Since I posted my latest face mask make on social media  we have been inundated with questions about suitable patterns, fabrics and notions so I thought a round up post was prudent. It looks more likely that mask wearing is going to be part of our future as more countries start to recommend the public wear masks.  I will also add that I am not a scientist, neither is wearing a mask any guarantee that you'll be protected from COVID-19 but this is a great summary of the research by one of my health heroes Dr Zoe Harcombe which made me decide I wanted to start wearing a mask when out in public. We've been wearing masks since early April and you can read a review of the mask patterns I have tried so far here

OUTER AND LINING FABRICS FOR MASKS

  • Use 100% cotton fabric with a tight weave such as quilting cotton, cotton poplin, cotton lawn.
  • Your masks should be washed at 60 degrees so make sure you pre- wash your cotton at 60 degrees. Note: many fabrics recommend you launder no higher than 40 degrees but I've not had any issues so far washing at 60 degrees whilst using good quality cotton.
  • Sew Can She have this post with more info and also recommend batik fabrics because of the tighter weave
  • Don't use polyester or polycotton - it will be too hot
  • Cotton knit fabrics can be used but the weave is looser

INTERFACING LAYER FOR MASKS

Whilst double layer cotton fabric is probably sufficient for most people that aren't on the front line it has been suggested that adding a non-woven fabric layer can add a little more protection against droplet spread. HEPA filters are suggested to be the most effective, but other non woven fabrics can help here for the average person. We have seen a huge increase in demand for sew-in interfacing which would add an additional layer of non-woven fabric to your mask (plus I have also found they also don't need to be ironed when interfaced with this!) The two that I have been using to great success are Vlieseline / Vilene Interfacing Sew In - Heavy S13/313  Vlieseline / Vilene Interfacing Sew In - Medium M12312  and Vlieseline / Vilene Interlining Sew In - Light - L11 / 310

TIES FOR MASKS

There are a number of ties you could use, which you choose would depend on who you're sewing for and how long you expect to wear the mask for. Some people have complained that elastic behind the ears hurts, I'm sure this is true if you are wearing a mask for many hours, but I have not found this to be the case, especially as you are making masks - a custom fit can be achieved.

Elastic - literally any type of elastic up to about 10mm would do the job. We have seen a HUGE increase in demand for elastic since COVID-19 so items do go in and out of stock  - please bear with us.

Face mask elastic **Update** Stock has been really hard to come by but we've managed to source some. 10p from every metre sold is being donated to volenteer groups currently sewing for the NHS ?

Woven Ribbon Elastic - my favourite has been 3mm elastic for behind my ears but this size is getting harder for us to source. Any ribbon elastic up to 10mm would work well

Fold Over Elastic - this is designed for head bands and is very soft. I'd recommend this if you'd like to secure the mask with elastic behind your head rather than ears (although it works for ears too) I've used this and it's comfortable to wear

Cord Elastic - 3mm cord elastic would work well, I wouldn't go any thicker as it's not as soft as some of the other choices

T-Shirt yarn - if you have an old t-shirt you can make your own tie fabric by following this tutorial from Craft Passion 

Bias Binding - if you would prefer to have fabric ties for your mask then 25mm or 27mm  bias binding would be the best choice

Have you made any masks yet? Do you have any tips you'd like to share - please do!

A note on Wet Bags

Wet bags are great for putting dirty masks in to if you have to remove them whilst out of the house. Wet bags can be unzipped and popped straight in the washer and they will be laundered fully, and you don't have to touch your worn mask again.

Check out how to sew one up via Aunty Em's Crafts and find versatile PUL waterproof fabric here