Who’s making them, where to get your next, & how to make your own
Looking for a handmade face mask? Students Ginger Harris and Meghan McGehee have the pattern for you!
McGehee, a senior in theater, started making masks when she found out campus was closing after spring break. “I didn’t really have much else to do and I was bored,” McGehee said. “I couldn’t get any other kind of job, at least one that wouldn’t put me at high risk [due to my asthma condition, and] I think everyone should be able to have one.”
McGehee started making masks for her friends free of charge, but eventually started selling to anyone in need. Harris, a freshman in elementary education, also saw the need for masks and wanted to help with COVID-19 relief efforts in any way she could.
“It’s more about the importance of having masks to wear,” Harris said. “I really don’t need the money, I just want to do something about the coronavirus because it’s not going to go away for a while. I just want to help recognize that there’s a problem and I want to do something about it.”
Orders flooded in for the two women and their businesses grew. “When everything was really intense and people were scrambling to get masks, I was making a lot in a week,” McGehee said. “I would say up to 50 or 60 in a week.” She now averages making about seven masks a week.
Want to make a mask for yourself? Follow this tutorial here:
1. Find your fabric!
Line up two pieces of fabric together you want to use for your mask.
2. Find your thread!
Now, choose a matching thread and fire up your sewing machine (or you can sew by hand).
3. Sew the long sides together.
Here, you’ll take the long sides (top and bottom) of your mask fabric and sew the two pieces together ¼ inch away from the edge all the way across.
4. Iron it out!
Now, flip your mask inside out and iron the seams! First, iron the seams with the mask fabric opened up and then flatten the fabric pieces and iron again with the mask flat.
5. Put in your nose piece!
A good mask also comes with the wire bridge piece to keep the mask on your nose. First, find the top of your mask (where the nose will be) and sew along the long edge ¼ inch away from the seam. Using floral wire (or another pliable/flexible wire of your choice), push the wire through the small opening between the two stitches. Trim the edges.
Now we get to pleating your mask. Pinch the fabric where you want the pleats to lay and pin it. Typically, masks have two pleats in them. Now sew the pleats in, removing the pins as you reach that point on your mask.
NOTE: If you’re using a sewing machine, make sure to put it on the tallest height setting possible.
7. Fixing the sides
With the pins removed and pleats made, it’s time to fix up the sides of your mask. Fold in the side of your mask about a half inch twice. Hold the side in place with pins. Then do it again on the other side.
8. Add the straps!
Grab your favorite elastic string and make sure they are between 7” and 8 ½” in length. Pin the string under the folds on the sides of your mask. Then sew it in, removing the pins as you go.
9. Remove the flaps on the mask
Now you may notice if you put the mask on, the edges flail out rather than conforming to your face. Not cool! All you need to do now is sew the very edge of your mask on the sides.
Have scraps left over from the fabric? McGehee makes matching scrunchies from the scraps of her masks! Don’t let your fabric go to waste.
You’re all set! You can ask about getting your own mask from McGehee or Harris by DMing @mask.advocate on Instagram, @made.by.meghan or seeing her Etsy shop, @MadeByMeghanArt.