"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Apr 6, 2020

My Bra Strap Corona Mask

This is my kind of project, and I'm including some tips for making your own mask.  Last week I started looking for instructions online and scrounging through my craft box.  I found some cotton fabric and ribbon (no elastic), and while looking for lining suggestions I read that those blue
Scott Shop towels I picked up for emergency T.P. last month are the perfect non-porous fabric which can also be washed. 
 I don't believe you need to use this, but since I had some I grabbed a sheet and got to work.
(Note: click here for CDC patterns)
The most popular pattern I found was basically a folded rectangle with pleated sides and straps attached.  Sewn by hand using an over-sized needle and regular thread, the ribbon I used (below) was OK but I had to keep folding my ears to get it on and off.

I figured I'd look for elastic in Walmart when I picked up my grocery order and that's when I discovered elastic is as scarce as toilet paper and there was nothing left in the sewing section except 3/4" in white.
"There's gotta be SOMETHING in this store I can use."  I walked through Walmart with an open mind and protected face, surprised to see more people wearing masks than not.  How come so many people have purchased masks if there's such a shortage?  Good planners, must be.
I was headed for the Children's section for thin, elastic-y items, when I stopped in my tracks at a rack of clearance lingerie with the biggest bazoom brassieres I've ever seen, 3 bucks reduced from $17, in black.  
Bra straps are stretchy, and smoother than regular elastic.  As long as they were the same price I grabbed the largest I could find: 40DXXL, for the longest straps.  My initial plan was to just cut off pieces and sew them on, but the brass slides gave me another idea.
The straps could be adjustable on the mask; but it seemed too much bulk behind the ears, so I sewed the slides to the mask instead.  However, if you have a pattern which wraps around your head instead of just your ears, I don't see why you couldn't leave the strap adjustable and attach the whole thing as is.  Just an idea.
Cut the straps off the bra and take the it apart.  One of the slides should have the fabric end already sewn on (below).  
Sew the metal slides to the sides of the fabric on the front of the mask. (The less against your skin to irritate, the better.)  It doesn't matter which slide goes where.
I had sewn the original ribbons coming from the top and bottom of the mask (see photo up above) but I didn't like the way it kept pulling the mask up my nose and fogging my glasses.  I'm much happier with the straps pulling out to the sides; but I also added an extra tuck at the sides to help keep the top edge down.
Thread the elastic through the slide, adjust to fit your face, and tack the pieces together with a couple stitches near the slides BEFORE you cut off the excess to make sure you have the right fit (I didn't the first time).  When you're certain of the fit, cut the excess (I left about 1-1/2") and slip stitch around the ends to keep together (below).  As I said, one of the 'slides' will already have the strap sewn on, so that's nice.
I also added a small dart with a couple stitches at the jawline (below) because I didn't like the way the mask fit, but that's just me being picky.

I tend to over-work my projects, so save some time and look at the CDC's mask made from a scarf and a couple of rubber bands, as well as Images of home made masks.  You can get some ideas and design your own.
Unfortunately, those nice people sewing masks for hospitals have bought up most of the supplies, so use whatever you've got - these don't have to last forever, but if possible they should be washable.
God, my life would have been so different if I'd been a 40D.


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