As COVID-19 gathers speed in Africa (as of April 2020), healthcare professionals are making efforts to reduce the rate of infection by any means necessary.
This means encouraging people to wear any type face covering, including fabric masks.
Yala Jewellery has volunteered to make, source and donate as many fabric masks as possible, for distribution through the Kenya Red Cross and AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation), so we need your help!
If you have a sewing machine and some fabric scraps, or you know someone who does, please follow the steps below to make face masks and email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll then give you a UK address to send them to, where they'll be collected to send to Kenya.
ASANTE SANA! (THANK YOU!)
Click here to download these instructions as a PDF.
You will need:
2 pieces of clean cotton fabric 20cm x 19cm
4 strips of clean cotton fabric 45cm x 3cm OR 2 pieces of elastic 0.5cm wide
Starting at the bottom, mark each of the 20cm x 19cm fabric pieces with a little line at the following intervals:
3cm, 6cm, 8.5cm, 11cm, 13.5cm, 16cm
A cardboard template similar to the one below could make this process a bit quicker and easier.
Place a pin at each mark on the edge of the fabric.
Starting from the top, create pleats by bringing the first pin to meet the second one. Then bring the third pin to meet the fourth one and the fifth pin to meet the sixth one. Repeat on each side, for both pieces of fabric.
It should now look like this:
Use a hot iron to press the pleats into place for both pieces of fabric.
Prepare the fabric strips to make ties.
** (skip this step if using elastic)
First, fold the 45cm x 3cm fabric strip in half and press with a hot iron.
Then, open the strip and fold each side to meet in the middle. Iron again, it should now look like this:
Fold the strip in half and iron again, it should now look like this and is ready to be sewn.
All your items should now look like this and you're ready to start sewing.
If using elastic, have that ready too.
Secure the ties by edge stitching along the open side. Make sure you tuck the ends under first.
If you're doing a lot of these in batches, you can avoid wasting thread by pushing the next strip under the presser foot, right behind the last one, like this:
Attach the ties (or elastic loops) to the mask.
Start by placing the ties about 1.5cm down from the top and bottom edge of the right side of the face mask fabric with the long tails pointing in, towards the centre of the mask.
Secure in place with a couple of basting stitches, right at the edge.
If using elastic, place the two pieces as shown in the blue lines below.
With right sides together, place the second piece of face mask fabric on top of the one that already has the ties or elastic loops attached.
Make sure your pleats are all facing the same way!
Pin all around the edge, collecting the ties or elastic loops in the middle of the pouch you've created.
Starting on the short sides of the face mask, sew along each edge with a 1.5cm seam allowance.
Then sew along the top of the mask with a 1cm seam allowance. Being careful not to catch any of the ties or elastic loops under the needle.
On the bottom edge of the face mask, sew along the edge with a 1cm seam allowance for about 5cm. Cut your threads and do the same again from the other side of the bottom edge. We need this hole to be able to turn the fabric right side out.
Trim the corners as shown before turning.
Turn the mask right side out and give the ties a little tug to release the corners properly. Press with a hot iron.
You will still have the little hole on the bottom edge where you left a gap in the stitching.
Some people prefer to leave this hole so they can insert a replaceable filter - it's up to you.
Starting in a corner, edge stitch all around the outside of the mask, taking extra care to close the hole we left before.
Or, if you are leaving hole for a filter, stitch as far as the hole, separate the two layers of fabric, stitch along one side of the hole, then flip it over and stitch the other side of the hole before continuing to edge stitch around the rest of the mask.
That's it - all finished!