Before I start I want to check in on you guys. I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. You don’t need me to tell you that times are difficult in many ways right now, and I hope that sewing is allowing you a few essential moments of peace and calm.
It’s important to say that I am no expert on face masks/coverings. What I am talking about here is a handmade face mask/covering and how I have adapted a great free pattern/tutorial (linked below) in a way that I feel a little more protected when I wear it. This is by no means a medical grade mask, but a face covering to offer you some protection when you are out and about in low risk areas, whilst still maintaining social distancing rules and washing your hands. I would encourage you to do your own research to decide if this is the type of mask that suits your needs.
Like many of us, I had (half-heartedly) tried a couple of mask patterns over the last few weeks, and not been terribly impressed with the results for many reasons. A couple of weeks ago I saw that Marie aka @stitchodyssey had posted a picture of a 3d face mask saying how great it was compared to others that she had tried. As tighter rules have come into effect now regarding the wearing of face masks/coverings, this was the perfect opportunity to give the pattern a go.
The free mask ‘pattern’ is from a lady called Romilda Dias ( @romildadps on Instagram). I say ‘pattern’ – there is not actually pattern pieces that you download or print out, you cut the template yourself – don’t worry though it’s really straightforward. She has a YouTube channel where she shows a tutorial on how to make it. Although visually easy to follow, it is spoken in Portuguese, and Marie has kindly shared a video on her Instagram TV here where she takes you through the template cutting and sewing process. (This blog post is NOT a tutorial on how to sew the mask, just how I amended it to my personal taste). It might be worth you heading over to watch the tutorial before you jump into my amendments so that you have a better understanding of what I am talking about.
The finished result of the original mask even without any changes is really good in my opinion. This clever design, gives you separate nose and chin coverage and the fit feels really good right from the get go. The mouth section is comfortably ‘roomy’, making it feel easier to breathe, and not so tight around the mouth like others I have tried.
After making a couple of samples, I felt that I wanted to make two tiny changes. I wanted to add a nose wire to give an even closer fit over the nose, and I also wanted to make the mask lining piece with an opening so that I could add a disposable filter, in addition to the two layers of fabric.
Adding the nose wire was not rocket science! I had picked up some aluminium wire mask strips from eBay. They were reasonably priced and have smooth rounded tips for comfort. Because the aluminium won’t rust I don’t need to remove it each time I wash the mask so I simply measured the centre point of the folded nose piece, the centre point of the aluminium strip and went right ahead and sewed around it. Simple.
As mentioned I also wanted to make an opening in the lining to allow me to use a disposable filter. This means drawing up another template with a rectangle measuring 22cm x 12cm ( 1cm deeper than the original 22cm x 11cm). Fold and cut the corners exactly as you did with your original piece.
To make one mask with a filter opening you will need to use three fabric pieces using the original template and one fabric piece using the larger template (rather than 4 of the original template).
After cutting out your fabric, measure the halfway point down each side, draw a cutting line and cut the piece into two along this line.
Place right sides together and pin along that straight edge. What you are going to do is sew from each edge in towards the centre using a 0.5cm seam allowance just for a few centimetres and then stop, leaving a gap in the centre unstitched. I hope you can see below I have pinned along the straight edge and placed double pins where I wanted my stitching to stop. I chose to stitch 7cm from each edge, giving me an 8cm unstitched opening in the middle, but you can choose how big you would like your filter opening to be and make it bigger or smaller as necessary.
Press the seam open, which will reveal the gap in the centre of the seam, and topstitch along both sides of that seam (including along the open edges).
You should now be left with a piece that is the same size as the other 3 regular pieces that you have cut, and these 4 pieces (along with 2 small rectangles that you have cut for the elastic casings) will now fit together to make your mask.
For the filter fabric I purchased some filter material from Sewing Sanctuary As said before, I am no expert on this, and would strongly encourage you to do your own research on mask filters. Do share in the comments if you have found other good filter fabrics and where they are from please!
Not forgetting that there is the flap underneath the chin too. I probably should have raised my head a little higher here, trust me – it’s a nice fit!
The mask fabric that I have used is a super pretty pink floral cotton poplin from Sew Jessalli It’s the leftovers from a new dress that I have just finished and will no doubt blog about next week x
Dark grey and glitter acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop.
I used 3mm soft white elastic cord to make the ear straps.
Oh, and the ‘with love from a sewcial distance’ labels are from Modista Sewing. They’re a pretty cute finishing touch right?
As always take care, and I’ll be back soon,