The Art of Darkness

Notes on a Plague Mask

April 18th, 2020 by Cobwebs

So how about that global pandemic, huh? Didn’t see that one coming.

With widespread shortages of protective equipment, homemade masks have become a common DIY project. Having: a) A lot of time on my hands, and b) A truly staggering amount of scrap fabric*, I’ve been making a lot of masks for my community.** I’ve been using the instructions in Button Counter’s excellent tutorial, but I’ve streamlined the process a bit. With an assembly-line approach, you can turn out a metric assload*** of masks in a short amount of time.

Here are my notes on the basic instructions:

  • You can cut this all out with scissors, but a cutting mat and rotary cutter will make your life a zillion times easier. You should be able to stack fabric and cut out three or four masks at once.
  • The 14″ measurement of the main piece of fabric is the up/down direction, so if you use fabric with a directional pattern make sure that the 14″ side lines up with the fabric pattern.
  • The shorter measurement of the two smaller strips of fabric is supposed to be 1.75″, but 2″ is a lot easier to eyeball on a cutting mat and it doesn’t make any difference to the finished mask. Also the strips have to be at least 6″ long, but since you’re going to be cutting them down anyway they can be longer. Instead of cutting an 8″x14″ piece of fabric for the main part of the mask and then cutting two 6″x2″ strips separately, it’s faster to just cut an 8″x18″ piece of fabric and then cut two 8″x2″ strips off one end.
  • Instead of marking one pleat, folding it, and then marking the next pleat from that, mark these measurements starting at the bottom (the pressed seam) of the mask: 1.5″, 2.5″, 3″, 4″ 4.5″, 5.5″
  • There’s no real need to mark the pleats across the entire width of the mask, since they’re only basted at the edges. If you only mark the edges you can just use a pencil instead of a washable fabric pen because the markings will be hidden in the seams.
  • Instead of pinning the pleats, basting them, then pinning the elastic and basting it, pin the elastic in place after you pin the pleats and then just baste the whole thing once.

Good luck! And if you’re American, make sure you’re registered to vote and remember to vote blue in November. Because this :::gestures broadly::: is some bullshit.

 

*I was just using Halloween prints–because spiders and skulls are always in fashion–but since I expect I’ll be doing this for a while I decided to just lean into it and ordered some of this.

**Like employees at the local grocery store whose management wasn’t providing any. Information about how to unionize may or may not have been included in the package.

***0.67 imperial arseloads.

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