Van (she/her) is the Manager of our Berkeley location. Aside from taking care of our beloved East Bay shop, she is an Asian American textile and fashion designer. Alongside her fellow coworkers and friends (Kayoko, Carla, Margarita, Kim, Devon) this project was made to support our community. Her work lends itself to sustainable making and one-off distinctively eclectic construction.
I’m going to show you a step by step process for the facemasks our Berkeley team and friends made. These handmade facemasks sell exclusively in our Fourth street store location for 100% proceeds to Planting Justice. They are a local grassroots organization that cultivates organic foods to nurture and uplift our East Bay community, and empower those that have been impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities. Please check them out.
- Sewing machine (or needle and thread if you don’t have one!)
- Loop Turner *optional
- 1 piece of 100% Colored Cotton Fabric cut 7 ¼” by 9 ¼”
- 2 pieces of Muslin (or you can use 100% cotton fabric) cut 5 ⅛” by 7 ⅛”
- Pair of Shoelace
- Pipe cleaner
- PM2.5 Filter
- Bleach (Foam spray)
First Process: Dyeing the Fabric
Top photo: Beginning bleach process
Bottom photo: Bleach process 20 minutes in
For the design of this fabrication we decided to do a discharge Shibori dye technique. I pleated one half of a two yard fabric and tied it in increments of 2 inches or so. I wetted the entire fabric with water, and then sprayed bleach on every other square. The rest of the fabric I scrunched up and sprayed with random splotches of foam bleach. The wetness of the fabric made it very easy to scrunch up tightly without use of rubber bands or string. The foam bleach spray was used on a royal blue cotton fabric that made the outcome delightful. The effect gave soft textural pinks that gradieted into the blue. This made each of our facemasks special and unique.
Top photo: Scrunched up technique
Bottom photo: Pleated technique
There’s so many dye techniques to play with! If you want more contrast, use rubber bands to tighten up the scrunched fabric and use stronger bleach water (1:1 ratio).
Second Process: Sewing the Facemask
Mask notes featuring my personal notebook and pen set: Kolo L. Edison pouch, Itoya Squared Notebook, Le Pen, and Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. I customized the Edison pouch by dyeing it in indigo.
From researching, testing, and wearing facemasks I found this pattern to be one of the most efficient. The wide pleats help to make it fit most faces, and the shoelace drawstrings make wear more comfortable than elastic bands. We used an adjustable knot to make it easier to slip on and off, with a pattern you can easily remove the PM2.5 filter and pipe cleaner for machine wash capability. This facemask is not medical graded.
Iron the two pieces of muslin at ½” on the wide edge, sew ¼” hems.
Sew the wide sides of the two pieces of muslin onto either wide sides of the cotton fabric ½” seam. Iron flat and fold to hide the raw seam. Alternatively, iron and sew at ¼” to make the face mask a smidge longer.
Iron out 3 pleats (¾” to 1 inch per pleat). Pleat the fabric folding downwards, making sure bottom muslim flap goes over the top muslim.
Tack down the sides (¼” - ½” stitch).
Fold the side edges toward the muslim side twice at ½” to create the shoelace inserts. Top stitch both folded edges.
Insert the pipe cleaner through the muslin slit. Top stitch it into place, leaving 1 inch of room on either side to easily remove when needed.
Insert the shoelace with a loop turner. Alternatively, you could insert the shoelace at Step 5 as you are topstitching the side edges.
Tie the adjustable knot and insert PM2.5 filter for further protection. Complete!
Thank you very much for tuning in. I hope this knowledge will help guide you into making your own and using creativity to get through these challenging times. Stay safe!
Contact our Berkeley location at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to purchase a bandana.
Written by: Van Tran (Manager, Berkeley Store, Topdrawer)