Updated on April 12, 2020
During these uncertain times, as we navigate uncharted physical, social, and especially emotional places, it is important to feel that we are able to do something useful. For ourselves and for the people around us.
As our studio shifts gears to produce fabric face masks for our community; we are making available a FREE face mask pattern at our pattern store for home sewers to make their own fabric face masks, for themselves, for their families, as well as for the community at large.
Our current design is based on using 2 layers of cotton fabric, with an additional inner cotton gauze pocket for holding in place a disposable filter (if needed). Material-wise use a densely woven yet thin cotton fabric (quilting cotton is an ideal choice) as that would hold droplets at the same time allow for breathability.
The fabric mask design is such that the elastic loops through the sides of the mask and around the ears. Feel free to change the length of the elastic in order to modify the way the mask is worn, say around the head instead of looping around the ears.
Sizes range from XS for young children, S for kids, M for teens/petite adults to L and XL for adults. We recommend that toddlers aged 3 and below do not use a face mask as wearing a face mask may affect their regular breathing (We all know our kids will keep touching their faces or move their face masks around, thereby defeating the aim of wearing a mask!)
Other free patterns out there
That said, there are many amazing free patterns online to sew your own reusable Face Mask. Here are just some:
- CYC Face Mask by CYC Tailor. They have launched an initiative (and received an overwhelming response) calling on volunteers to help sew 500k reusable face masks for Migrant Workers in Singapore.
- HK Mask by Dr K Kwong who has done a study on the different types of disposable filters that can be used and can easily found in every household.
- Fu Face Mask by FreeSewing – a very cool website that aims to be the WikiPedia of sewing patterns. Even their measurement model is a rockstar.
- Sew and No Sew instructions by CDC which gives you alternatives like fashioning your face mask out of a T-shirt or a bandana.
- Sew Your Own Reusable Face Mask in 15min by Hula Craft managed by one of our very own sewing instructors.
- Masks Sewn with Love by Sewing Seeds of Love with both pdf and video instructions. You might have also seen their pattern and instructions printed in actual size in the Straits Times recently.
Sewing for the community
There are also many community driven initiatives asking for volunteers to sew for the community such as Masks Sewn with Love. Some of our staff have volunteered for one called Sew Love SG. They will deliver the materials to your doorstep, allow you to choose how many you wish to sew, and there is no pressure to meet a deadline. The materials comes in packs, one packet has enough materials to make 20 face masks. Volunteers can also sew based on any pattern they favour.
Stay tuned on @sewfunsg instagram and our blog to see how this volunteering journey goes!
Purchasing fabric + materials for sewing face masks during this period of time
Lye Nai Shiong (haberdashery)
Sing Mui Heng (fabric + haberdashery)
*Update - Brighton Accessories will now be open from 11 Apr 20 to 4 May 20. Check their facebook page for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Reusable Fabric Face Masks
Do reusable fabric face masks offer the level of protection as surgical masks do?
Unfortunately, they do not. N95 Masks still offer the best protection against foreign particles. However, there is new evidence to support the assertion that fabric masks do offer some protection. The primary benefit of covering your nose and mouth is that you protect the people around you when you talk, sneeze or cough. You can increase the effectiveness of your fabric mask by adding a disposable filter in the pocket layer.
In addition, by using fabric masks, we are ensuring that there are adequate surgical grade masks available for the people who need it more - frontline medical staff, who face COVID-19 patients every day. These fabric masks are great if you need to be on public transport, or running a short errand at the supermarket.
How often do you need to wash it?
As these masks come into contact with millions of germs on a daily basis, it is recommended that you wash it after each use.
How should you wash your fabric face mask?
Before using any fabric face mask, you should wash it in HOT water, using soap or detergent that leaves no residue. Do not use any soap that contains fabric softener. Rinse well with fresh water and hang to dry.
You can also disinfect the mask by soaking it for 5 minutes in a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach per quart of water or ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water.
How to use the fabric face mask?
- Ensure you are using a clean mask.
- Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser before touching the mask.
- Pick up mask by touching ear loops or straps only.
- Avoid touching the mask itself.
- Hold both ear loops and place a loop around each ear.
- Fit mask around mouth, nose, and chin.
You should only take off the mask by removing the elastics or straps from behind your ears. Don’t touch the front, and keep the mask away from your face.
Lastly—You Know the Drill—Wash Your Hands!
Remember that social distancing, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick are the best ways to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Wearing and using homemade cloth face masks is another way you members can help support your health. As we work together as a community, we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
FAQ information provided by:
Sew your own reusable Sew Fun Face Mask pattern is FREE for download here.
The Sew Fun Team