Friday, 22 May 2020

Face Masks with Filters


Hello Folks.  Long time no see......for everyone, I suppose.  These are strange times we are living in and I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

I thought, as everyone and their garden gnome are making masks, I thought I would share 2 designs that I have made. These are not my designs, and I will share the links to the original posts.

I decided to go with 2 styles, as I wanted to ensure that everyone in my family got at least 2 that would fit them perfectly and safely.  I did change some of the features in both these masks but I will explain what I changed and why I did, below.

Firstly, was the Olsen mask that was recommended by a Hospital in the USA.  It comes with a detailed video together with the link to the pattern.  Now, this pattern is a lot more involved in that it isn't just a rectangle of pleated fabric.  You have to cut out 6 pieces of fabric to make one mask.  But its a great design and a really great tutorial.  Here is the link to the Olsen Mask, made by Gail Kollmer on her YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StMPYZ-waso&t=283s

The second design I made was a pleated mask.  Although this mask is basically a rectangle of fabric, I found that this one fits the majority of faces as the pleats allow room to fit the contours of each individual face.  And its so quick to sew up too, so if you need to make a lot of masks for a big family...like me....this might suit you better.  This is the link to the pleated mask made by Kim's Kitchen Affair YouTube channel.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K4dH3-LHLQ

SMALL DISCLAIMER:  I am not a professional sewer....or even a medium sewer....I am new to sewing and am pretty useless at it.  But I managed to make these, wonky sewing lines and all.  So please don't judge me on my sewing skills.  I wanted to make masks to keep my family safe and I don't think they care that the lines aren't straight and the pleats are wonky, teehee.

These are the Olsen Mask design and the first ones I made.  I don't think I changed much in the design of these as they fit pretty well.  The only thing is, these may need adjusting at the ear ties as not everyones face is the same size, so just keep that in mind.

I used polycotton and some 100% cotton fabrics.  And the over the ear elastics were just hair ties that I had.

Each mask also got a proper face mask nose strip to ensure the mask could fit around the wearers nose.  I did buy HEPA filter fabric from Ebay but to be honest, I didn't use it as I felt the 4 ply wasn't enough protection (Im sure it is, but I'm overly cautious when it comes to my family, lol).  Plus it cost a fortune for 5 tiny pieces of fabric.  So instead, I bought Meile HEPA filter hoover bags.  I cut them up and sewed around the edges with a zig zag stitch to ensure it stayed together.  These HEPA filters are 5-ply, super strong and thick.  I didn't just decide off the top of my head to use hoover bags.  It was recommended by a doctor on YouTube, who's wife was making them for him to use at work.  If it's good enough for a doctor, its good enough for me.  They simply slip into the inside pocket on the masks and can be removed and re-used when you need to wash your masks.
Sorry I'm not showing my whole face, but I think you get the idea of the fit from this photo.  It fits really comfortably.  The only issue I have with these masks is, that they aren't great if you are talking.  As there are no pleats, therefore no give, as soon as you start talking, the mask tends to move up and down a bit.  Which isn't complete protection in my opinion.  But great for a quick run out to the shops, without chatting lol
These pleated masks are my favourite as they expand and move with the contours of your face and allow for movement when talking.
In the original tutorial, the lady made these as over the ears masks.  I decided to make my design over the head.  So these masks wrap around your head and neck, rather than just over the ears.
I felt that I got a much better fit by making them over the head rather than just around the ears.  They are very snug and secure but comfortable to wear.  These masks also have the wee bendy nose wires in them together with a pocket for filters.
I added a full 1/2 inch to the original posters pattern as I felt they wouldn't be quite big enough, particularly for men.  I'm glad I did.  The fit is great.  I also came up with my own medium size and 2 children's sizes patterns and they also are great.
I didn't download Kim's pleat pattern, but she has the link there if you feel you need it.  I just freehanded all the pleats...which was probably a bit haphazard of me and resulted in a few wonky pleats, but they all turned out great and fit really well.
I couldn't forget about the wee people in my family, and I made teeny wee masks for my 4 year old nieces too.
These masks also got HEPA filter inserts too. These are a wee bit more fiddly to insert simply because of the pleats and the filter isn't pleated.  But its simply to fit in and adjust it once your mask is on.
The one thing I have told everyone to remember is...REMOVE your HEPA filter from your mask before you put them into the washing machine.  The filters can be reused over and over again but they will most like fall apart or disintegrate in the washing machine.  I haven't tested this theory, but I'm pretty confident that they should be removed.

Once your mask is washed at the recommended 60 degrees C, just pop your HEPA filter back into your mask and you're good to go.

That's it from me folks.  I hope this is helpful to some of you.  If you have any questions, leave a comment of send me a wee message through the link at the top right of this blog.

Toodles Noodles......Lee aka Crafty Loops xx

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