How to make washable face masks: A Tesda guide

MANILA, Philippines – With the supply of face masks scarce due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) urged the public to create their own masks, providing a step-by-step guide on how to make the protective gear. 

You need some cloth and sewing materials, and you can produce washable triple-layered masks within your homes for personal use or as donations to frontliners, Tesda said. 

Isidro Lapeña, chief of Tesda, said the production of masks could also used as a livelihood program for workers unable to leave their homes during the lockdown.

The national government's task force earlier announced that Luzon residents were now requried to wear face masks or improvised face shields when leaving their homes to work or buy essential goods. 

One concern with recommending the widespread use of masks is that such measures can cause a shortage of the commodity already lacking and needed most for health workers.

Here is how to make a washable triple-layered face mask: 

Preparing the pattern and cutting fabric

1. Draw a baseline (horizontal) and create a right angle by drawing a vertical line.

2. Mark the portion where both lines meet as Point A.

3. From Point A, measure 5 3/8 inches upward and mark the line as Point B.

4. From Point A, measure 3/4 inches to the right and mark the line as Point C.

5. From Point A, measure 3 3/8 inches to the left and mark the line as Point D.

6. Using a french curve, draw a curve line from Point C to Point D.

7. From Point D, draw a slanting line with 2 5/8 inches and mark the line as Point E.

8. From Point E, draw a horizontal line to the right with 4 5/8 inches and mark the line as Point F.

9. Connect points B, F, and C using a french curve.

10. Add a 3/8-inch allowance on the following sides: E to B, D to C, and B to C.

11. Add a half-inch allowance for E to D.

12. Cut the pattern. This will serve as the pattern for the both the two outer layers and two inner layers of the face mask.

13. For the inner pocket of the mask, trace the previously-prepared pattern.

14. From Point C, measure 3 inches to the right, mark the same and draw a vertical line to the side of Point E to Point B.

15. Cut the pattern. This will serve as the pattern for the inner pocket of the mask.

16. Lay patterns on the folded fabrics (to create a two-piece panel in one cut).

17. Cut two pieces of fabric for each layer of the mask (inner, outer, and pocket layers of the mask).

Sewing the fabric

1. Prepare the cut materials/fabric and the sewing machine for operation.

2. Sew the center front curve on each layer of the mask (outer, inner, and pocket).

3. Fold and sew the side part of each layer (E to D).

4. Create a “knotch” at the center front of the curve of each layer using the pinking shears to ease the curves.

5. Flatten the center front curves of the layer using an iron.

6. Lay the pocket layer in front of the inner layer. Ensure that the front portion of the pocket layer is facing outward.

7. Lay the outer layer in front of the pocket layer. Ensure that the back part of the mask is facing outward.

8. Sew the top and the bottom part of the mask.

9. Using the cutting shears, clip the curve lines of the top portion.

10. From the side, invert the layers. Place the outer layer in front and the pocket layers at the back of the mask.

Photo from TESDA.

Apply finishing touches

1. For the ear loops, cut two pieces of garters or elastic bands with length of 5 1/2 inches.

2. Insert and sew the garters in both side-corners of the mask.

3. For a neat finish, sew the top and bottom edge of the mask leaving 1/8-inch allowance.

4. Wash and iron before use.

Templates for Tesda's face masks can be downloaded from this website. Patterns must be printed on A4 paper. Fabric for masks should preferably be cotton.

A video guide on how to make masks can also be found on the Tesda's official website

Tesda said some 91, 000 face masks have been produced and distributed to frontliners as of April 4.

As of Friday, April 10, the Philippines has recorded 4,195 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. The confirmed cases include 221 deaths and 140 recoveries. –