Almost no-sew face mask for kids

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a helluva time finding a face mask that fits my kids. The combo of big heads, fidgety fingers, and slippery hair is hard to beat. One thing I have an abundance of, however, are leggings with knee holes, and an overly wild imagination that will certainly eventually land me in jail or at very least, lost in the woods.

In a lucky turn of events, today’s wild idea actually turned into something pretty cool, an almost no-sew face mask that fits both of my kids pretty well.


First things first. This mask is jankety AF, okay? I know this, but I also know that in the next few days our state will require masks in public, and I want to be able to grab a donut sometime in 2020 without being arrested. The goal today was to create something that stays on, is breathable, and can be washed with ease, which are all boxes this mask checks. It was also created out of things I had in the house, which was key for abiding by the Stay Home Stay Safe orders that are still in effect for who knows how long.

Now that we’re clear I’m not trying to solve the global PPE crisis, here’s how you make an almost no-sew face mask out of leggings.

Step 1. Find ill-fitting leggings. I don’t know if this is science, but my nearly 7 year old’s head is the same size as her 5T leggings, so shoot for a pair of pants that is not only holey, but also smaller than their current size. Extra points if it they aren’t horribly stained on the upper thigh area.


Step 2. Fold them sideways, then cut them above the knee into shorts. The mask is made from the part of the pants that would cover the side of their upper thigh, so the tag should be in the back (on the right on this picture). I’m sure there’s a sewing term for what this kind of fold is, but I’ve done enough homeschooling today and refuse to look it up.


Step 3. On one of the legs, make a one inch cut about 7 inches below the waist band. This will eventually be the strap that gets tied at the base of the neck, so if you mess this part up it’s no big deal. You’ll just have to sew the straps that tie around the neck on after.


Step 4. Make one inch cut on the other side, and then cut upwards toward the band.


Step 5. Repeat the process so both sides have been cut and you have this cute little elephanty looking fella. Remember this is only one leg of your leggings (this is only important if you, like me, are using scissors that can barely cut paper, let alone several layers of cloth).


Step 6. About half an inch down from the very first cut you made, cut around the circumference of the pant leg.


Step 7. At this point, it’s time to liberate the mask from its conjoined twin, a.k.a., the other pant leg. You’ll do this by cutting around the band until you’re left with something that resembles these two pieces.


Step 8. Okay, by now you might have noticed I didn’t measure the mask before cutting anything because I’m a #rebel/#poorplanner. Because of this, the mask was at this point was super long, but no worries! I just folded it up a bit before tacking the interior pocket (a smaller rectangle scrap of fabric) on. Oh that’s right, it has an interior pocket for a filter because we fancy. Also snip the small band (NOT the elastic band) so you can tie the mask at the base of their neck.


Step 9. It’s time to sew that bish. Sew along the bottom and sides, folding the mask over the pocket. Folding is optional, but it looked better than when I didn’t do it, so I’ll let you make the call. Leave the top edge of the pocket open for aforementioned filter.


Step 10. Ta-da! Pop that sucker on your kid and force them to model it because deep down you’re an aspiring stage mom. Really make ’em smile with their eyes, since nobody can see those cute little germ blow holes grinning and bearing it.


So there you have it. It works GREAT on my older kid, and the youngest tolerates it. The stretch of the elastic band makes it so you can angle in a way that keeps it on. If your kid has enough hair to wear it in a bun, putting the band above the bun really keeps ‘er snug. Final measurements make it so that the mask is about 5-6″ long by about 4″ tall, which fits the faces of my average sized nearly 7 year-old, and my large-headed 4 year-old.

This almost no-sew kid’s mask is also easy to wash, environmentally friendly, and uses materials most parents already have in the house, which is pretty fantastic if you ask me.

Have you found kid masks that fit, are affordable, and available? Let me know!


What We Mean When We Say Enjoy Every Second

If one were ever inclined to purposefully turn a barely sane mother-on-the-verge into a tornado of rage, they must only utter the words, “Enjoy every second.”

This message is treasured by experienced mothers as if it were a cure-all salve made from unicorn tears. When delivered, it often comes with a knowing smile, and gentle pat on the arm. “Enjoy every second, dear,” says the Grandma at Target while your kid is standing in the checkout isle, pants around their ankles, screaming because you won’t buy them a bottle of rainbow vodka, and the Richard Simmons workout DVD they are white-knuckle clutching in their angry little fist.

Having someone tell me to enjoy every second used to make me want to Hulk-out. It is literally impossible to enjoy every second, and on that merit alone, it’s a dumb thing to say. So much of parenting is tedious and tiring and frustrating and NOT enjoyable in any way shape or form, and anyone who puts that kind of unrealistic pressure on me is obviously clinically insane, and is instantly discredited.

Or at least, that’s how I used to feel.

And then I had a second kid.

Holy time warp, Batman.

Getting my daughter from birth to two and a half, when her brother was born, felt like an eternity. Actually it felt like five or six eternities, because every step was foreign. Every move was questioned, every decision scruitinized. Every cry she let out (and there were a whole metric shit ton of them), was agonized over because I never knew how to handle them, nor could I ever pin point the cause of them.

Having someone casually suggest I enjoy ANY second of that made me want to throat punch them.

But since the birth of her brother, it’s all I can do to NOT focus on these fleeting seconds.

Since his birth almost 10 months ago, not only has he nearly turned into a toddler, but my daughter is now a little girl. Her body is long and lean, and capable of carrying her own things. Her brain is quick and sharp, constantly suprising me with how much she knows. There is not one ounce of baby left in her, and only the teeniest bit of toddler lingering in her graceful movements and wild laughter.

Seeing this makes me acutely aware of how quickly these 10 months have gone. It makes it easier to sit and stare, while my son naps in my lap, trying to etch every lash, every wrinkle, every puff of tiny baby breath into my brain, because I know in another blink of an eye, he will be a boy.

Knowing this, and watching it all happen with lightening speed, I now understand why strangers tell you to enjoy every second.

Parenting is hard, and parenting tiny humans, especially in the beginning, is dock-a-spaceship-on-a-satellite hard (that’s probably a thing, right?). Even if your focus isn’t on “perfection” merely surviving early parenthood is hard enough. Babies, it turns out, are assholes a lot of the time! Spouses can be super freaking annoying about alllllll kinds of things when you’re learning how to parent together. Parents and in laws can cross every boundary you can think of (well, maybe not every one), and make you want to rip out whatever hair hasn’t already fallen out. Work! Pets! That rabbit turd of a man Trump!

All of this is normal (except Trump), and all of this is hard. But all of this serves as a distraction from the magic that is seeing your baby turn into a human in just a few short months.

Of course if the old woman in the checkout line could corner you for 15 minutes, and your half-naked toddler would stop screaming about the Richard Simmons workout DVD so that you could actually hear her quiet wisdom, she’d tell you all of this. But she only has one second of your attention, which is why she condenses it down to three words.

Enjoy every second. Because damn, does it go by fast.