Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sock it to me!

I have yet to venture anywhere that I would need one, but I recently realized I needed to start thinking about getting a face mask (or two, or more) for myself as well as dh.

Medical & N95 masks, of course, are nowhere to be found for purchase right now (and hospitals & medical staff rightfully get first dibs on those). We had two N-95 masks that BIL (who works in construction) gave us at the start of the crisis. Dh has been wearing (& re-wearing) them when he's gone out to shop for groceries -- but there are only so many times you can re-wear these things.  (You're only supposed to wear them once, of course, but dh figures that if drs & nurses are re-wearing theirs in virus-saturated hospital environments, he's probably pretty safe wearing his a couple of times to the supermarket.)

I don't have a sewing machine to make cloth masks.  I thought about ordering something online, but what if I needed a mask before they arrived? I started bookmarking various instructions for no-sew masks -- some involving bandanas/scarves/tea towels/linen napkins/etc. & elastic bands (or hair elastics). One friend swears by masks made from several layers of paper towels & elastics. (Advantage: they're disposable.)

I figured if worse came to worse, I could always just wind a scarf around my face to cover my nose & mouth. After all, I grew up in Canada (and on the Prairies, no less!), where every kid walked to school and played outside in sub-zero temperatures with scarves wound firmly around our faces, hats pulled low on our foreheads, and a narrow slit for eyes to peek out. (At least right now, I wouldn't have to worry about my warm breath wetting my scarf & getting it all damp & soggy)(not to mention frosty, lol.)

Then a friend posted a video showing how to make a simple no-sew mask using nothing but a sock and a pair of scissors. Who doesn't have an old pair of socks they could cut up in a pinch, right?

There are lots of videos out there on YouTube showing how to make a sock mask. Some of the methods differ from video to video. I followed a short video/GIF that a friend posted on Facebook, which I subsequently reposted -- but my mother complained that it went by too fast for her. So I wound up taking photos to demonstrate my method for my mother, and I thought I'd share them here too. :) 

Step one: get a clean old sock and cut it apart just above the ankle/ball of the foot,
so you have a nice length of sock to work with. In some videos they cut off the elastic band at the top. (I didn't bother.) 

Step 2: Cut the sock all the way through along one edge.

Step 3: Open up the sock and fold it in half (the other way).
Make a cut through the fold, about 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch in from the edge.
Do the same thing on the other side.

Step 4: Unfold and voila! There's your mask! Pull it over your mouth & nose and loop the slits around your ears.
You can round off the square corners a bit if you like.
It's not as closely fitted as a medical mask or N95, or a tailored cloth mask --
but it's better than no mask at all and very easy to make!
It's also washable & reusable! 


  1. Friends on Facebook were just discussing how the surgeon general here was initially saying that masks were pointless, and has since done a 180 - even posting a "How to make a mask without sewing" video. It's crazy here. Fortunately, I have been issued masks at work, so I don't have to try and make anything...but here's the surgeon general's video.

  2. The great thing about a mask is tha by wearing it, you show you are caring for others, because its primary purpose is to prevent spread of disease as much as to protect you. We seem to have skipped the mask stage altogether here (fingers crossed), but I do like this easy-to-make version!

  3. Love the Laugh-In reference :-)

    Very clever. Even *I* could manage this!

    1. I wondered whether anyone would get that!! lol

  4. I totally made a few of these and Bryce finds them super comfortable! I made the mistake of cutting the ear-slits too narrow and one of mine broke (it almost snapped and half of it flew off my face), so make sure you don't go too narrow on those ear loops! :) I used those, and a mask my mother in law made (although that one has too much loose stuff on the sides for me to feel real comfortable), and I have these tube headband things from Natural Life that you can just wear like a little scarf and then pull up over your mouth and nose. But, a student recommended these masks that come in packs of 5 for $20, and they are awesome! I ordered them (I had sock ones in the meantime) and they came within a week. They do look suspiciously like underwear, but they come in all different patterns and have two layers of cotton. Because they're like underwear. I get real mad when I see people not wearing masks because of what Mali said -- they're really there for others, not for you -- and when people scoff at them they basically are saying they don't care about anyone else's safety. Argh. But I love the sock mask! Great tutorial!

    1. I made one from a sock that was slightly thinner and more stretchy/baggy than some of the others I had (it was an odd sock, I was waiting to pair it up with another sock once its mate wore out...!). Dh wore it to the supermarket last week, and I guess it served its purpose then -- but I washed it and it came out of the laundry all stretched out of shape... I wound up throwing it out because it was just too baggy around the ears and face now to be of any real value. He wore another one to the supermarket more recently, and I'm crossing my fingers that it & the other masks hold up better in the laundry than the first one!