Monday, June 15, 2020

How to Sew a Child-Sized Fabric Face Mask with Ties

Kids, especially, often don't like to have a lot of extra fabric on them--especially on their faces!--and so even though most adult-sized face masks with ties really would fit most kids, too, it can be nice to size their masks down for a better, less claustrophobic fit.

The most popular mask that I've sold so far in my Pumpkin+Bear etsy shop, actually, is my Big Kid face mask. It's more tween-sized, best fitting kids around the ages of 7-12, but as you can see in the photo above, the Big Kid mask is also a good size for my 14-year-old Syd. It's approximately 7" across the face, and expands to a maximum of 5" to cover the nose and chin.

Size down even more to make a Little Kid mask, which is approximately 6" across the face and expands to a maximum of 4" to cover the nose and chin. It's designed to best fit a kid around the ages of 2-7. With a little kid, especially, you can see how nice it might be to not have all the extra fabric of an adult mask on their face!

These masks are a little fiddly to sew, with the precise pleats and the narrow bias tape, but if you'll bring your sewing skills, I'll deliver your tutorial!

Here's what you'll need to sew one child-sized face mask with ties:

Here's an example of all the different mask starting sizes. The grey fabric at the top is an adult mask, the pink fabric below it is the Big Kid mask, the light blue fabric below that is a Little Kid mask, and the indigo fabric at the bottom is a doll mask.
  • 100% natural fabric. I've seen these masks made with cotton, silk, and linen. Jersey knit is tempting because it's so soft, but I worry that the weave is too loose for it to be an effective face mask. I've also seen masks made from upcycled denim, but to me that seems way to heavy to be right in front of your mouth. For a Little Kid mask, cut two pieces of fabric 6"x4". For a Big Kid mask, cut two pieces of fabric 7"x5". 
  • bias tape. I use a poly-cotton blend 1/4" bias tape, and I think it's perfect for these face masks. For both the Big Kid and Little Kid mask, you need two pieces of 1/4" bias tape, each 32" long. 
  • matching needle and thread. I like a universal needle for sewing the mask fabric, and a jeans needle for sewing the bias tape.
  • iron
  • measuring and cutting supplies
1. Facing the right sides of the fabric together, sew down the two long sides. Use a narrow 1/4" inch seam for both.

This essentially makes a tube. Turn it right sides out and iron to press the seams:

2. Pleat the mask. Put three pleats into the mask by folding the fabric down, then ironing it to crease it:

3. Baste the pleats. Baste the pleats on both sides of the mask:

4. Attach the bias tape. Fold each length of bias tape in half and iron it to crease it. Match the crease to the center pleat of the mask and pin it:

Sew down the entire length of the bias tape on both sides, stitching it to the mask:

If you want to sew a mask to exactly fit a kid, follow these instructions but measure the distance between the kid's jaws for the length and the distance from the bridge of their nose to the bottom of their chin for the width. These two kid masks, however, should fit all of your kittycats until they're quite grown up!

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