Here’s Shaq heroically ringing up chips and salsa during shelter-in-place. Shaq, you’ve always been “essential services” to us!
The Humble Eco-Tote
My friends at the local market let me test their reusable grocery tote and sure enough–the material is breathable and repels water.
Some pluses & minuses
Is it the right tote material?
- Moisture Test
Make a small pocket in the material & fill it with water. If it doesn’t absorb moisture, go to step #2.
2. Breath Test
Tightly cover your mouth with the material & breathe normally. If you can breath through it, you’ve got the right stuff!
What You Need
• Waterproof, breathable grocery bag cut into a 7 X 9” panel
• 1/4 – 3/4” wide elastic cut 12“ long (any stretchy, sewable material works.)
• Pencil, pen, or chalk for marking the material
• Scissors or sharp blade & straight edge for cutting the material
• Clothes iron, ironing board, & a piece of cotton cloth for protecting the iron
• Clothes pins or paper clips (optional)
• Sewing machine or needle & thread for hand stitching
• Sealable plastic bag for delivering
• 70% or higher isopropyl alcohol or similar disinfectant for sterilizing mask and bag
• Spray bottle to spray disinfectant
Before you start, you’ll need to disinfect your hands, your tools, and your workspace.
• Don’t make a mask for someone if you’re sick.
• If you’re not using gloves, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. To time how long to scrub, some folks sing Happy Birthday twice. I prefer to see how far I can get through Bohemian Rhapsody.
• Wipe down your tools and surfaces with disinfectant. I use 91% isopropyl alcohol for my hands and solvent-resistant surfaces like metal and glass, hydrogen peroxide for wood and sensitive plastics, and diluted bleach for porcelain.
• If you’re making many masks, be sure to store them in a sterilized, sealable container. We use a heat sealer at Las Olas, but a ziploc storage bag works, too. I spritz a little hydrogen peroxide in each bag before sealing it up.
Cut to 7 X 9″ | 18 X 23cm
If you’re careful you can get three or four masks from a single tote.
Fold in Half Lengthwise
The piece should now measure 3 ½ X 9″.
Iron Flat at Low Temps
Set iron to “Synthetic”. It’s usually the lowest temperature. Press until flat.
Fold Back 1/3
Just fold one half back ⅓, so you have ⅔ remaining.
Fold the Top Panel in Half
You should have three even panels ready to press with the iron.
You are halfway done with your accordion. After it’s pressed flat, flip over and repeat the folds.
Repeat Same Folds on Other Side
Fold the other half into thirds the same way and press flat with iron.
That’s it! You’ve made a little accordion panel.
Use a common clothes pin or paper clip to hold the accordion in form.
Need a break or can we move on?
Locate the middle fold and set your elastic ½” in. You’re ready to sew.
Sew Across All Panels & Elastic
Using a sewing machine or by hand, sew a straight stitch back and forth three times across all panels and the elastic.
Repeat on Other End
If you’re happy with your first stitches, repeat on the other side.
Using the accordion feature, open the mask and admire your handiwork. It will make a cup that will cover your nose, mouth, and chin.
The Magic Gusset
To help the elastic strap aim upwards on your face, you’ll need to sew a small gusset where the elastic enters the mask. With the mask open, fold one of the inner edge panels 45°.
Tack the Gusset
With the gusset folded at 45° in place, sew a straight stitch across the width of the folded mask and elastic. Make three passes for good measure and be sure to lock stitch. Repeat on the other side.
How About That Gusset?
You can see how that gusset aims the elastic strap towards the top of the head.
That’s it! Now make a bunch more.
Put on your mask
1. After washing your hands, open the mask to create the cup.
2. With the gusset side (short side) up, place the cup over your chin and nose.
3. Hold mask against against your chin and nose with one hand while pulling the elastic strap up to the top back of your head.
4. Adjust the strap so it lays flat and stays in place.
Mask in Action
Here’s John at the deli counter. Is he smiling? Is he frowning? We never know. Just another great feature of the mask.
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