So, we’re now a few days into mandatory mask wearing, and Melbourne, I must say that I’m impressed! Almost everyone had a mask on at the supermarket on Thursday morning (I assume that those who didn’t have an exemption for medical reasons). Although it is still a bit confrontingt to me to see everyone in a mask, and it’s still a bit uncomfortable for me to wear one, I am sure that we’ll get used to it very quickly. Cutting transmission of covid-19 is so important; it’s worth the relatively minor inconvenience. And it’s been interesting to see all the different masks that people are wearing! This tweet pretty much sums it up 😉
I have tried a couple more patterns, so am recording them here for posterity. I will copy the content of this blog post onto the mask making page that is now a separate page under my blog header, to make it easier to find.
This mask has become Clare’s favourite. It sits up nice and high across her nose and cheeks, so that her glasses hold it flat to her face and there’s no warm breath escaping out the top to fog them up. No nose wire. The pattern is by Iris Luckhaus. She has a number of variations of what she calls the Hybrid face mask. The first version can be found here: the ones that I have been sewing are called the Hybrid Nose2 mask, and can be found on this page. I like this one as it comes up higher on the nose rather than sitting on the tip of it – but like all masks, it really is each to their own. Iris writes very detailed posts about masks; she includes information on different mask types, ways to tie a mask, why her mask works well, and the instructions and patterns are excellent. They come in a number of sizes, and the customised hybrid masks include nose masks, chin masks, beard masks, and information on adapting the pattern for different width faces. That said, I am only making the one style – it seems to work on many people.
I’ve actually sewn thirty-four of these – who’s counting 😉 – to give to family and friends. I am roughly tracking how long it takes me to sew a fabric mask. Mine are three layered masks. I reckon that it takes between twenty and thirty minutes to sew a mask. When you factor in the cost of equipment and supplies, the skill of the sewer, their time, and the need to make a profit, I am not at all surprised that hand-made masks are selling for around $25 each.
As far as ties are concerned, it’s all about knit fabric ties for me! There is a tutorial on how to make there here if you’d like one, but it’s pretty simple – cut a strip of knit fabric (preferably one with a bit of spandex) about one inch wide, then stretch! The edges curl inwards. When giving masks to others I tend to leave the ties long, so that they can go around the back of the head and be adjusted to fit. If that’s not what people want they can simply cut the tie in half and turn it into ear loops (that’s how I do them for Clare and her school friends; the ear loops are their preference – I suspect so that they don’t interfere with their hair styles). I tie a simple knot that the recipient can easily adjust to their own preference and trim off any excess. And if they prefer a different type of tie, it’s easy to replace when the mask has casings rather than ties that are sewn in.
This mask pattern piqued my interest because I liked the use contrasting fabrics! I saw it on a tutorial by Marie of Stitch Odyssey on Instagram. She’s done an English language version of the original YouTube tutorial by Romilda Dias, which is in Portugese. I added an additional layer of fabric to the centre panel to make it three layers as per our health department recommendations (I use a synthetic lining fabric for it’s electrostatic and slightly water repellent qualities).
This one is certainly easy to sew, and it is satisfying to play with coordinating and contrasting fabrics. However, we still need to see how it goes for long-term wear. These are shirting cottons.
We have a few commercial surgical masks in the glove box of the car for those times when we forget one of our fabric ones (we also keep hand sanitiser in the car). I wore one briefly to collect some take-away food and my glasses fogged up within moments, and pretty much stayed that way! For anything other than very brief wear I’m definitely going to need a fabric mask.
Clare takes a zip-lock bag to school with her to put her used masks in. When we get home from being out we go straight to the laundry and pop our masks into a lingerie bag. The bag then gets tossed into the wash the following morning (I do at least one load of washing each day, so it’s nothing extra). I shake and smooth each mask into shape, then hang it on the ends of the clothes horse to dry over a heating vent. Once the weather warms up again I’ll line dry them. I do then give them an iron to keep the pleats in place and the mask as comfortable as possible for wear. You need a few masks per person so that you know you’ve always got a clean one.
I’d also like to draw your attention to another mask pattern, this one by Pattern Union which is designed for scuba type fabrics. It can be hand or machine sewn. I’m at peak mask making fatigue now, and am not going to try it, but I’d be interested in feedback from anyone who does. And now I’m very much looking forward to getting back to sewing FUN things.