If you’ve been sewing Covid-19 cloth masks for the masses (or even smaller batches for friends and family), but can’t find elastic anymore, here’s a suggestion:
If you’re not sewing, but looking for other ways to keep busy while quarantined, HERE are 46 ideas. Feel free to click away. 🙂
If masks are your thing at the moment, here we go…
A week ago, when we ran out of elastic for the masks my daughter and I were making (and stores were out), we cut 4 strips of double-fold seam binding and sewed those to the corners to create TIE masks. It was time-consuming because we had to sew the binding closed first. Plus, buying seam binding for mass production would get expensive.
So, I did some research.
I found a pattern where two strips of regular fabric (of which we have plenty) are used to create seam binding type ties. The tutorial I found made it more complicated than it had to be. (FYI, if you’re out of fabric, sheets can be used as well.)
Here’s my version:
Cut two 2-inch wide strips of fabric that are 42 inches long. These are your ties.
Create your seam binding: Fold the long sides of each strip towards the center, matching edges. Iron.
Fold the strips in half lengthwise and iron again, making solid creases.
The creases will be your guidelines along the way.
Sew the basic 6 x 9, 2-layered rectangle you’ve already been making (right sides together.) Sew all sides closed, except for a 4-inch gap left open for turning the mask inside out. Flip the mask right side out and iron.
With the TIE method, you don’t have to sew this gap closed right away (saving a step.) It will be closed with the final step.
Attach the Ties.
Find the center of one of your long strips (you can do this by simply folding it in half.) Open up the strip and lay it over the long, closed side of your mask, matching the centers. This will ensure that the ties on either side will be even. Match edges.
Pin the tie in place and sew the strip to the mask on the creased edge of the tie.
Flip the mask over and bring the seam binding to the front of the mask, pinning it in place. The center crease of the seam binding should fit evenly with the edge of the mask. Pin the entire length of the strip closed.
Starting at one end, sew the tie strip closed. Backstitch a little as you sew over the corners of the mask.
I tie a knot at the end of the ties to avoid unraveling.
Repeat the process for the other side (the open side) of the mask. Attaching the tie will seal off the open gap.
Once both ties are in place, pleat as you would for any mask. This particular mask has two pleats, but three pleats are good too.
I like that TIE MASKS allow for adjustability. They also hold up in the dryer; elastic eventually degrades under the heat.
It helps to press the 42 in. strips into seam binding in batches. Make batches of 6 x 9 rectangles as well. Then, attaching the ties to the masks goes pretty quickly – only 3 passes through the machine!
Thank God for all the health care workers who are on the front lines fighting Covid-19. If you want to connect with an organization that is supplying masks, you can start HERE. This is the FL chapter of Army of Masks, but I’m sure it can lead you to a group in your state.