Week in Review 2020 – 09/18


When COVID-19 struck, many people who sew or craft either as hobbyists or professionals, went into face mask production mode. There was a proliferation of face mask patterns available for free on the Internet. Those making the masks shared images of their creations. They also shared insight into which patterns, fabric and supplies work best. There were write-ups on best fitting and most comfortable masks. Eventually, famous designers and clothing manufacturers got into business, along with cottage industry crafters.

I’m guessing this will go to my sister-in-law. I chose the fabric because I’ve noted she frequently wears navy or navy compatible colors.

I made several decisions. First, I was going to wait and let the market and others figure out what worked best. Second, I might make a few masks for myself that functioned both as a personal health solution, but also as a fashion accessory. Third, should I feel inclined I might make a few for friends and family. It wasn’t until my brother approached me about making masks for him and his family, that I made the fourth decision. If someone wanted me to make masks for them, I would do it for free, but request they donate to SAQA.  


A fellow art quilter shared on her blog the stunning masks she was making with batik fabric she collected over the years. I loved nearly everything about them. The face masks are fitted, include a nose clip, and come in several sizes which can be further adjusted by the wearer to fit their face. The pattern comes from PrettyHandyGirl.com. 

This might be the one for my sister-in-law’s mother. I bought this fabric during my large print, colonial blue and corals phase. Part of the fun of mask making is discovering what is buried in the stash.

I never can resist adding my own tweaks to patterns. So, I adapted the mask to include all the features I believe are essential. That being said, these are not a substitution for industrial face masks and shields.

Those who must wear masks for long periods of time, quickly find that the material can be abrasive to the face. This is why my masks are lined with nylon jersey. It is less abrasive for long term wear. I use a two wire coffee bag tie as a nose clip. The ties are coated in plastic, allowing the masks to be washed. The double wire can be bent and unbent frequently, retains its shape and the clip stays intact. I use elastic cord, knotted at the end with a sliding plastic bead, for the ear loops. These fit comfortably over the ears. They also allow for a final tightening adjustment after the mask is in place. Finally, my masks come with a filter pocket should the wear want to insert a filter.

My brother, much to my delight, selected this fabric from several non-traditional “masculine” options I gave him. Love the idea of his wondering around Oxford making quite the statement.

I recommend washing the masks in a lingerie bag using the delicates cycle. Hand washing the masks works, too.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


    1. If we must sport a mask, a little levity is in order. My brother is a math’s professor at one of Oxford’s colleges. I can just imagine him striding across campus in his don’s robe wearing a dragon mask. The other cheek of the mask has a blue dragon flying upwards from chin to ear.

  1. Your masks are fabulous! What kind of elastic cord do you use, and where do you get it? I made similar contour masks for my family but used a shoe lace for a tie because elastic was impossible to source at the time. But I’m finding that it’s a hassle to have to tie and untie a mask as you go in and out of shops on errands. I really like that thin, soft, stretchy elastic loop stuff that comes on the readymade paper disposable masks (but of course would prefer reusable, pretty fabric). Love the dragon math, and I’ll bet his students love it, too!

    1. I use 1/8″ Elastic String which I found on Amazon. The only downside is it comes in lengths of 55 yards unwound. When the baggie of elastic string arrives you need to wind it for function. The reviews show some clever ways to handle it. 55 yards isn’t that long for winding. I simply wound it the way I would a ball of yarn. The key is to not stretch as you wind to avoid distortion.

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