These Lancaster students made their own masks in lockdown and they are incredible

These students are so talented!

Masks have been the hit summer accessory and Lancaster University students have been wearing every single variety, so The Lancaster Tab wanted to showcase different trends in student mask fashion. After reaching out to students, it was clear that the biggest trend is custom homemade masks. So here’s an insight into how students have been making these masks.

Whilst many of us spent lockdown sleeping and doing Zoom quizzes, some students and their families used the time indoors to make their own custom face masks. For those who know their way around a sewing machine or have a precise hand with a needle, the concept sounds simple, however for the rest of us, it’s far from it. 

We asked these Lancaster student mask makers to send us pictures of their interesting designs and for an insight into how they made their masks and we are impressed!

Maisie, first year, Psychology

Maisie said that her homemade masks have sentimental value, she told us: “My Nan has made masks all during lockdown so I knew I wasn’t going to be short when I came here. Here are just a few of her designs.”

It has been great to see the amount of kindness coming out of this trend; people are making masks to protect their friends and family. These small gifts are bringing people together in spite of the unfortunate times we are living through. These masks also use really vibrant material which definitely gives them an individuality so they stand out from the standard blue surgical masks.

Allie, second year, International Business and German

We asked Allie about her mask making process and she had a larger scale approach and used a sewing machine to make loads of masks. She said: “I made some of my own masks for me and my family at the start of lockdown, it took me five days, but I did make a grand total of 15 masks, each customised to the wearer!”

Custom masks allow students to have masks which fit perfectly rather than the one size option offered by most retailers. This means that these masks are more comfortable to wear and can offer greater protection.

Allie explained her method and said: “I used a template from a blog called Jewelpie, however I scaled the template up and down for each family member. It takes four pieces in total, unless you are adding a filter (I used hoover bags and cut two pieces per mask, one cm smaller than the outer shapes and sewed them along the curved edge). For the main material I used a large piece of thin cotton fabric, but anything that is easy to cut (not stretchy) is easiest to use (you could still use an old t shirt or something else that’s stretchy, its just a little harder to sew with a machine!)”

Anna, third year, Law

Anna told use that she had been using Instagram to sell her custom creations, she said: “I’ve been making them all summer and selling them on @annasatelier11 as my lockdown hobby”.

Anna went on to tell us: “The fabric I’ve used there was actually passed down to me from a family friend who passed away and the lining was old t-shirts to be more sustainable. I made them using a template I made out of cardboard and elastic I found at a local market. I made and sold about 200 over the whole lockdown”.

The homemade option is a lot more sustainable than buying from big fast fashion outlets as makers can use recycled materials by reusing old pieces of clothing. The masks are also washable so they can also be reused which reduces waste from disposable surgical masks.

Phyllis, second year, Law

Phyllis, an Instagram seller we reached out to, said: “I decided to make masks when it became mandatory for everyone to wear it in order to protect themselves and anyone around them and when they go out. And I wanted to represent my culture as well by using fabrics from there (African print).”

Phyllis continued to tell us about the process, which was very similar to the other makers: “With the process, I basically just made a pattern by using paper, and with trial and error I made a sample. With the help of the pattern, I cut out the first sample with a lining and sewn it together with a sewing machine and used elastic to.”

Buying from these sellers is a great way to support small businesses and individuals in a time of economic uncertainty for many people. Independent sellers can be easily found with just a little searching on both Instagram and Depop. 

So many students are making masks for other people and some are creating a small income from their homemade creations. There’s so many different possible approaches to their construction and they are so individual, creative and unique.

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