In the UK, we have recently been given advice by our Government to wear face coverings in public places that are hard to social distance in (shops etc.). With this I have tried a face mask patterns/tutorials to determine which works best, and which is easiest to make.
Before we get into the critique, I feel the need to stress that these are NOT medical grade face masks. They are not meant to replace hand washing or social distancing, and are more for the purpose of stopping the spread of the virus, rather than stopping you catching it. Please check your local/national Governmental guidance for more information.
This is the first style of mask I made as I had seen the style around the internet and liked the way it fits to the nose and fully covers over the mouth and chin.
Mimi G includes a printable pattern to ensure correct dimensions, as well as a YouTube video tutorial to talk you through the process. This is a very simple make, even for beginners, and doesn’t take a lifetime to make one – great if you’re making masks for the whole family!
However, I found that at a few points in the video, steps were missed, or rather not fully explained, and I found myself using intuition to figure out how to complete a particular step to the same standard. If you’re brand new to sewing or maybe just making masks, you wouldn’t necessarily have this intuition. I’m fairly new to sewing, myself and had made a few masks before realising how I needed to assemble to achieve the same finish.
The largest problem, however, with this mask is that it seems to be made to fit women (or those with smaller heads) best. The ones i made for myself fit perfectly, however don’t fit my boyfriend.
Another point to consider with this tutorial is that it requires elastic. Not such a huge problem in terms of difficulty but elastic is obviously in high demand at the moment so may be hard to come by. I ordered mine from eBay if you’re struggling to find any, but bear in mind that Royal Mail is understandably running slower than usual at the moment.
First thing to note with this mask is that, unlike the first, it does actually fit my boyfriend! I tried so many ways to make the first mask pattern work, so the TATB pattern may be best for men or those with larger heads (no offence!). Something to keep in mind if you’re making masks for others.
The other thing of note here is that this mask doesn’t require elastic, and instead requires you to make ties from your fabric.
Because of this, it takes a while to make just one mask (the first one I made took almost an hour!) due to the amount of pressing involved. This is a definite downside to the mask, but is 100% worth the effort to ensure that your mask fits the intended recipient, especially if they’re not in your household to check the fit.
Patrick Grant of The Great British Sewing Bee has gathered round a few friends and sewing community favourites to demonstrate how to make face coverings of all different shapes and styles. If you don’t like the sound of my two picks above, there’s sure to be something on here for you. There are two printable patterns with written instructions and video tutorials from the sewing community.
One Last Tip!
If you’re planning on making a lot of masks, once you’re set on the pattern, transfer the pattern to something stronger than paper (I used cardboard) so that it’s easier to tracer/cut around multiple times.