Saturday, January 3, 2015

#80: Surgical Mask Covers

Happy new year!!

Today's post actually goes back, way back to....Christmas 2014 ;) I wanted to give a personal touch to one of my gifts for my mother-in-law. At her job, anyone who does not get a flu shot is required to wear a surgical mask. Since she's allergic to some of the ingredients of a flu shot, she is stuck wearing these:

Plain. Boring. Dull.

She asked if I could make some fashionable ones for her, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I looked online for examples of fashionable surgical masks, but I soon realized there are very few on the market right now. So I began trying to figure out a pattern myself.

I realize that I couldn't make complete germ-blocking masks, but I could make beautiful covers to go over actual masks. I picked up a pack of 10 plain surgical masks at the 99 Cents Only Store, scoured through my scrap fabric, and used the sizing of the actual masks to cut out 2 rectangles of fabric.

2 rectangles...

...larger than the mask.

It was important to make it wide enough top-to-bottom because when a surgical mask is worn, it stretches from the bridge of your nose to underneath your chin.

I tore off the loops which wrap around the ears and decided to use them. I laid the 2 rectangles of fabric facing each other, pinned the edges, and pinned the loop ends inside.

Hidden loops on the inside

Then I sewed the edges closed, making sure to sew over the ends of the loops, and left about a one inch opening. Through that opening, I turned the mask outside-in.

Turning it outside-in.

Once I had it turned correctly, I sewed the 1 inch opening closed.

Next, to give it a better fit in the nose area, I folded, pinned, and sewed 3 creases in both sides of the mask.

Pinning creases

After they were sewn, I ironed them to define the creases.

Ironing creases

And I was done!!

Using scrap fabric, and loops from actual surgical masks, the total cost out of pocket to make 10 masks was only $1. And since they are only the covers, they are machine washable! (Unless some intense biohazardous stuff got on them. Then just dispose of it.)

Here are the different, fashionable surgical mask covers:


Surgical Mask Covers

And post-iron:
Surgical Mask Covers, after ironing


My mother-in-law loved them!

Mother-in-law modeling a surgical mask cover

Some things I learned were that it's important to have more width than less, because the surgical masks stretch a lot, and you want them to cover the masks entirely. I also tried to use the wire that bends over the bridge of your nose, but realized I would need a much more heavy-duty wire to keep fabric bent in place. Also, the ones I sewed inside out came out much better than the ones I folded and sewed on the outside. Finally, plain ol' starchy cotton was much easier and quicker to sew and iron than anything with stretch in the fabric.

My aunt's boyfriend, who also works where surgical masks are needed, suggested I make these and sell them on Etsy. The family recommended I could make some with people's favorite sports team logos on them. Perhaps there could also be people looking for ones with children's designs. I imagine there could be interest, but I wouldn't know where to start. Any of you have any experience selling on Etsy? Or know someone who would like these? Leave me a comment with your ideas!

I hope your new year got off to a good start. May your 2015 be filled with blessings from the Lord, and may you experience the year with awe and wonder, and with the support of good friends!

Until next time, blessings :)