By Rachel Puryear
Ladies, you have the makings of easy yet comfortable face masks right in your own lingerie drawer. Bra cups are already shaped similarly to medical masks. They have built-in, adjustable straps – and they are readily available! The cups feel nice and soft against your skin. They are pretty, too.
New guidelines from the CDC are recommending that everyone wear face coverings when going out in public, in order to reduce the spread of the virus from people who may not yet know that they are infected. Since medical grade masks are in short supply and need to be reserved for medical personnel, everyone else is advised to make homemade, improvised masks – out of clothing, towels, and other cloth materials.
Chances are, you have an extra bra that has perfectly good cups, but that you’re not wearing. Maybe it looked cute in the dressing room but was uncomfortable to wear all day. Maybe you ordered it online and it didn’t quite fit right, but you never got around to returning it. Or maybe an underwire is starting to pop out and you were getting shanked in the tit (I hate that). In any event, you probably have a bra that you can convert to better use to help keep people around you healthier.
Even better, you can make two masks out of one bra. So you can either make an extra one for yourself, or make one for you and another one for someone else. I made a matching “hers and his” set. 🙂
Here’s How to Do It:
A basic, inexpensive bra will do. The one I used has a thin foam lining which worked well, because it was just thick enough to have some firmness and keep a shape; while also being thin enough to breathe easily through, and is also flexible to conform to a face. You will need a basic sewing kit, and preferably some clips or at least some pins (though the kit should contain both). The sewing required to make the bra cup mask is not difficult at all – if I can do it, then most people probably can, my sewing skills are pretty basic.
The first step is to wash the bra. Then, cut the cup separator (the little strip between the cups) to separate the cups. Then, cut the hook flaps off of both ends, as you will not need them, and so that they are not hanging off. Be sure not to cut either of the shoulder straps. Also, leave the rest of the side strip (the part that wraps around your sides) in place. Like so:
Then, take one of the cups, and adjust the strap so that it will fit as snugly as possible around your head. Pull the cup down over your head; so that the strap goes around the back of your head, the top part of the cup (that would rest over your cleavage) now rests over your nose, and the underwire (if it has one) rests under your chin (the underwire should actually make it hold quite nicely just under your chin, and keep it from moving around too much). The cup is designed to conform to your breasts, and it should do the same over your face. Like so:
Once the bra cup is over your face, there will likely be some extra room, and it will be loose on one side because it is made for the anatomy of your bust and not for your face. But, this will be easily corrected. On the loose side, fold the cup over towards the strap so that the cup is now enclosed over your face. The cup on the loose side will also need to be attached to the strap so that there are no gaps. The cup should then fit more snugly over your face, without being tight. Once you have folded the cup to where it is enclosed and fits snugly and is attached to the strap on the loose side, use clips to hold these folds in place. If you do not have clips, use pins – but be careful with those, since you are working near your eyes. Like so:
Then, using the sewing kit, sew the folds shut, and then sew the loose side of the bra cup to the strap on that side. Do a bit of trial and error, trying the mask on again and seeing where adjustments might be needed, and making the mask more snug wherever it is needed and closing up any gaps.
Even at its smallest, the bra strap may fit loosely around your head (many readers will wear large bust sizes). To make it more snug, you can fold the side strip (that would normally wrap around your sides) and sew it smaller.
For reference, the bra I used is a C cup size, 38 bust size. It was large for my face and needed to be folded smaller, but fit my husband’s face pretty well without much adjustment needed at all (I only needed to fasten part of the cup to the strap to even it out on one side – you will see what I mean when you do it and put the mask on). The side strip needed to be shortened a little so it would fit snugly on me, but just fit for my husband. When the mask fits comfortably without gaps, and is attached to the strap on both sides so that it stays in place over your face, then you are ready to wear it outside.
This was super easy, I was able to make and adjust the whole thing in less the 20 minutes. This is waaaayyyyyyyy more comfortable and easier to breathe through than a painter mask, cloth towel or bandana over the face, and much more breathable, too. It also stays in place very well.
I also made a second one for my loving husband, Kwame. He had refused to wear the painter masks or a bandana, as he found those difficult to breathe with. But he likes the bra cup mask, and finds it much easier to breathe with.
I dare say, these bra cup masks make quite the fashion statement, in addition to slowing the spread of germs. If you make your own bra mask, please feel free to send me the photos. 🙂
Here’s a quote for the day: “My ideology is health, public health, and science.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci
Thank you my lovely readers for reading! If this helped you, please share. Be safe, my friends, and stay healthy. Try to help others if you are able, and ask for help if you need it. We will all get through this together. xoxo