Jersey Headband Tutorial


Elastic is now in short supply, and medical workers have noted that their ears cannot support masks all the time. The elastic is rubbing them raw, or the cartilage in their ears is breaking down and folding.

A cotton-Lycra jersey headband is like a wide, athletic headband for a mask — it can be worn low on the neck or above a bun/pony tail, or anywhere in between. It’s at least 2 inches wide, so it distributes the weight and tension to the entire skull instead of just on the ears. Think of it as a yoga waistband for a mask.

The problem with this is not all knit fabrics are suitable for this application. The fabric must have excellent recovery and 4 way stretch, so that the mask fits tightly to the wearer’s face. Continue reading “Jersey Headband Tutorial”

Mask tutorials – UPDATED 2x

Adult Curved Mask COLOR pattern page 1

Adult Curved Mask COLOR pattern page 2

Adult Curved Mask B&W page 1

Adult Curved Mask B&W page 2

Flat Mask cut diagram

Child & Small Adult Mask – one page 

Both Tutorials – EPUB (82 MB)

Both tutorials – PDF (144 MB)

These are all Dropbox files. They’re all open for use, and I only ask attribution if you use any of this. No commercial use, please. Give these away, don’t be a profiteer.

Print the mask images at 100% on US letter or 100%, no scaling. Just cut them out around the edges. Use a straight edge (on the straight lines) if you need it. They will cut straight with a rotary cutter.

Final child & small adult masks are posted. There is no way to make a PM2.5 fit in a smaller mask, and cutting one destroys its structural integrity. Smaller lungs don’t have as much sucking power, so using something like a vacuum bag is likely to make breathing too difficult for small people. Therefore, don’t make a pocketed lining. Just cut and sew the lining exactly like the front. With interfacing or interlining, the mask is 3 layers. And if you have a vulnerable child, stay home as much as possible.

The child and small adult masks are sized for children above about age 5.

The tutorials are long, but detailed. They’re both beginner sewing projects; the flat mask is more beginner than the curved mask.

The flat mask can be shortened on both dimensions for smaller faces. Just try to keep the proportions. The pleats will need to be smaller for a smaller mask.

If you would prefer more pleats or knife pleats, you can use this tutorial.

Mask Patterns

Right click to download, or click & hold. Distribute, remix, don’t sell them. These work with the previous instructions, found here.

Smaller adult and older child version
Print at 100% scale, on 8.5×11 inch paper.
If you’re using A4, just print at 100% & measure the image to ensure it is to size.
Smaller Adult and older child version
Print at 100% scale, on 8.5×11 inch paper.
If you’re using A4, just print at 100% & measure the image to ensure it’s to size.
Adult version
Print at 100% scale, on 8.5×11 inch paper.
If you’re using A4, just print at 100% & measure the image to ensure it’s to size.
Adult Version
Print at 100% scale, on 8.5×11 inch paper.
If you’re using A4, just print at 100% & measure the image to ensure it’s to size.
Rectangular, pleated version. Easiest for novice sewists.
Use the measurements as noted.

Fabric masks & utility

Let’s get the data out there:
A cotton mask provides between 60-70% of the protection of a hospital, disposable mask. A single layer cotton mask catches about 50% of .2-1 micron droplets and particles, and most of 5-10 micron particles, which is significantly more than catching none because you’re barefaced.

There’s a big hole in the disposable mask supply chain right now, but case transmission will increase while we’re waiting for shipments. Thus, some protection is better than none, and protection that can be cleaned and reused is better than continuing to use masks that now themselves harbor a major quantity of germs, both viral and bacterial.

A cotton mask also slows *transmission* because the mask catches a person’s cough, so there’s less aerosolized goop being pushed into the air. Most of the aerosolized transmission of viruses between people comes when someone coughs; those droplets are usually around 5-10 microns (because the virus comes out of our throats coated in spit and crud, not by itself).

A couple layers of cotton does catch spit particles as they leave our mouths. On that side, a cotton mask is a wearable handkerchief, and that’s a good thing, because elbow coughing practice is imperfect.

And since the data is starting to show that we have a lot of asymptomatic/covert carriers in the population, making a 2-4 layer cotton mask part of everyone’s regular kit means reducing the transmission rates when we must interact.

DIY fabric masks can also be built to accommodate PM2.5 (2.5 micron particulates) inserts. These inserts are effective filters, and if they’re inside a washable, changeable fabric mask, they stay effective longer.

Ideally, yes, we’d be using disposable hospital masks and well fitted respirators. We left ideal about 4 weeks behind us.

We need to preserve the remaining stock of disposables for actual sterile conditions, while still trying to lower the rate of transmission. It’s better to send a patient home with 3 cloth masks they can wear to protect those around them than to send them with nothing.

Cloth masks are considered a last resort, and yes, we are at the Last Resort.

If you don’t want to make masks, then don’t. But don’t get complacent.

The CDC is telling hospitals to use bandanas because we’re in Crisis Capacity now. And we can do better than that.

What’s the worst case? We use up stash, get that stash onto people’s faces so the disposable masks can be preserved for times when there is no substitute. It’s stash — it’s not like we were using it for anything anyway.


Mask Tutorials – beta version, no pictures yet

Curved Mask


⅓ yard/meter of tightly woven cotton fabric, at least 44 inches/110 cm wide or 1 fat quarter yard of quilting fabric

⅓ yard/meter of medium weight interfacing, 20 inches/50 cm wide (in US, Pellon 950F ShirTailor if available; in EU/UK, Vlieseline Fusible H250) or polypropylene tearaway stabilizer, if available. If no interfacing is available, you can just cut an extra outer layer from your cotton fabric.

20 inches/50 cm of narrow elastic, 1/8th inch/.5 cm, or ¼ inch/1 cm. 2-3 mm round elastic may also be used, or fabric tubes for ties, if needed

Pattern (TO BE ADDED — print at 100% scale, print to card stock if you have it)

Sharp scissors and/or rotary cutter and cutting surface

Iron and heat-safe surface

Thread, needle, sewing machine

Twist tie/wire tie, preferably unused, or a 3 inch/10cm piece of lightweight, non-rusting wire (optional)

Bodkin or safety pin or a knitting needle & painter’s tape


1. Wash the cotton fabrics with hot water and detergent. Do not use fabric softener. If possible, dry in a tumble dryer at highest heat setting. If a dryer is not available, iron the fabric dry on the highest setting possible. When the fabric is dry, iron it flat, then fold it in half the short way. Press this fold. Open it up, bring the ends to the newly made press line, and press the folds at either end.

2. Cut out your pattern, using paper scissors or a craft knife.

3. Place the pattern pieces on the fabric, orienting the grain arrows to be parallel with either the cut edges or the pressing lines. It is okay to cut the curved mask on the cross grain or the straight grain. Trace, cut.

4. Do not press the interfacing, but fold it so you can cut two mirroring copies of the front of the mask.

5. Align the cut interfacing on the front mask pieces, making sure the nose and chin curves match. The chin curve is more pronounced than the nose curve. If using a fusible interfacing, make sure the rough, glue side is towards the WRONG side of the outer cotton fabric. Cover this pair with a scrap of fabric or a press cloth, and press the warm iron down on the paired pieces for 30 seconds. Ensure adhesion, or press again until the interfacing is glued to the outer fabric.

6. Pair the outer pieces of the interfaced mask with the center curve aligned, and nose curve matching nose curve. Stitch with a sewing machine ⅜”/1 cm seam allowance. Press the seam open.

7. Take the middle sized lining piece and fold a ⅜”/1 cm hem on the wider, straight side, towards the wrong side of the fabric. Stitch.

8. Repeat for the smallest lining piece.

9. Lay the smallest lining piece on the work surface with the turned side down. Lay the middle sized piece on top so the hems overlap. Pin together or baste, with the pin on the *right* side of the work.

10. Lay the right side of the largest lining piece on the smaller pieces, aligning the nose and chin curves. Stitch the curved edge together, with a ⅜”/1 cm seam allowance. Press the seam open.

11. Pin the outer fabric piece to the lining piece, right sides together, matching the seam line and the nose and chin curves. Stitch the top (nose) with a ⅜”/1 cm seam allowance. Repeat for lower edge (chin).

12. Place the center of the wire tie on the upper, nose edge seam allowance. Switch your machine to a wide zigzag and sew over the twist tie, in the seam allowance.

13. Turn the mask right side out and press.

14. Return your machine to straight stitch. Top stitch the upper and lower edges, about ½ cm from the edge. Set aside.

15. Lay the casings wrong side up. Fold one short end 1 cm to the back, then the other. Compare to the open edges of the mask and adjust the folds as needed. Press.

16. Fold the casing in half the long way and press.

17. Pin the casing to mask, right side of casing to lining fabric. Stitch together with a scant 1 cm/ ⅜” seam allowance. Wrap the casing around the raw edge, finger press the raw edge under, and sew. Repeat on the other end. DON’T sew over the open ends! This is like wrapping bias tape around a raw edge, just not cut on the bias.

18. Thread 10 inches/25 cm of elastic into your bodkin, or run a safety pin through it, or tape it to the end of a knitting needle. Push the elastic through the casing, then knot the ends together, as close to the ends as you can. Turn the elastic until you bury the knot inside the casing. Repeat for the other side.

19. These are sized to take a PM2.5 insert. If you have one, now is the time to put it inside. You’ll wiggle it through the open slot on the lining; Your goal is to get it inside, as flat and straight as possible.


If you don’t have PM2.5 inserts, you can make an insert for extra filtration. This mask, as is, likely filters 60-75% of aerosolized particles, depending on fabric. An insert made of 2-3 layers of polypropylene stabilizer (used for machine embroidery) or 1-2 layers of heavy duty interfacing, such as Pellon 926 extra-firm (used in purse making) or 2-3 layers of S-13 Vlieseline Heavy Duty interlining will provide some extra filtration, though at expense of ease of breathing. The best mask is the one you will wear, so if it’s too hard to breathe, remove the insert. You can also consider cotton quilt batting, or when it becomes available, two layers of electrostatic polypropylene woven fabric. (That’s the exterior of PM2.5 inserts, and it’s in short supply right now.)

To make an insert, cut multiple copies of the Insert pattern, stack, and zig-zag the edges together. If it’s too thick to breathe comfortably, either skip the insert or make a thinner one. Mark your insert as NOT A PM2.5. That way you won’t rely on it for serious particulate or toxic filtering.

Multiple layer masks:

Some hospitals are asking for 4 layer masks. To make a 4 layer, cut 3 pairs of outer fabric pattern, and one set of lining fabric. Stitch all three pairs of outer fabric together on the curved seam. Lay the 3 outer pieces together, all edges matching, all right side up. Zigzag the edges together, using a 4 mm stitch width, and having the right side of the stitch just at the edge of the piece. Proceed as if the 3 layer piece is one piece.

Flat, pleated mask, no insert

Hand drawn schematic of what you need. This is not my best pattern work.


2 8 inch x 11 inch (20 cm x 28 cm) rectangles of fabric

1 8 inch x 11 inch (20 cm x 28 cm) piece of fusible interfacing

2 3 inch by 6 inch (7.5 cm x 15 cm) rectangles of fabric

20 inches/ 50 cm of narrow elastic

Sewing machine, scissors, iron and board, bodkin, marking tool (marker, chalk, pencil)

1. Align the interfacing on the wrong side of one of the rectangles of fabric (It doesn’t matter which). Press the interfacing onto fabric, using a press cloth as needed. Ensure adhesion without melting the interfacing. If you do melt it, toss that piece of fabric and cut another one.

2. Fold both large rectangles the long way, wrong sides together, align the cut edges, and press. Fold them open.

3. Measure 1 inch /2.5 cm above the fold line and make a tick mark on both sides of the rectangle. Repeat below the fold line. Measure 2 inch and 2 inches above the ticks you just made and make another two ticks on both sides of the rectangle. Repeat below the fold. You should now have 5 tick marks on each side of the rectangle.

4. Turn one rectangle over so the right side of the fabric is up, and make a box pleat, using the 5 tick marks. Bring the line the top ticks makes to the fold line and press. Bring the line the bottom ticks make to the fold line and press. Baste the pleat in place. To baste, you need a threaded hand needle, with thread that contrasts well. Don’t put a knot in the end. Make a few big stitches through the pleats so they stay in place. Don’t knot either end of thread. (You could pin this on the right side, but there will be poking. Basting is less bloody.)

5. Repeat with the other rectangle.

6. Place the two large rectangles right sides together, matching their pleats and edges. Sew both long sides together, using a machine stitch and ⅜”/1 cm seam allowance. Press.

7. Turn this tube right side out. Pull it so the pleats lay straight and press again, paying attention to the sewn edges.

8. Top stitch the two sewn edges, about ½ cm from the edge.

9. Lay the small rectangles wrong side up against the raw ends and fold the extra down to make clean, folded edges. Fold the small rectangles in half and press. Open the center fold, but not the end folds. Stitch across all four folded ends.

10. Lay one small rectangle on one raw end of the larger one, aligning the folded edges and one raw edge. Sew through all the layers with a scant 1 cm seam allowance. Repeat for the other end.

11. Wrap the free edge of the small rectangle around the back and press under 1 cm towards the wrong side. Press, and stitch.

12. Thread 10 inches of elastic on a bodkin, or tape one end to a knitting needle or skewer, and pull the elastic through the casing you just made with the small rectangle. Knot the ends and pull the elastic until the knot is buried inside the mask. Repeat on the other side.

13. You’re done! You have a mask.

If your hospital is asking for 4 layer masks, cut 4 of the large rectangles and sew them together at the edges in pairs, right side to wrong side, and right side to wrong side. Then treat each pair of rectangles like one piece of fabric. (Also, congratulations — this is the technique called flat-lining, and if you can do it with a rectangle, you can do it with anything.)


Hospitals will probably prefer natural or white fabric, just because they will be bleaching them if they’re used inside the hospital. You can use US muslin/UK calico for all parts, if you have it. If not, the next best bet is quilting cotton or percale sheeting.

Try to avoid using synthetic fabrics other than interfacing. They’re harder to clean (think stinky gym clothes) and they’re warmer to wear. They will also melt if subjected to high temperatures, such as those produced by an autoclave or industrial laundry. Since interfacing is fully inside the mask, it will be fine.

You can use polyester thread.

You can recycle tee shirts into masks, both the curved and the flat. Make sure there are no holes in the fabric. You will be using the body and back of the tee, not the sleeves or neckline. Do your best to cut the lining running vertically (from neck to hem) and the outer layer running horizontally (side seam to side seam). Jersey stretches, and a stretchy mask is one that will sag, but jersey stretches differently vertically versus horizontally. If you’re recycling tee shirts, you probably don’t have interfacing at hand, but if you do — even if it’s super light — the interfacing will stabilize and prevent that stretch.

The first mask you make will take forever. Or at least, it will seem like it takes hours. But once you know how it goes together, they’ll take 10 minutes for the flat mask and 20 for the curved.

Mark the nose and chin curves on every piece. They are different, but they’re close enough to easily mix up. Crayola marker washes out. Frixon ink disappears with heat (and reappears with cold). Colored chalk — not dry pastel — washes out.

Red Pepper – Sriracha Hummus Recipe

Per request from Twitter


  • 250 ml water

  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 TB smashed garlic

  • 1 tsp ground cumin (or more, to taste)

  • 1 tsp bouillon powder or Better than Bouillon or cube (chicken, chicken-tomato or vegetable) —
  • CORRECTION: use 1 Tablespoon of bouillon powder/BtB instead (unless you’re on a low sodium diet or really dislike the taste of salty-umami.)

  • 90 grams besan (chickpea) flour

  • 80 gram tahini

  • 2 TB/30 ml lemon juice

  • 2 roasted red peppers (canned is fine, fresh is brilliant)

  • 1-4 TB/ 15-60 grams sriracha
  • Olive oil


  • large sauce pan
  • whisk
  • immersion blender (optional) or cutting board & knife


Bring water to simmer in a larger saucepan.

Whisk in garlic powder/smashed garlic, ground cumin, bouillon.

Gradually add the besan, whisking well.

Whisk until smooth, keep stirring until it bubbles like mud in a hot spring – little explosions every few seconds.

Remove from heat.

Whisk in tahini until combined.

Add 2 roasted red peppers, either chopped very fine or mashed/puréed (or you can use an immersion blender).

Whisk in lemon juice.

Add 15 grams/1 TB of Sriracha; taste. IT WILL GET HOTTER AS IT SETS UP. My personal normal is 30 grams of Sriracha.

Put into a bowl, drizzle with good olive oil. It’s best warm; will keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks, or 2-3 days if kept covered & in the coolest spot available.

Why I’m shifting to Biden

‪(Originally a twitter thread)

At this point, I care way more about Congress, state and local elections. We can’t afford to lose any seats, and we have to flip state houses & governors. We’ve got redistricting coming up. We can’t afford a midterm slump in 2022, either.‬

‪That means we need to have someone good at coalition building, who gets the 50 state strategy. Team player. And that has never been Bernie, not once in his life. It’s not how he works, not how he views politics.‬

Bernie’s a bomb thrower. He’s most effective when he’s on the outside, holding ground for the left flank of the Overton window. He’s only got a 20% pass rate on his legislative amendments, and his amendments were the first to get cut. Doesn’t make him a bad man, just an outsider.‬ (And we need this push from both outside and inside the party.)

‪Historically, and internationally, outsider candidates don’t make good executives, because they’ve spent so much of their time being against the machine, they’ve never learned to operate the machine. And government is an enormous machine that kills when not run well.‬

‪We have lost ground, in terms of rights and civil liberties; in international standing; in our very sense of security. What we all want, at least at an emotional level, is to not have to worry about how our government is fucking over someone.

‪We’re never getting that back.‬

In geriatrics care, the goal when someone checks into a hospital or rehab unit is for the patient to leave with the same level of function.‬
‪That goal is aspirational. Most people do lose some muscle mass, cognitive function, or both. ‬
‪We’ve been in the hospital for 37 months. ‬

‪I wish we could pick back up where we were on January 16, 2017, but there’s a whack of a lot of legislation we have to unpick; we have a massive legislative task in that we have to codify all of the norms we just took for granted.‬
‪And a gigantic criminal investigation.‬
‪And overlapping infrastructure problems.‬

We have lost function, and we have to rebuild it, not just leap over it. We are traumatized. All of us.‬
‪One of the steps for recovery will be if we see justice done, and that’s got to be the biggest question going forward for both candidates.‬
‪We need Truth & Reconciliation, not pretending it didn’t happen.‬

Neither Biden nor Sanders have made strong stands on this, and I don’t actually trust either one to manage it well. Biden’s been mushy, and Bernie is laser focused on pushing onwards.‬
‪But ask anyone who ever tried to push through an injury how that worked.‬

‪It’s like we’re on a remote trail together, us and Bernie & Joe. We rolled our ankle. Bernie keeps telling us there’s a great water fall and first aid station just two hills over; Joe didn’t see us stumble so he’s oblivious. ‬
‪Neither of these are ideal.‬

Bernie’s not wrong — we can’t stay on the trail while we wait for an ankle to heal. We have to go forward to the waterfall & first aid. But we can’t go in the condition we’re in. And it won’t get better pretending it didn’t happen. ‬

But there is an option. There’s a big machine by the side of the trail. Think janky old bulldozer or snowcat, something that Monkeywrenchers have Molotov cocktailed. It’s not in good shape, and Bernie admits that he might know something about those Molotov cocktails.‬ (I’m very specifically talking about Bernie’s antipathy towards the Democratic Party, and my uncertainty of his position on the concept of whether federal law is a ceiling or a floor, and where states and sovereigns come into that.)

But the machine will run. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to be dangerous. We need it to do things it wasn’t intended to do, things it couldn’t do before the damage. Joe’s pretty sure he can get it running, and has driven one before. ‬

‪(Personally, I want any of the people with the first aid kits, but y’all have been voting them off the island.)‬
‪So the question is: we have this machine. It will not run right, not right now. It’s been badly damaged, too.‬
‪Who is better at driving it?‬

At this point, I think that’s Joe. I’m not happy about it, and we will ALL have to hold him in the fire until he promises (and follows through with) criminal investigations, but we know we can get that from him, because now’s he’s got an M4A plan. It’s not great, but it’s better than it was.‬ He can be moved.

‪Bernie, on the other hand? It’s taken 4.5 years to get him to make a mealy mouthed reprimand of his supporters. He’s never apologized for the rape fantasy article. (That needs to happen.) He sees race & misogyny as offshoots of class warfare, & so minimizes them, because he’s never experienced them.‬
(And his failure to reprimand his supporters is strategic — please see this article that explains the 30% strategy.)

And recently? His attacks on the media can be sung to the Fake News tune. The automated, small dollar donations are a big problem. The not a PAC but acts like a PAC (Our Revolution) is a big problem. And the fact that Russia sees him as a chaos agent & Trump wants to run against him… Big problems.‬

‪Simple rule of thumb here: if Trump wants it, it’s probably bad for democracy and everyone who isn’t named Trump.‬
‪More importantly: I’m not seeing local & state election coat tails with Bernie. His movement isn’t paying attention to District Attorney elections or State house reps.‬

And his supporters are not voting in down ballot races — we saw this in 2016, where a county would have 500K presidential votes and 150K for County Board of Supervisors. There was a correlation. (If you need to understand why County government matters — please go watch Trials of Gabriel Fernandez.)‬

Local government matters WAY, WAY, WAY more to daily quality of life and your access to your civil rights. Your county clerk determines if, how & where you vote. Your County Sheriff sets policing policy & culture, because most cops get their first job at the county level. (See: Joe Arpaio & Maricopa County)‬

Gentrification? That’s your town & county giving incentives & declaring blight. Churches proselytizing to your kids at school? That’s your school board. Potholes? City Council. Access to vaccines without insurance? County Public Health department. This stuff matters. ‬

And down ballot often means voting for someone who is kinda moderate. Local elections are not the place to trot out your purity pony, because seriously, whooping cough doesn’t give a single fuck about IMF policy, weed legalization, or even property tax structure.

Bernie would have been okay in 2016, because we were in a better place then. The fact that he hasn’t recognized how much damage we’ve taken since then is one reason he’s never been my candidate.
Joe does realize it, and that knowledge is unspeakably valuable.

I might change my mind, but here’s what it would take:‬
‪Bernie takes a strong stand on his supporters being abusive. He would need to get very granular – knock it off with the snakes, for example.
‪Bring Warren — and her plans — on board. Because Bernie has ideas, not plans.‬ He needs a detail person.
More listening, less shouting.
That last? I should also ask for a pony.

Open beta call, for Rebellion readers

There’s a new story coming out soon that’s something that happened off-screen for the focal characters, and is a bridge to the next series (November).

It’s novella length, and spoiler-free if you’ve made it into Wisdom’s Fire. If you want to see it in embryonic form, come tag me on twitter at @CZEdwards, or leave a comment with your email address. I’ve got moderation on, so I’m the only one who will see your email address. Or email me at czedwards @

This sneak peek will end… probably soon. No later than middle of July 2019. Therefore, if you wanna see how the sausage is made, now is the time.

After Exit: Sick Systems & Repairing the Damage

Originally a Twitter thread, found here. Minor editing, spelling & reformatting in this version.

Putting on my behaviorist hat for a thread. Our popular narrative arcs tell us that the story ends when we successfully escape the monster, defeat the corrupt government, flee the abuse, walk free of oppression.

This is where we end stories.

Our narratives lie to us. We are not made whole when the narrative ends. The conclusion of one lifecycle of narrative spawns the next. We move from the resolution into the next origin story, and as we proceed into the next cycle, we carry with us the damage, and skills, we gained in our previous cycle.

If you walked away from something that keeps people trapped in dysfunction, congratulations! Maybe you survived your parents’ divorce. Maybe you survived them staying together. Someone cruel who exercised their power over you, in college or a job. Your own marriage. A church. Continue reading “After Exit: Sick Systems & Repairing the Damage”

Cardiac Cells and How Communities Can Learn to Beat Again.

Expanding on a twitter thread found here:

Let’s talk about cardiac cells.

You know we can grow them in a Petri dish? When they’re alone, they just twitch. But if they’re touching? They start beating together. It’s What They Do.

Hearts are simple.

They’re just muscle pumps.

It’s why we can yank & reinstall if we have parts.

Cardiac cells are kinda cool because of the ion channel stuff, but they’re really basic, and there’s a reason they’re early in fetal development. They’ve got to get organized early, but when a “fetal heartbeat” is detectable? It’s a streak of flutter. It fits on a pinky nail.

With lots of room to spare. Continue reading “Cardiac Cells and How Communities Can Learn to Beat Again.”