We've all been practicing physical distancing for awhile now. As different parts of Canada and the US ease the restrictions in place for our movement, a lot of places are either recommending or requiring us to wear homemade masks.
At Queen of Cups, we've been making masks since late March in two different styles. We've refined our process and the patterns we use to get more masks out the door quickly. We've also had to adapt what we do on a daily basis, because fabric and elastic have been hard to find.
In this post, we'll share the mask patterns we've been using, as well as some tips and tricks for making your own masks from what you might have in your stash, or from one of our mask making kits.
A number of scientists and medical researchers have been studying the effectiveness of different fabrics in non medical masks. First and foremost, regardless of the mask you wear, it needs to fit you properly, with minimal gaps between your skin and the mask all the way around.
The most effective masks have 2 different layers of fabric. One layer should be a densely woven cotton. High quality quilting fabrics, high thread count sheets, and apparel fabrics work for this. If you hold a single layer up to the light, light should pass through it (otherwise it would be uncomfortable to wear) but you shouldn't be able to see directly through any holes in the fabric.
The second layer should be a different type of fabric to the first. One, so the weave doesn't line up and give gaps. Two, you're looking for fabrics that both physically block droplets, but also statically (think like a static charge.) Fabrics that work well for this are natural silk, flannel, and chiffon. If you don't have enough of these on hand, two different layers of a densely woven cotton are fine.
Our kits have an organic cotton/hemp blend for one layer, and a flannel 100% cotton layer for the second layer. In the masks we sell, we also leave a filter pocket, so you could insert a piece of silk or chiffon for a filter.
Non medical mask patterns
There are a large number of free patterns out there for you to choose from. The main styles are a square, pleated mask, like a surgical mask, and the other is a curved, fitted mask that often has a wire in the nose to help shape it to your face.
A great general pattern for adult sized masks can be downloaded here. We used these for some of our orders. The trickiest bit is making the pleats!
The pattern we've been using as a base for our fitted masks is from Bra Makers Supply, with some modifications. It comes in three sizes. You can make it as they recommend, or you can follow our modifications in our tutorial!
You can make these masks with elastics or with ties. Right now, elastic is quite hard to find, so in our tutorial we'll explain how to make ties out of fabric or other items.
Protect yourself with facts
A mask will not protect you from getting COVID-19. They work only when you also follow good hygiene and physical distancing. You also need to wear it correctly, handle it correctly, and wash it every time you wear it.