Last week, The Worlwide Centers for Disease Control now recommends that all citizens wear face masks in public to reduce transmission of Covid-19. Because there are widespread shortages of medical-grade face masks, and leaders and experts agree those should be reserved for healthcare providers, individuals are largely making face masks at home. And so the face mask has gone from curiosity to commonplace, virtually overnight.⁣ ⁣In just one day, a huge market opened up which has spurred consumers to turn the new necessity into a form of self-expression.

Across the denim industry we have seen an amazing response from makers at all end of the scale who are doing their part to help provide solutions amid the chaos, all of which we have been keeping track of on both the blog in our ‘Helping Hands‘ post and on Instagram.

We wanted to do our part in helping anyone who does not have accessibility to masks, or perhaps anyone who just wants to get creative during lockdown to create their own masks at home. We challenged one of our favourite custom experts Jaffa Saba, who’s been making concept masks alongside his other denim remakes, to develop a non-medical mask, with materials that can be found at home.

For the example below Jaffa used a combination of black denim & perforated nylon (Nike tech). The outer material for the masks can be made of any material, the inner just needs to be 100% cotton, which could be anything from a table cloth, pillow casing or a t-shirt.

As these are not medical masks we recommend that you insert a piece of paper towel or coffee filter in between the two layers of the fabrics. You can also use industrial air conditioning filters as extra protection if you want to upgrade.

For the other examples pictured in the banner image at the top, Jaffa created a Sashiko denim mask made with denim as well as a white one one made with ACW x Nike Canvas tote bag. All straps use shoe laces

  1. Download and print the mask template here
  2. Fold paper in half to create symmetry and cut out template. Crease triangles on the centre fold
  3. Trace shape on material
  4. Cut out panels around ensuring you have a 1cm gap from market line
  5. Sew along each crease on both panels
  6. Pin together front of the panels facing each other so the exterior is inside out 

7. Sew top and bottom lengthwise

8. Fold inside out through side holes – seams will now be visible

9. Thread shoelace as illustrated with fixed loop hanging on the bottom side

10. Fold Sleeve holes inwards to create flush edges and sew lengthways top and bottom avoiding the shoelace

11. Sew shortside seams together to seal the mask

Using and taking care of your mask (as directed by The Guardian):

  • Don’t wear it at home, and don’t wear it in the car, unless you’re with people outside your regular family group.
  • Don’t wear it more than necessary – just wear it when you’re in a public place, like a supermarket, where you might be within 6ft of people. It may not be necessary in a park or on a quiet street with few pedestrians, when you’re moving around.
  • Don’t remove the mask until you’re at home or in a place where you can wash your hands and avoid coming within 6ft of other people. When you do remove the mask, avoid touching the front of it in case you breathed in infected droplets that could now be there.
  • Remove and dispose of the paper towel insert. Place the rest of the mask in soapy water, soak it for two minutes, then wash and rinse. Any kind of soap – dish soap, laundry detergent, hand soap – will do. Then wash your hands, and disinfect with bleach or alcohol anything you touched after taking off the mask.
  • Never reuse a mask without washing it first.
  • Next time you wear the mask, remember to replace the paper-towel insert.
  • If you have symptoms – a stuffy nose, a cough, a fever – stay inside.
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Denim trend consultant, owner of @samutaro