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How to Make a Face Mask

 
pollinator
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Nicole: this is the style I use also! Soooo much better than the pleated for wearability and comfort.

I adapted mine from the two ear loops to a single head loop - not only vastly better fitting if you have tiny ears (prevents gaping at the sides); but allows for single handed contagion free "dropping" of the mask when it is not needed. Simply remove the top of head portion and it freely dangles from the portion on the back off your neck.

This eliminates the need to ever touch the actual mask. In this heat, it can be a blessed relief (especially when errands require multiple stops) to not wear it in the car; and no worry about hand /face contamination fiddling with it. The lack of ear stress and tangling in glasses or hearing aids is another giant plus!
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Lorinne Anderson
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As to the "fashion statement"...Oh yes! Heck we have lost most of our facial expression so why NOT have your mask "speak" for you!

These are just a few of the multitude of colors, patterns, and characters I "carry" to give away.

My goal is to change the mask "narrative" from negative to positive - the satisfaction of seeing someone's eyes light up when the find THE mask that "speaks" to them, and it is a gift from a perfect stranger is incredibly heartwarming!

(no, I do not sew - I get these thru a local mother/daughter team...)
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I also did another round of mask-making this past weekend, as it seems we are going to be wearing masks for the long haul.

The first mask I made, a fitted one like those shown recently, was good, fit everyone well, but I continue to have glasses-fogging problems. (the pleated masks, btw, got a down-vote from my entire sample here, so those got thrown in the rework pile). All the quick-fixes for fogging don't seem to work or involve things I don't have access to, and right now it is winter here and it seems like my glasses are in a perma-fog. So I went looking for a solution.

This pattern turned out to be perfect, easy to wear, easy to breathe in, and even better, FOG FREE. After I made one to test out the pattern I was able to go back and "rehabilitate" the pleated masks and tie masks that didn't work out from previous rounds. (being a good Permie, of course I saved them for future use). Pattern was indeed quick and easy.
A note about the nose- two of the reworked masks had wire in the nose and I needed to go take them out, it just didn't work with the wire in there. So plus, no wire needed.
My husband has a rather broad face and the L was good for him, my face is narrower and the M was good.
The only caveat I would say is this: sew in the top loop of the elastic (or stretchy fabric- I used some t-shirt yarn for knitting) but DON'T sew in the bottom. Only do that after you've measured your person and made sure it will fit. And if you are using a softer fabric (I used an old bandanna as the tester, which was really soft and worn in) it definitely has to be well fitted.
 
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A friend just gave me a mask to reverse engineer with an extra gusset at the bottom to tuck under the chin which she has found very comfortable on her face, but is made out of unknown materials.

I'm really pleased that there are lots of different patterns coming out as faces can be quite different and there's no reason to assume that if the first mask you try is uncomfortable/claustrophobic/steams-your-glasses that all masks will do so. Apparently someone's come up with a plastic insert that helps hold the mask fabric out from your face more, to help some people. I'm not advocating more plastic in our world - but if it makes it possible for another 5% of people to wear a mask comfortably without messing with it defeating its purpose, I will not object to those who need it, using it. The person who told me about it implied it was a washable, multi-use device, but I haven't seen it myself.

Normally, anything made of fabric that gets sold in Canada is supposed to have a label stating its contents. Somehow masks being sold in public places aren't receiving that scrutiny. I'm OK with it being a paper label in the package, and I'm OK with home-made masks makers just telling people what they've used because its a direct sale, but the mask my friend gave me seems to say nothing and there seems to be a layer between two fabric layers and we've no clue.
 
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At the fabric store this week, I was talking with the shop keeps about lots of things, and masks came up.

Talked about different kinds of fabric being used, including fusible interfacing.  And the shop gets a lot of feedback about what masks people like.  The cotton and linen masks seem to be most comfortable.  During the summer, having a lighter cotton "lawn" (whatever that is) inside and a quilting cotton outside is the most comfortable.  They anticipate that during the winter, a flannel inside with a quilting cotton outside will be popular.  

The fusible interfacing, rayon, bamboo rayon, and other synthetics are least comfortable and some people have complained about having extra sweating, skin rash, or breathing problems with these masks - especially after washing.  They want to wear masks, can't find natural masks, so they go to the fabric store to get materials that are safer for their body.
 
Tereza Okava
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Having gone through "the winter of the mask" (spring just sprang this week) I can definitely concur.
I have a few of those synthetic fabric "buff" neckwarmer things that I use for running or athletic activities. All the rest of our masks, minus a few surgical masks made of non-woven fabric, are 100% cotton, mostly old bandanna type fabric, a few have quilting flannel lining.  
The synthetic ones were not only bad for ventilation but also got SMELLY! Even in the cold! I was amazed. The cotton/flannel ones were nice during the winter, honestly, when I was out walking the dog in the freezing cold at 7pm. In fact, I don't know how I lived in Upstate NY and northern Japan without wearing a mask on cold days (and nights).
 
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My favorite mask I made has soft swaddling blanket cloth by my face, with a layer of thin knit wool (from an old shirt) in the middle, and quilting cotton on the outside. I the wool really wicks the moisture away nicely, and the quilting cotton on the outside makes it nice and stiff so it doesn't stick to my nose when I breath, making me sneeze.
 
Jay Angler
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r ranson wrote:

They want to wear masks, can't find natural masks, so they go to the fabric store to get materials that are safer for their body.

The problem still exists that some of those fabrics - like flannel for pj's - may be treated with chemicals for fire-resistance etc. I would still want to wash the new fabric at least once before sewing.
Nicole Alderman wrote:

the wool really wicks the moisture away nicely

I'm glad you've tested that. I was thinking I'd like to try some out of wool, since my "old, trustworthy" flannel supply is getting low.  I can't try it on the next batch as the friend they're for is allergic to some wools.
 
r ranson
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I couldn't resist.  

 
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I found these on Amazon randomly today.... Plastic/silicone thingies that keep your mask off your face. I wonder if they might make masks more comfortable for those who find having something  directly against their mouth/nose uncomfortable? You might even be able to integrate them into a home made mask to make something that stays off the face and avoid the potential "plastic is poking me in the face" feeling.

https://www.amazon.ca/HAMILO-Face-Mask-Bracket-10Pcs/dp/B08J8GGFNC/

They are advertised to protect your lipstick, which I find hilarious... One advantage of wearing masks IMO is how many people have stopped wearing makeup.

Of course, Amazon, so random import, who knows the quality, but I saw a few different options.
 
r ranson
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I love all the different types.
 
Jay Angler
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r ranson wrote:I love all the different types.

I agree - and it's important to try different types if the ones you're wearing aren't comfy! If you feel like you're constantly having to fiddle with your mask, there's a good chance you should try a different style.

Three comments about the most recent video:
1. Some of us with skinny, sharp noses and glasses, seem to do better with a bit of wire (a plastic coated twist tie is often enough). If you were to slide one through the hole the lady left for turning the mask right-side out, you could easily position it and use the edge stitching to hold it into place.

2. Although you can tell "inside" vs "outside" by which way the elastic casing goes, many places recommend you use different fabric for each side so you don't accidentally put the dirty side the wrong way.

3. She showed keeping the "first side" to use as a pattern for the "second side", but it would save time if you saved the pattern permanently as many of us find we really need more than just one mask - for me the humidity level gradually climbs and I find switching to a fresh mask after about 2 hours makes it more comfortable. Having multiple fresh masks to switch to, also means that if you were unlucky enough to interact with a "super-spreader", changing out your mask regularly means that you're exposed for less load if I'm reading the literature correctly.

I *really* like how simple the pattern and mask were to make. I've made the pleated ones and they are *much* fiddlier.
 
Tereza Okava
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Jay, I agree with your observation. My husband and I are totally opposed on masks- he likes the pleated ones (flatter and wider face than mine), while I with my beaky face feel like the pleated ones make me a moving hazard, they seem to block half of my field of vision. Don't get me started about the glasses fogging situation!
I have to make round 2 of masks and just printed out a new pattern that looks very similar, I'll be going with this type of model, with pipe cleaners (or whatever) to reduce fog.
A private school here has just gone back and shared their rules: they require 4 masks per day in different colors (each of 3 is used for a few hours, then there is a white "panic" mask that is used if the student shows symptoms and has to be sent home). The people at this school are not making their own masks, it's probably actually a money-making opportinity for the school, but it shocked me to think that they are talking about 20 masks per week. That's a lot of masks to keep track of. (we still cannot find disposable masks at prices lower than those of fabric masks, I hope they're all going to medical professionals, because they're not available on the market).
 
r ranson
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I've got a couple of projects on the go which are taking up my studio/sewing room.  But I hope in December to have some time to make a dozen different kinds of masks to see which is most comfortable.  

I find the bridge of my nose is very tender and if I get any pressure on that, I have to take off the mask.    But I can't tell which mask will cause the problem one what day, so I carry a few different types with me.
 
r ranson
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here's a video on how NOT to make a face mask
... canadian style


 
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