Sewing face masks? Here is some information about sewing masks that we thought you might find helpful. Don’t forget, that if you have any questions at all about how to sew, feel free to pop in and see us.
What needle should I use? For pleated masks with 3 layers, your pleats will contain up to 18 layers of fabric, so you’ll find sewing these much easier with denim (or jeans) size 14 needles. If you are sewing a fitted mask then there isn’t any heavy pleats to sew through, so you’ll be ok with a universal 80/12 needle. Remember, after 8 hours of sewing, any needle is going to start giving you trouble – skipped stitches, broken threads etc. so it’s time to change it for a new one. Don’t forget, please DO NOT use very cheap needles – we highly recommend Schmetz or Organ (or Singer Branded).
What stitch settings work best? For woven fabric, use a straight stitch and because you are going though many layers, you would be best to set your stitch length a little longer – try a 3. If your sewing machine doesn’t have a stitch length control, often you’ll have two or three straight stitches to choose from. Look for the longest.
What Thread Should I Use? We ALWAYS recommend good quality thread, most especially when sewing through thick layers. Good quality thread is generally any thread where the manufacturer has taken the effort to brand the thread’s spool. If the spool is blank, then there is a good chance that the thread is low-quality and will stretch or break, especially when being dragged through thicker layers. It’s also important to note that masks will be washed frequently, and again, a good quality thread that holds up under washing is a good idea.
Should I pre-wash my fabric? Normally we don’t worry too much about pre-washing, but if you are making masks to use right away, then you really should pre-wash first. Many fabrics are chemically treated to make them feel smooth and crisp and easy to sew. If you are pre-washing, its a good idea to zig-zag, or even more effectively, overlock, the raw edges so that they don’t fray.
Where can I get mask patterns from? There are lots of mask patterns available on-line, and we’ve linked a few free ones that we’ve found below. Pinterest is always a good place to start if looking for yourself, and if you know someone who doesn’t use a computer as much as you, it might help them a lot if you print a couple of these patterns out and give them to your friends.
What do I put in my mask? We can’t answer this from an expert point of view, so we have tracked down this information sheet from the Victorian Government Department of Health (even though we are in Queensland). Click HERE to download a copy for yourself, and we also have copies printed and available in store.