How NOT to make a face mask…


April 6, 2020 by kittynh

I don’t sew beautiful garments. I sew seconds.  You know the articles of clothing that end up at discount stores where perhaps one arm is a bit longer than the other.

This is an article about HOW NOT TO MAKE A FACE MASK. (go google some good directions)

All the mistakes but it will do the job.

WARNING: This is not a “done in 15 minutes” mask.  This will take all day, if you are a professional.


Do you know where your iron is?

  1. Ask husband where iron is located. He remembers using it in the basement to iron out a table cloth for a train display table last Fall, but “Well it should be down here in the basement someplace!”  45 minutes later find iron under tree skirt for Christmas tree.
  2. Remember that the ironing board has been in need of fixing/replacing for the past year. Try to decide with husband what would be a good back up plan.  Fight over the question if ironing on top of expensive counter top would ruin counter top of not. Finally agree it would not when we can’t think of anyplace else to iron fabric. This will account for perhaps an hour.
  3. Remember suddenly we need fabric. Remember giving away most of my fabric when we moved.  Find small box of expensive fabric I had bought to make Halloween treat bags (did not make bags), and some fabric when I was going to make grandson a baby quilt (did not make baby quilt). Amount of time finding small box of fabric, about an hour.


    So, it’s a pandemic. Halloween fabric is all I have!

  4. Decide we need an inside layer of tightly woven fabric for inside the masks.  Hold Halloween and baby fabric up to light and decide it lets in “too much sun”. I remind husband I recently purchased high count sheets at a high price, which he used as an opportunity to remind me about our bank account.  Decide I am a far sighted person, and these sheets are the answer.  Husband asks if the virus is REALLY that bad that we must cut up sheets.  Finally sacrifice one pillowcase to the cause. This takes possibly another hour and husband is on second beer.


    Malika cat is not happy about sheet situation

  5. Watch patterns on the internet.  Decide I can make it even the most simple pattern simpler, as that’s just who I am. A person that never learns. Also watch funny cat video.  This really took the rest of the day, so we went to sleep.
  6. Morning has come, and I have to make five masks as adult daughter needs one and so does her partner and their room mates.  I figure I will use the expensive pinking sheers I purchased to make the non made Halloween treat bags.  Tell husband I am saving him $35, as I’m USING those pinking sheers.  I think I am a genius as I will save time not having to turn masks.  Husband and I have sarcastic exchange over saving money, and I point out I am at HIGH RISK and he should be nicer to me.


    These are nice pinking sheers, I should sew more often!

  7. Afternoon is here, iron is set up on counter top. I guesstimate the size of the masks, and cut three layers including sacrificial pillowcase.
  8. Remember we need elastic.  This requires me to go into the bedroom and curl into a ball and moan softly, “We are all doomed, there is no elastic…” Husband starts drinking early.
  9. Genius wife remembers that cats loves hair elastics.  In fact I never have any hair elastics for myself, but always have some for the cats! Husband is bald and points out how this is a plus during this crisis.  I look in the cat cupboard area and find large plastic bag of hair elastics I have purchased as cat toys.  Husband again brings up the question of how we ended up with THREE CATS, and why not purchase cats real cat toys.  I tell him, to go drink another beer.


    hair elastic, cat toys and comfortable mask elastic!

  10. Find that untying hair elastics is almost impossible.  What other obstacle can be thrown as me as I am JUST TRYING TO DO WHAT THE GOVERNMENT TELLS ME TO DO. I am not kidding when I emphasis that untying the hair elastics was the worst part of this whole patriotic endeavor.This takes possibly three days, we lost track of time and ran out of curse words, and beer.  Husband becomes seriously depressed.
  11. Find bottle of rum and a can of Coca Cola and we are back in business. I know where the sewing machine is as I found it when I was going to make those Halloween bags.  Take a few moments to consider sewing machine that has not been serviced for 20 years, and I’ve lost the manual. Will it be up to the task? Time has no meaning now.
  12. Find a MIRACLE and a sign that God is on our side. The machine is not only working, but it has a full bobbin.  This means if the bobbin holds out, I will not have to hunt for missing manual to remember how to put thread on bobbin.  Also remember I have no clue if there are any spare needles for the machine. I have faith that both the bobbin, machine and my marriage can survive this.


    The Halloween fabric says “Goodbye”

  13. The masks are sewn.  Some are a wee too big, as I assume everyone has a face about three times as large as my own. So a little more sewing, all while hoping, no, make that praying, that the bobbin holds out.  Much like loaves and fishes, the thread keeps coming.
  14. Masks admired by husband, myself and we don’t care what the adult children and friends think as we’re helping to pay their cell phone bills and such since everyone is on furlough.  We may be Boomers but we have a savings account.
  15. Write donation check to the homeless shelter in town to give thanks for the creation of the masks and the survival of the marriage.  Husband suggests now that we “have it down” we both work together to make more masks. It’s not just the rum talking. He is proud that “we” created these super simple masks that take “no time at all”.


    Only good tip I have is to use these hair elastics.

No I’m not sharing the pattern.  I will say that the hair elastics feel terrific around your ears.  I went to order more, and it seems there are other geniuses out there that  are using these to make masks. Once you manage to untie them, the elastic feel better than most harsh sewing elastic.

I won’t mention to husband that we may have to sacrifice the other pillowcase, but I think he’ll be in favor of it as we finally DID SOMETHING.

We’ve been staying inside.  My husband is still working his full time job from the basement.  The cats are thinking over who they will eat first.

But these masks are a tangible thing that we did together.

Good luck on face mask making.  Just don’t follow my directions. Have plenty of elastic and beer on hand.

One thought on “How NOT to make a face mask…

  1. Naomi Baker says:

    I love this

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