As many quilters are making masks throughout the country, quite a few variations have been shared. Recently my friend Vicki designed a mask to fill a very specific need.
To watch an interview she did with a local tv station click here!
After that interview Vicki was bombarded with people wanting a pattern – so we decided to post it on the web!
Vicki writes, “How thrilled I was at the interest in the see through mask. To date, I’ve made about 1000. HEAR Wisconsin, the non-profit I made these for has distributed them to schools, individuals, audiologist and many others that work with the deaf and HOH community. Recently I made some mask for another neighbor Lizzy S. Lizzy asked if I would make several for her. This is because she needs all her friends and the people she interacts with to have these mask on so she can read THEIR Lips. Lizzy and her mom spent a day with me and we made some wonderful adjustments to the original pattern.
So many seamstress and quilters have contacted me asking what are my tricks in making so many. I believe many of you have been requested like me – to make several for the deaf/HOH person, but also their friends. Or perhaps a preschool has asked you to make them for all their teachers. I used many of my quilt making skill and I’m sharing those tips/tricks in this pattern. I make the mask in “batches” of 15. (Sometimes 30, 60 and 90)
PLEASE NOTE: When I spoke with Lizzy and her mom about the masks, she requested that the vinyl opening be larger – so we made it 3″ x 4″. We moved the opening up towards the nose and I really liked that. There is a picture of me wearing this size mask at the bottom of this post. However, HEAR Wisconsin still preferred the opening 2″ x 4″. They said that too much vinyl and less breathable cotton in the mask makes it too hot for them to wear all day. I wore the mask with the larger vinyl area to a doctor’s appointment recently and I didn’t like the vinyl on my chin – it was sticky and hot. The point of this is that you should customize the opening and cut the vinyl appropriately. For me – I might just make the opening 2-3/4″, bringing it up off the chin. Like the ear loops of our standard mask – faces come in all sizes and this too may need to be adjusted.
New and Improved See-Through Mask Instructions
These instructions were updated in July and include helpful tips for making multiple masks.
Cut 2: 7-1/2” x 7-1/2” cotton fabric
Cut 1: Clear Plastic 3 3/4” x 5”. At JoAnn’s its called PCT 8 GAUGE clear Vinyl and has ORANGE tissue. At Ace Hardware, it’s the mid-weight vinyl and can be found where they sell tablecloths.
NOTE: plastic can melt … don’t iron directly on the plastic when making this mask.
Step 1: Sew the cotton pieces right sides together at the top using ¼” seam allowance.
Note: This is where chain stitching comes in handy. Cut enough for 15 masks and chain stitch every time you sew.
Sew ¼” – ½” down from the top to create a casing for the pipe cleaner at the nose.
Turn right side out and press the seam.
I found it easiest to mark the opening at this step because the front and back are now basically lined up and having pressed these 2 pieces of fabric, the static makes them stick together well.
The old instructions stated: cut a 7 1/2″ x 7 1/4″ template from template plastic or cereal box cardboard. Cut the opening 2″ x 4″ positioned 2 1/4″ from the top and 1 3/4″ from the left side.
The new window opening is 1-1/2” from the top, with a 3” x 4” opening.
Decide on your window opening. Would you like it 3”x4” or 2-3/4” x 4”? I have found the measurement from the top 1-1/2” down is perfect now.
To make them in 15 mask batches: After I have the two pieces of fabric sewn together, flipped and the casing for the pipe cleaner sewn, I mark all of them. Draft up your template and mark the window opening.
I only mark the window or fold line. I lay 15 masks out on my cutting matt. I find by using a small 28mm rotary blade and a small ruler I have greater control on my stop/starts.
I eyeball cutting the window 3/8” inside the marked line.
When making the rotary cuts – stop at about 1/4” from your marked window. This little bit of overlap makes it easy for the window to come right out.
When doing multiple masks, I begin by cutting all the vertical strokes and then switch and do all the horizontal cuts. I’m cutting the windows through both layers.
I now clip the corners of the masks.
From the wrong side of the fabric using a washable glue stick, fold and tack the opening back. I use the end of the clip as my guide and fold the edges back. Again, repeating this process for all the masks.
Lay a mask, RST, and sew the bottom seam. Flip right side out and press. Using the glue stick again, apply a dab of glue on inside top and bottom – just enough to tack the vinyl in place.
Insert the vinyl and finger press in place so the glue secures it.
By the time I have the 15th one done, the first is dried enough to top stitch in place. Repeat for all masks.
I find these machine “tricks” helpful: (I give you permission to go buy a new machine 😁)
Eleanor Burns’ method of sewing (messy). This is the “done with sewing the vinyl in pile”
Insert pipe cleaner at the nose (fold each end of the pipe cleaner so there are no sharp ends)
To begin I fold the vinyl in half and pinch pleat only the fabric. My pleats are approximately ½”. I fold this pleat DOWN.
This next pleat is simply eyeballed. This lower pleat is also folded DOWN.
The top pleat starts with a fold at the top of the vinyl. I pinch about 1/2” and fold this pleat UP.
Repeat on both sides of all masks –
and stitch to baste in place.
Cut 2 pieces of elastic between 8-9” (or bigger if needed), and sew them into loops.
Note: Most of the masks I made had straps on them as my non-profit HEAR Wisconsin requested them this way. Lizzy asked if I would make them with ear loops and we decided to make them using “Performance” fabric – used mostly for dance costumes. This fabric is a blend of Nylon/Spandex. It does not ravel and once you cut 1” and stretch it out – it’s a soft elastic for your ears. However, your standard elastic that everyone is using is just fine too.
I cut a 1” strip x length of fabric. I pull on it to stretch it out. Once stretched, I cut 2 strips approx 8-1/2” long and sew end to end to loop.
Cut 2 pieces 4-1/2” x 3”. Press in half WST.
Center and Line up raw edges and sew the facings onto the back of the mask.
Attaching Elastic With Facings
Fold in the raw edges on the top and bottom of a facing piece.
Insert the elastic, fold the facing to the right side of the mask, and top stitch in place, encasing the elastic. Pin.
Top stitch from the front.
How nice the window opens up with the pleats folded correctly.
Cleaning and Defogging
To disinfect after each wearing these masks should be washed in a washing machine, and air dried. The vinyl will not hold up to drying in a dryer. To prevent fogging of masks, rub a dab of Dawn™ dish soap on the inside and let it dry.
Stay healthy, Vicki