How to make pleated medical masks with thread
My goal was to make the masks similar to the paper-type personal protective equipment that I use in the oncology department. My other goal was to produce as many as possible.
- Cotton fabric,
- elastic 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch polyester elastic works great, but if supply is scarce use what you have. You can also use bias stitching tape in place of the elastic and tie the masks.
- The floral thread is only needed if you want the mask to have some stability on the bridge of the nose.
- Fuse interfacing
Step 1. Pre-wash the cotton fabric you are using
Step 2. You will start by cutting out rectangles of fabric and interfacing
Large: 9 “x 14” for mask, 2 “x 9” seam finishing tape, 8 “x 6” interfacing. Elastic for L = 9 or 10 “
Medium: 8 “x 13”, seam finishing tape 2 “x 8”, interfacing 7 “x 5.5”. Elastic for M = 7 or 8 “
Small: 7 “x 12”,, 2 “x 7” seam finishing tape, 6 “x 5” interfacing. Elastic for S = 5 or 6 “
Step 3. Choose the size you start with. If you are making a mask, simply cut a piece of fabric to the desired size. For mass production lay several layers of fabric. You can put several different pieces on top of each other or even fold the piece of fabric several times. Make sure it is flat, then cut the rectangle to the desired size. Using a ruler with a rotating knife and a mat will make this process easier. You can also mass cut the interfacing this way.
Step 4. Cut 2 ”wide strips to the length you need. For mass production, cut the layers of fabric into 2 ”wide strips, as you did in step 3. Using a ruler with a rotating knife and a mat will make this process easier. .
Step 5. Take the rectangle and, with the right sides of the fabric together, stitch the short ends together and iron a fold in the middle.
Step 6. Cut 5 “of floral thread and place it (zigzag stitch on the thread) on the fabric about 1/8 inch from the fold. Reverse stitching on the start and end of the thread to secure it. in series, first cut all pieces of thread, then machine stitch the thread.
Step 7. Cut the fusible interfacing to the size you have chosen for the mask. Butt it on the thread near the fold and center it, leaving room on the left and right sides, and at the bottom for sewing. Replace the fuse. This is an extra layer of protection on the wire and it keeps the folds crisp.
Step 8. With the right sides facing together and the short ends of the fabric lined up together, sew the bottom seam.
Step 9. Turn the right side of the mask with the seam at the bottom and the thread at the top. The side with the thread is the outside of the mask, the other side is the inside of the mask.
Step 10. Fold the masks. Start at the top of the mask where the thread is custom sewn 3/4 of an inch down and make a 1 1/2 “box pleat with 1/2” deep pleats. Pinch one more fold near the bottom. Iron the folds flat.
Step 11. Pin the elastic to the raw edges of the masks. If you are making one for yourself, a safety pin, a rubber band and try it out. Different rubber bands have different levels of stretch. Find what is right for you.
Step 12. Sew the elastic and the pleats down
Step 13. Take a seam finish strip and fold it in half on its long edge with the raw edge together. Lay the raw edges of the mask and the seam finish tape together. There will be about a 1/2 inch on each edge at this point. Sew the finishing tape from the seam to the elastic, just behind the first seam in step 11.
Step 14. Cut the seams down and fold the finishing tape back by folding the raw edges back and sew it down.
Step 15. Enjoy the mask! Or donate it.
There are plenty of tutorials and mask templates for you to try. Here are some of my video inspirations: