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Here’s how you can sew your own face mask if you’re a beginner

In the latest of Singapore’s stringent circuit-breaker measures, wearing a mask is now a must whenever you leave your house. That is, if you don’t want to cough up $300 for the fine you’ll be charged with otherwise.

Whatever your opinion on the effectiveness of face masks against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) may be, it’s time to get covered up. You could do so with a high-tech one if there are still any available, but those of us who have been deemed non-essential employees should leave the N95 masks and other fancy alternatives for the country’s frontliners.

Instead, you can settle for a surgical mask or the reusable mask that has been issued by the government. However, if you are running low on your supply of the former, or just don’t like the colour of the latter, then take matters into your own hands by making your own face mask.

That’s what the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF) wants you to do with the launch of its latest initiative, Masks 4 SG. On its website, TaFF has shared a comprehensive guide to sewing your own reusable mask, along with two exclusively-designed mask patterns that are free to download.

(Photo credit: Textile and Fashion Federation)
TaFF is offering two free mask patterns: the fitted face mask (left) and the pleated face mask (right) (Photo credit: Textile and Fashion Federation)

Before going all Martha Stewart and picking out your favourite fabrics, TaFF recommends you choose an ideal material like high-quality 100% cotton plain-weave fabric, or any similarly thick, tightly-woven fabric. These have a higher chance of blocking germs and other viral particles from passing through. And to be on the safe side, don’t go ripping up your old cotton T-shirts, either — those are often made with stretchy (and therefore porous) jersey knits.

Also, fear not the needle and the thread. If your experience with sewing is limited to watching designers do it on Next in Fashion, you can refer to TaFF’s pattern for the simple pleated face mask. But if you want a design specially customised for your face shape, try out the the fitted face mask pattern instead.

Among other epiphanies, we are all discovering a crafty side to ourselves now that we are stuck at home. It’s not too late to hop on the DIY wave and sew up a homemade mask for yourself. So get your tools, get creative, and head to TaFF’s website to find out more.

Pameyla Cambe
Senior Writer
Pameyla Cambe is a fashion and jewellery writer who believes that style and substance shouldn't be mutually exclusive. She makes sense of the world through Gothic novels, horror films and music. Lots of music.