. Had my dad (who is a doctor) check it out and according to him, the adult size is pretty big and doesn’t recommend it as it’ll hike up the nose.

Pattern reference: https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask-for-hospitals-free-pattern/

Published by Johanna D. Chua Co Kiong

College graduate with a degree in fashion design and merchandising. Blogs about projects, yarn hauls, and studies about how yarn and maybe fabric behaves from experience.

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