What Mask Should I Make?
Right now the CDC has recommended everyone wear a mask when going out in public to places like the grocery store. I have made some masks using tutorials found online. Here are some things I have discovered which may help others. There are many styles of masks and the one you choose will depend on local inventory, how long you need to wear the mask, etc. There are various charts online that specify best types of fabric, but there are pros and cons to these (availability, breathability, etc.). I have chosen basic cotton fat quarters for most of mine. This is what I had on hand and it is tightly woven. You will want something with a tight weave so I would not recommend crocheting a mask. I used duck cloth on the black and white mask pictured.
Several tutorials call for elastic, but it’s in short supply. Many of those designs have a small piece of elastic on either side which cups behind the ear. If you are wearing this for a short time, perhaps to run into the grocery store, that is probably fine. If you need to wear a mask during your essential job, you may prefer something more comfortable or adjustable. If you have elastic and have chosen this style, or received a mask of this style, you may want to add an extender to the little loops so the elastic rests on the band rather than your ears. This is something to consider if donating masks to workers that need to wear them several hours. Adjuster bands can be made of various materials, but the easiest thing to do is use a paper clip (or two) to connect the two loops. Some people have chosen to crochet a band with large buttons to loop the elastic around like this. Others may have access to a 3D printer to make an extender like this.
Personally, I found the curved mask to be easiest to make. I also think it goes up the nose far enough without coming uncomfortably close to my eyes. I was able to use a shoelace in place of elastic. You could also cut up a t-shirt for straps or use ribbon (shown in the unicorn print mask) or even cord. You can use bias tape or make your own for straps. You can see from the following YouTube videos how these straps are meant to fit without a lot of pressure on the ears. If you would like to add a nose piece (some say it helps eliminate slack in the mask or fog on glasses) a pipe cleaner is a good choice. Bread ties and floral stem wire work, too. This is an extra step in the mask as you will need to sew a slot.
Some masks leave a pocket for a filter. There is some controversy with this as some filter options contain fiberglass and you definitely do not want to breathe that in. If you decide to add a filter please research the contents of the filters carefully.
• If you choose to do a pleated style… don’t make my mistake! I accidentally made the pleats the wrong direction. Have the pleats point downward.
• Use binding clips to hold fabric in place rather than pins. You want to limit the amount of holes you poke in this mask.
• Non-directional fabric is the easiest. I usually fold the fabric and cut two pieces at once. This doesn’t work out so well depending on the design and pattern shape.
• If you will be wearing the mask around someone that relies heavily on reading lips, perhaps research making a clear plastic window for the mask. Unfortunately we do not have a lot of information on this type right now.
I used this video for the bulk of my masks:
I referred to Craft Passion for multiple size patterns (young child up to adult). This is where you also see the shoelace closure option and find an optional mask with filter pattern.
If you are able to get all the supplies you need, please consider donating some masks. Your neighbors, friends, nursing homes, and other places would appreciate it. UMMC has requested flannel backings for their masks. This is what I used on most of my masks as I had some available. Patterns are available from multiple sources so you should not have to design it from scratch. Some tutorials only request that you cut rectangles.
There are many styles of masks. I hope you find one that suits you. If you would like to make masks for UMMC, see more information here: wapt.com