It was almost impossible to look at sewing posts last year without seeing at least one face covering, or a pattern for one. Some people were making hundreds of them to give away, others made hundreds to sell, and for a while I felt that I was “failing” for not making them or scrubs!
However, I eventually came to accept that while I have the skill to be able to make things and I also liked the idea of helping out charities and local organisations / the local doctor’s surgery & hospital, the whole ‘production line’ way of making multiples of the same item like that, just isn’t something I am able to do.
I didn’t actually make any face coverings until the first mention that they were going to be essential to wear when entering a shop – so I made my first few for my parents.
A little while later, another relative requested masks for their family members which included a 5 year old child. By this point I was feeling comfortable with the adult patterns I was using, but what was I going to do for a child’s pattern? The first pattern I found was marked as age 2-5 and age 6-10 – how on earth was I going to know which would work the best, given that the masks were going to be posted?
In the end, I made three different child’s masks (one of each size, and another from a different pattern) in the hope that at least one would work well. I made the two different sized ones in totally different fabric (the foxes and dinosaurs on the bottom right of the photo above) so it would be easier to work out which face covering actually fitted the best.
Spurred on by my success, I made two matching masks for a friend’s birthday (who would’ve thought that a face covering would be a suitable birthday present?), picking the same adult patterns I’d used previously. Again, I wasn’t too sure which that friend would find most comfortable to wear, hence the two different designs. These were made from a fat eighth that I’d won as part of a bumper prize from Sew Magazine a couple of years ago.
Of all the masks, the pleated ones were the hardest to make as threading the elastic through the tunnel with all those pleats in place, was almost impossible at times. So for my next batches, I stuck with the shaped masks. These two went to a friend in Norway, while the ones below were sent to a friend in America. You can just about see the same fox fabric on the lining for the right-hand mask – these work really well for using up those smaller pieces of fabric that you’re not quite sure what to make from!
More foxes! I used the same foxes for the lining on the right-hand mask, which probably wasn’t overly intelligent – while the shaped mask is reasonably clear which way round it goes, having a different pattern to the lining (or even a plain fabric) makes it really clear for those “not quite awake” mornings when you need to go grocery shopping!
I also added in a little waterproof ripstop carry bag for the face coverings – the ring on the edge means you can clip it to your keys, or into your bag so you should never be caught out without a mask!
And finally, I had another request from the same relative for some Christmas-themed masks just to make work seem a little more fun in the run up to Christmas last year. They also requested a couple of matching sets to include a children’s mask.
I not only made the Christmas themed ones, but also added in some more spring and summer face coverings just to give them something fun for the warmer months when Father Christmas and snowmen didn’t quite seem ‘right’.
And just to try out a different pattern, I made one of the 3D Masks for myself. I didn’t get the topstitching quite as close to the fold, so the shape feels a little smaller than I think it should, but it does feel pretty comfortable.
I used the same thin elastic for all my face covering makes, as I felt that thicker elastic might cause a problem if it caught the back of the glasses arm behind the ear.
Shaped Face Covering – the Big Community Sew
Pleated Face Covering – the Big Community Sew
Children’s Shaped Face Covering – the Big Community Sew
Children’s Olson Face Covering
3D Mask Template – See Kate Sew
Face Covering Pouch – Hobbycraft blog