The UK government is now advising people to wear face coverings while in enclosed spaces such as public transport and shops to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

While surgical-grade masks should be prioritised for health and care workers, the new guidance suggests that people should, but are not obliged to, wear “face coverings” including scarves and shop-bought masks.

A number of independent brands, including Rewritten, have started to manufacture their own versions, with many benefiting charities too, but there’s nothing to stop you from making your own, even if you cannot sew.

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The government has even published its own guide to making masks following the publication of its roadmap and strategy for the next phase of the pandemic.

Whether you’re handy with a sewing machine or simply want a quick fix, you can make do with what you have around your home, from old T-shirts and tea towels to single socks.

When it comes to which fabrics to use, researchers at Cambridge University found that cotton T-shirts and cotton pillowcases are the best at-home materials for making DIY face masks, due to their ability to capture small particles while remaining breathable.

Here is everything you need to know about different types of face masks and step-by-step instructions on how to make them.

The T-shirt face mask 

You will need:

Step 1: Cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.

Step 2: From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle.

Step 3: Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge. From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.

Step 4: To make the ties, cut open the edge of the 2 long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose. The 4 strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.

The sewn cloth face mask

You will need:

Step 1: Cut out two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric. Stack the 2 squares on top of each other.

Step 2: Fold over one side by 0.75cm and hem, then repeat on the opposite side. Make 2 channels by folding the double layer of fabric over 1.5cm along each side and stitching this down.

Step 3: Run a 20cm length of elastic (or string or cloth strip) through the wider hem on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tightly.If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the covering behind your head.

Step 4: Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the covering on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping. These elastic loops fit over the ears.

The bandana face mask

You will need:

Step 1: Lay the piece of fabric out flat and fold in half so that the top and bottom meet in the middle. Fold the bandana in half again so that there are now four layers of fabric.

Step 2: Use two hair ties to create ear loops. Slip one hair tie over each of the ends and move a few inches toward the centre of the folded bandana.

Step 3: Fold the ends of the bandana in to meet in the middle. The ends should overlap slightly so you can tuck one end into the other to help keep them secure.

Step 4: Gently pull on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face. Then place the elastic loops over the ears.

The sock face mask

You will need:

Step 1: Fold the sock in half and cut off the toe and ankle sections.

Step 2: Open up the sock and cut down the edge opposite to the heel.

Step 3: Fold the sock in half again and cut into the heel’s edge by about two thirds and about 2cm from the ends.

Step 4: Open out the sock completely and trim off the corners into curves.

Step 5: Loop the cut outs around your ears and cover your nose and mouth with the rest of the sock. The heel should fit securely over your nose.

When do you need to wear a mask?

The UK government has advised that people only need to wear masks when they are out in a public place, like a supermarket or using public transport.

The guidelines state that face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstance. “Face coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically,” the advice reads.

Shape Created with Sketch.
How to make your own face mask

Shape Created with Sketch.
How to make your own face mask

1/6 Using a T-shirt – Step 1

Cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.

2/6 Steps 2 and 3

From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle.

Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge. From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.

3/6 Step 4

To make the ties, cut open the edge of the 2 long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose. The 4 strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.

4/6 A sewn cloth face covering – Steps 1 and 2

Cut out two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric. Stack the 2 squares on top of each other.

Fold over one side by 3/4 cm and hem, then repeat on the opposite side. Make 2 channels by folding the double layer of fabric over 1.5cm along each side and stitching this down.

5/6 Step 3

Run a 20cm length of elastic (or string or cloth strip) through the wider hem on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tightly.

If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the covering behind your head.

6/6 Step 4

Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the covering on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping. These elastic loops fit over the ears.

1/6 Using a T-shirt – Step 1

Cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.

2/6 Steps 2 and 3

From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle.

Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge. From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.

3/6 Step 4

To make the ties, cut open the edge of the 2 long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose. The 4 strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.

4/6 A sewn cloth face covering – Steps 1 and 2

Cut out two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric. Stack the 2 squares on top of each other.

Fold over one side by 3/4 cm and hem, then repeat on the opposite side. Make 2 channels by folding the double layer of fabric over 1.5cm along each side and stitching this down.

5/6 Step 3

Run a 20cm length of elastic (or string or cloth strip) through the wider hem on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tightly.

If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the covering behind your head.

6/6 Step 4

Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the covering on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping. These elastic loops fit over the ears.

What is the most effective way to wear a face mask?

If you are going to wear a face mask, it is important that you know how to wear it properly, otherwise the mask is redundant.

The government states that a cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.

The World Health Organisation has provided the following steps for anyone wearing a face covering:

How often should you wash your face mask?

You should wash a cloth face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

“These should ideally be washed after every use in a washing machine, if possible,” Dr Shoshana Ungerleider, an internal medicine physician with Sutter Health, told CBS News.

More delicate masks that are handsewn may need to be washed by hand. If so, masks should be lathered with soap and scrubbed for at least 20 seconds with warm to hot water.

This content was originally published here.

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