Fabric Face Mask Sewing Hacks - Streamlining Production Sewing

Hello FabricWorms!

After sewing quite a few of asks for friends and loved ones, I've got some tricks to share with y'all! When production sewing, streamlining your method is key. I am giving you some ideas to cut down sew time and give you a little more flexibility with materials at hand.

Sewing A Mask With Channels for Elastic or Ties

I found that making your my masks one piece with channels for ties or elastic shaved off quite a bit of time.. I cut 1 piece that is 15" x WOF (approx. 42-44") then cross cut this into four 15" x  9.25" rectangles. This will make 4 masks.

Fold the rectangle in half right sides together so that your piece is now 7.5" x 9.25". Sew along the long side using a 1/2" seam allowance. Pull the piece through so that the right sides are out. Press.

Streamlining tip:  Cut out all the mask pieces in your batch and chain stitch to preserve thread, and save time. 

A Quick Guide to Chain Piecing

Sew your seam, lift your needle and pull the thread slightly, do not break the thread. 

Line up your next piece and begin sewing. Repeat the last step with the next piece to sew. 

When you’re done, you’ll have several pieces sewn together looking like this. Snip the  threads and carry on!

Adding A Nose Brace

Did you know you can make a nose brace out of a number of different household items? Try pipe cleaners, a roll of plant wire/ties (pictured below), or even reuse those little twist ties you tie up your produce at the grocery store with. I used pieces that are 3" long. Enter into your rectangle along the folded edge of the fabric. Sew around the wire to encase it onto the top of the mask.

Using your original template as a guide, mark your pleat lines, but keep in mind that your mask will be 1/2" shorter on each side then the template piece. The photo below shows marks made with a water soluble pencil, however I prefer to make little 1/8" snips.

From the pleats, press and baste stitch 1/4" away from the edge.

Streamlining tip:  Again, this is a great time to chain stitch your pieces together to preserve time and thread! 

Fold over the raw edges at the baste stitch line (1/4"), press, fold over 3/8", press. Edge stitch using a scant 1/8" seam allowance.

Now you have the option of sewing in your elastic and the openings of each channel, or pulling ties through the channels.

Other options for ties: ribbon, shoe laces, or maybe even sewing elastic hair ties into the channels during construction to loop over your ears. Let's get creative with what supplies we do have on the end. Leave a comment if you have any wonderful suggestions.


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