UPDATED ON MAY 12th: In an official document released by the UK Government on 10th May, the stance on face coverings has been changed. The UK Government is now urging people to "wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet".
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people are looking for more ways to protect themselves when out and about. This has led to an increased interest in face masks; particularly in making your own. Making a homemade face mask is a relatively easy process that requires just a few supplies and can be done with a range of different fabrics, many of which we supply.
Why should you wear a face mask when out in public?
The UK Government suggests to wear a face covering in situations where social distancing is not possible. Especially when heading to essential places where people will still be gathering, such as the supermarkets or public transport. CDC also recommends individuals should be wearing a face mask when leaving the house and venturing into public places.
It’s worth noting that a face mask does not make you immune to contracting coronavirus. People should still be conforming to the social distancing guidelines provided by the government.
How does wearing a face mask protect you from coronavirus?
There is a lot of debate around how much protection a face mask provides you, and others around you, against coronavirus. Face masks have been used in the past to protect people from contracting and transmitting the flu. Studies have shown that when paired with other factors, such as vaccinations or good personal hygiene, face masks are effective in reducing the spread of a virus.
A face mask can be viewed as an additional barrier between your face and others. It covers the nose and mouth, reducing virus transmission by making it more difficult for liquid droplets from other individuals to touch your face. Equally, it prevents liquid droplets originating from you reaching others.
What fabrics would be suitable for a face mask?
As to be expected, some materials are more suited to a face mask than others. Some fabrics offer better filtration than others, affecting how well your mask functions. Fabrics that are sturdy and breathable would be ideal for a face mask. Polycotton, for example, would offer a good level of protection. It’s a breathable, tight-woven fabric that’s easy to work with and is quite popular with our customers. Flannel is another material considered to be an effective material. Avoid fabrics that are thin and flimsy, as they would offer little protection.
Fabrics that would be appropriate for a face mask include:
- Plain polycotton fabric - Often used for sheeting, this fabric is more tightly woven than regular fabrics and is a customer favourite.
- Printed polycotton fabrics - Add some style to your face mask with a range of patterns and prints to choose from. For example, this "Floral Trail" print is popular with our customers.
- Patchwork fabric - Primarily used for patchwork and quilting, these tend to be more tightly woven than others fabrics.
The best method to test how effective your material is is to apply the light test. This is where you hold a piece of fabric up to the light to determine its transparency. If you can see through the fabric it’s unlikely to be suitable for a mask. Thicker, more dense fabrics will serve better.
If you need more help identifying which fabric you’d like to use feel free to contact us, we’re more than happy to help.
How to make a face mask
To make a face mask, you will need the following supplies:
- Material (see above for the most suitable fabrics)
- Needle (sewing machine if you have one)
- Elastic (alternatively you can use hair bands or string)
Got your supplies to hand? Here’s a step by step guide explaining how to make your face mask:
- Cut out 2 rectangular pieces of material, make sure the pieces cover your nose and mouth area. A good size is 10’’ by 6’’. Place these 2 pieces of fabric upon each other; you will be sewing them together to form a single piece of fabric for the mask.
- Fold over the long sides of fabric ¼ inch and hem the fabric, this is to stop any fraying at the edges. You can then fold down the short sides of fabric ½ an inch and sew them down. We recommend pinning the fabric in place to help keep an even line and prevent the fabric from moving out of place.
- Run your piece of elastic through the hem on the shorter sides of the fabric. This will secure the finished mask to your face by looping over your ears. You want to ensure the elastic is long enough to go over your ears and hold the mask securely in place. We suggest a length of 6 inches. You can thread the elastic through the hem using a needle.
- Once the elastic has successfully been threaded and pulled through each hem, tie each piece into a secure knot. You can then gently manoeuvre the knots so they are each tucked within the hemming of the mask.
- Once the knots are situated within the hemming of the mask, gather the mask together and hold it to your face. Adjust it until it fits your face comfortably. Once you have the sizing correct, sew the hemming shut, securing the knots.
CDC states that these face masks should only be worn by adults and children over the age of 2. They should be avoided by children under that age, or by individuals that suffer from breathing issues or cannot wear the mask without assistance.
Keeping a face mask clean
It’s important to keep the cleanliness of the mask at the forefront of your mind when using them. Please make sure that before touching the mask you wash your hands thoroughly. You don’t need to have a complicated sterilisation process, cleaning your mask in your washing machine should suffice. How often you need to clean it is dependent on how often you use the mask, though you should wash it between each use. The more often you use it, the more often you clean it.
From our customers
Some of our delightful customers have already put our fabrics into practical use.
Source: Thank you Gabriela Jancoskova for sending in these images.
Want to share a picture of your creation? Attach an image of your face mask to your product review and we'll add it to the collection!