Filter Pocket Fabric Mask with stretchy straps, DIY

Quick Guide:

  • My pattern can be found HERE.
  • Format of post:
    • 1. Discussion of Masks
    • 2. EldenberryBlossom links & info
    • 3. My mask pattern & tutorial
    • 4. Sizing information on EldenberryBlossom masks

Why a Mask?

Well, here we are with another mask post. Since the recommendation from the CDC came out that everyone should consider wearing a mask to help stop the transmission of Covid-19, there has been in increased interest in personal masks. Do masks help? Well, maybe. Masks **should** help decrease transmission from an asymptomatic carrier to others by helping to contain virus-laden droplets. They also **should** help keep the wearer from poking at their face. Will they protect you from catching a virus? **???** There are so many variables in fabric, fit & permeability that no one can say for sure, but this study from 2009 suggests it would help.. Does adding a filter help? Maybe–again fit is important, and I think we are in the “what can it hurt?” mode. Do I suggest a particular filter? No. If you chose to use a filter–do some online looking and see what you can find. Information is changing rapidly, and it is a personal choice. Top choices right now include pieces of air furnace filters, vacuum cleaner bags, blue shop towels, charcoal filters, and forms of polypropylene like Oly fun, grocery bags, interfacing etc.

These masks are NOT a medical device, and should be viewed in the same way you would sneeze/cough into your sleeve. IF you chose to wear a mask, it is important to do so properly. Freshly washed, the mask is “clean”. Once it is on your face, it is “dirty”. Do not touch it. Put the mask on before you go out or into the store, but then, DO NOT TOUCH IT, DO NOT TAKE IT OFF. When you get home, untie it, and without touching the front, drop it in your laundry and wash/dry (preferably on hot) before touching again. Do not take it off and throw it on the car seat next to you. Do not take it off and shove it in your pocket until next time. Think of it like dirty underwear. The Gold Standard is wear once and wash. If you are only going to the store once a week . . . theoretically any germs would have died away by the next time you would put the mask on so it **might** be OK to wear more than once. However, make sure it can dry well between wearings (aka don’t keep it in a dark, dank pocket) and most especially if you are making several stops, don’t take it off every time you get in the car.

**If you are looking for information on making a really good mask, check out this mask made from Halyard H6000 from the University of Florida. Here’s a good video tutorial about it by Sewstine.

OK–so let’s talk about this new mask I’ve made.

This mask is an amalgamation of about 4-5 different mask patterns as well as the one I previously posted (which I still think is a great basic mask–but I wasn’t real pleased with it after adding metal nose pieces since it just come together easily with the pleats at the nose and it seemed like to took too much “fussing”).

I’ve tried multiple of the shaped/duck bill masks and uniformly I don’t like how tightly they hug my mouth. I find it very claustrophobic. One of the main drawbacks of the fabric mask is that it gets wet/damp, and when that happens, it’s like flashing “Vacancy” sign for germs as they easily transfer through the wet material. If you are only wearing a fabric mask for a short period of time, it probably doesn’t matter–but–since they have’t been tested, who knows?

The changes I made to this mask include a nose dart, a shaped chin and a single pleat on the side. It also includes a nose piece, stretchy straps, and open sides so that a filter can be placed inside. This mask “seals” around my face better than any of the other ones I’ve tried–but it’s trial and error depending upon your face shape. Another key to fit is how tight the straps are. The looser the fit, the more air escapes around the edges. I like the convenience of ear straps, BUT, you can tie it much tighter with the stretchy ties. . . which brings us back to the “WHY” of why you are wearing it in the first place.

A game-changer in the mask making for me is the idea of using cotton/lycra for straps, which came from the EldenberryBlossoms Pattern group on facebook. She has an AMAZING seven size reversible mask pattern and multiple tutorials and the posts are full of ideas, adaptations and tips. Check it out. Here’s the pattern. These masks are super quick to make and the fit is pretty good. The addition of the stretchy straps really helps to improve the fit, and once they are cut out, you can make masks fairly quickly, especially if you are batching them.

The EldenBlossom mask comes in 7 sizes: child small, med, large, and adult small, med, large, xl. Reading through the posts, most adults like the Med or large. SIZING INFORMATION IS FOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST.

This is how they fit: adult small, medium, large, extra large, and then my mask. You want a mask that is comfortable, covers your chin, and seals reasonably well under your eyes (glasses make it easy to tell since they steam up if the seal is bad). You can see how my version has extra fabric through the mouth area and doesn’t sit quite as close to the face.

MAKING THE COSTUMECRAZED FILTER POCKET MASK

Here is my pattern.

Supplies:

  • 2 pieces of fabric 14″w x 8″ tall
  • two pieces of cotton lycra fabric*, cut in strips so that it rolls, 1-1.5″ x 22-30″ (depending on stretch)
  • about 3″ bias tape (if desired)
  • metal nose piece/wire (if desired)

*If you don’t have cotton lycra, you can use an old t-shirt, fold over elastic, etc. See tutorials on how to make t-shirt yarn (basically cut strips across the body of the shirt). The EldenBlossom FB group has lots of discussion about tie material and links to places to purchase.

**The completed mask is reversible. Repeat all steps (except for nose piece) on both mask pieces**

Begin by cutting out two mask shapes (I have really hard water, even with a fabric softener, and it stains my ironing board cover):

Press the sides in 1/4″, and then again 1/4″ (after making one mask, if the sides come to close to your ears, either shorten the pattern, or make the hem a little deeper).

Hold the pressed edge, and make a pleat (doing down) to make the side edge 3″. Stitch in place (pin if you need to, I just hold it)

Stitch the top and bottom darts 1/4″.

Take your desired nose piece (mine are “aluminum nose bridge” from Ebay) and cut a piece of bias tape slightly larger. Mark the center and pin to the nose dart seam on the piece you want to be the lining.

You will sew around 3 sides of the bias tape, leaving one end open to insert the nose piece. Fold the seam allowance toward the end of the bias tape you plan to sew shut. Line the bias tape up about 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric (staying out of the seam allowance). Stitch along one long side of the bias tape to the end, put the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric to turn the corner. Stitch the end shut, repeat the pivot to sew the second edge.

Line up the two mask pieces right sides together at the nose.

Take your strip of cotton/lycra and look to see which way it want to curl. Fold it lengthwise to find the center. Holding it so that it curls towards itself, line up the two sides and pin to the nose seam of the masks, sandwiching the band between the two mask layers.

The next part may take a little practice, so don’t stress if you don’t get it right the first time. The cotton/lycra is stretchy, and we want it to be stretched in between the two mask layers. How much you stretch it is personal choice–give it a nice stretch, but you don’t need to pull & tug it to death. Holding the center pin, stretch the lycra along the BACK layer of the mask until you reach the hemmed edge. Hold it in place, and line up the FRONT layer of the mask. Pin it slightly behind the hem, so that you have room to start stitching before removing the pin.

The cotton/lycra will be shorter than the woven fabric.

**I only pin on the end–but when you are starting, you may want and extra pin or two in the middle. Stretch the band, so the mask if flat, and pin in place**

Insert the layered fabric into your sewing machine, and securely anchor the layers (stitch & backstitch). Then, put the needle down, and remove the pin. Supporting the fabric from the back with one hand (I’m just using my fingers since my camera is in one hand), gentle pull the layers of fabric until they are laying flat, and begin to stitch 1/4″. Keep checking that the band fabric is evenly folded and both masks edges are caught. Continue until you reach the center seam, and then stop with the NEEDLE DOWN.

With the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric around the needle as needed to begin the second side. Line up the layers of fabric, stretching the lycra, and stitch (pin if you need to) Make sure that the two hemmed edges of the mask are even (even if you need to fudge in a little tuck, or ease in at the end).

The woven fabric will look wrinkled. Her’s the front and back.

Turn it inside out through the end openings, and then topstitch along the top and bottom edges (reinforcing the ends where the bands will get the most stress).

Insert the nose piece of your choice.

A filter can be inserted into the side if desired. You may need to roll it and then open it inside the mask (think of inserting a bra pad).

Tips & Oops! Warnings:

  • The pattern has the side marked “not the fold”–because, it’s not the fold. Even though this is my pattern, I’ve cut them out wrong more times than I care to admit.
  • Watch your one way prints: notice my bees and cherries are upside down.
  • You can finish the ties if you want, or give them a good pull to help them roll and create “yarn”. A serged edge or zig-zag/stretch stitch will be needed
  • You can edge this with bias tape, or just construct as my previous mask (sew right sides together and turn). The fit may not be as tight.
  • To add ear loops with a casing, cut the lining fabric about 1-1.5″ shorter on the sides, and hem. Create a casing for elastic out of the fashion fabric.
  • To add ear loops of cotton/lycra: the length will depend on the stretch of your fabric. Make a loop/circle of the cotton lycra, fold in half and pin center top and center bottom. Stitch as before, and the band will loop from the top to the bottom and make ear loops–you will have to tweak your fabric and your face to get the right length. If this is clear as mud–look on the EldenBlossoms FB group for examples.
  • If you are making the EldenBlossoms mask, some people are threading the wire through the band–inserting it into the opening at the side of the mask. You can also use the bias tape method I showed.

SIZING THE ELDENBERRYBLOSSOM MASK:

Trying on the mask and testing for fit as you talk and move would be the best option, however, if you are trying to guess on sizing, here are some helpful tips. The masks were sewn with a 1/4″ seam allowance, and the binding was NOT included in the measurements. Measurements will vary by fabric, sewing technique etc and should be viewed as “ballpark”.

Measurements: Top of nose to under chin, and top of nose to side of mask (Keep the tape measure a little straighter toward the ear than what is pictured).

Child small:

  • The smallest mask
  • ages to 3 (the CDC does not recommend mask use for 2 and under) USE WITH CAUTION and with SUPERVISION.
  • about 3.5″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide (top center nose to tie edge)

Child medium:

  • Ages 3-8ish
  • about 4″ tall x 3″ wide (nose to edge)

Child Large:

  • Ages 8-12ish
  • about 4.5″ tall x 3.25″ wide

Adult small:

  • Ages teen/adult
  • about 5.5″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide

Adult Medium:

  • Ages–most adults
  • about 6″ tall x 4″ wide

Adult Large:

  • Sized to fit over an N95
  • about 6.5″ tall x 4″ wide

Adult XL:

  • Individuals with a larger/broader face or facial hair
  • about 7″ tall x 4.25″ wide

Fit of adult large EdlenberryBlossom mask with added nose piece:

Costumecrazed Mask with Filter Pocket:

  • About 7″ tall x 5.25″ wide
  • larger side hole for filter insertion

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Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and I wish you the best in your mask making adventures. Don’t hesitate to comment if you have questions, and don’t forget to “like” and “follow” my blog.

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