How to make a mask from a bicycle jersey

Even as we were deep into home quarantine, it became clear that our family of four was going to need a lot of masks for school, work, athletics, and other limited interactions, or I was going to have to do more laundry (FYI masks should be washed after each use).

In the beginning, when there were few masks available, I decided rather than spending money on masks that I wasn’t sure would fit, I would make masks from clothing that had been outgrown or worn out.

Wearing a mask made from a worn PMC t-shirt.

As our student-athletes headed back to school, and the playing field, I found myself considering if I could use the same pattern to make masks from athletic material. Specifically, old bike jerseys.

A novice seamstress, I quickly learned the pattern and process were basically the same, but I needed to use needles designed for stretch material, and polyester thread.

The patterns and colors of a bicycle jerseys offer fun design opportunities. Well-worn jerseys can be soaked in Oxiclean to remove residual stinkiness.
This is the pattern I use for all of our masks. The curves at the end will meet to become the front of the mask. Using poster board let me cut away at the pattern to adjust it to our liking. The measurements shown are for the middle (horizontally) and then from the top of the nose to the bottom of the chin.
A good pair of scissors make a big difference.
Run a seam along the sides – keeping the top and bottom open.
Bring together the seams to start forming the mask – this is my favorite part of the pattern as it is much easier/faster than other options I’ve tried.
Sew along the top and bottom, leaving a gap to allow you to turn it right side out.
After it is turned right side out, you can decide which side will be showing, although the masks could be considered reversible.
Sew along the top and bottom of the mask, folding in the edges of the opening to close.
Create channels for the ear loops by folding over the ends, using the lines as a guide to keep them even-ish)
For the ear loops, I’ve been using recycled t-shirt yarn from the Fox Yarn Company instead of elastic, mostly because it allows the masks to be adjustable and washable.
A square knot allows each person to adjust the sizing. For a cleaner look, trim the ends and slide the knots into the channel.
The athletic masks fit well, dry quickly and pass Bill Nye’s “candle test.”
Every mask made from a bicycle jersey is unique!

In addition to bicycle clothing, I’ve made masks from old swim trunks and running shorts. The key is finding fabric that is breathable but not too thin.

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