DEAR SUN SPOTS: Please print the pattern and directions for face masks that we can make at home.

— Maryann, no town

ANSWER: We all want to help with preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in some way. These masks are a barrier that’s better than having nothing and I want to be sure you understand that they aren’t a magic bullet. You still must take every precaution by social distancing, frequent hand washing and using sanitizer, and keeping your hands off your face. If you have even very mild respiratory symptoms, stay home.

That being said, Fabric Warehouse ( in Auburn has a YouTube video and is selling kits containing precut materials that can be ordered online.

Joann Fabrics in Topsham (373-1465) and Auburn (783-1066), also has an online tutorial for face masks, along with other information:

Joann’s also offers free mask-making kits with precut materials to make six masks that you can then bring back to the store to donate. Order online or by phone for curbside service. Joann’s will donate the masks to local hospitals.

Facemask Instructions: Materials needed: 1/8 to 1/4-inch flat elastic and 100% cotton fabric purchased within the past year and never used. Wash and dry fabric (without fragrance or dyes) prior to sewing. One adult mask requires two 9- by 6-inch rectangles of fabric and two 7-inch pieces of elastic. One yard of 44-inch wide fabric yields 12 to15 masks. You need 7.5 yards of elastic for 25 masks (14 inches per mask).

Put right sides of fabric together. Cut 9- by 6-inch (adult) or 7.5- by 5-inch (child). Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back. Sew across the top of the mask to the next corner. Place elastic with edge out. Sew to next corner and sew in other end of the same elastic. Sew across bottom leaving about 1½ to 2 inches open. Stop. Turn inside out.

Pin three tucks, going in same direction, on each side of the mask. Sew around edge of mask twice.

Instructions for homemade face mask without elastic

Materials needed as above. Substitute ½ or 7/8-inch bias tape or make ties from strips of fabric 2 inches wide by 16 inches long.

One adult mask requires two 9- by 6-inch rectangles fabric and four 16-inch pieces bias tape or fabric ties (64 inches total per mask). You need 21 1/3 yards of bias tape for 12 masks.

Place right sides of cotton fabric together and measure as above. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew around the edges of the fabric leaving about 1½ to 2 inches open. Turn inside out.

Pin three 1/2-inch tucks on each side of the mask, as above.

Make ties using bias tape or fabric. Stitch bias tape closed or fold fabric in half, turn under ¼ inch on each long side and iron in place. Stitch long edges closed.

Pin one tie at each corner and sew around the edge of the mask twice, catching the bias tape as you go.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].



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