Sunday, May 10, 2020

My Citizen Mask sewing process

Early in April, after reviewing myriad opinions, websites, blogs, and videos, I chose a mask pattern and did my stint in making masks. The masks were for members of my household and our neighbors. This blog seemed to be a good place to document the process of this (yet another coronavirus quantantine) sewing activity for current and future reference.
Citizen Masks with cotton batiks and knit drawstring ties.

I chose the fitted, contoured Citizen Mask 1 Pattern from This mask design has a pocket for a filter.

The fabrics I used are cotton batiks from Majestic Batiks. These batiks have a thread count of 205. This is higher than the majority of printed quilters cottons that have a 120 thread count. [Except for the cotton prints from Art Gallery Fabrics which also has a thread count of 205 and is OEKO-TEX certified].

The drawstring ties are knit fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.
Citizen Mask 1 pattern and batiks from Majestic Batiks (205 thread count).
Cut 2 outside pieces and 2 lining pieces. Use two different prints for the outside and lining of the mask so you can easily tell them apart.
Press 1/4" hem on the outside pieces and lining pieces.
These are the batiks used for the outside of the mask.


Sew down the hem allowance close to the raw edge on both outsides and both lining pieces.
With right sides together, stitch the curved seam of the outside mask. Repeat for lining.
Clip the curves or pink the seam allowance at the curve.

NOTE: For reference in the photos below, there is white thread in the bobbin and a matching thread on top.
Batik is the outside and the black/white print is the lining fabric.

With right sides together, align the mask outside and lining, matching the top and bottom center seams.

Nest the seam allowances to make a nice join.

With the lining side facing you, start at the edge of the lining and sew mask outside and lining together along the stitching lines at the top and bottom. Back stitch (for about an inch) at the beginning and end of the stitching lines.*

Trim the seam allowances where the seam lines meet at the bridge of the nose.

Turn mask right side out. Press.
The outside of the mask extends beyond the lining fabric as shown below.

Fold the extension so the hemmed edge meets the lining (a line indicated on the pattern piece). This makes the casing for the adjustable tie.
NOTE: the white bobbin stitching is from the previous step where the hem was sewn down.
With the lining side of the mask facing you, stitch the casing close to the hemmed edge.

With the lining side of the mask up (facing you), sew down the left and right casings, stitching close to the edge. Back stitch at the beginning and end of the stitching line.

In a continuous stitching line, topstitch around the mask about 1/8" from the edge. Starting on the bottom edge, topstitch to the first casing, up the casing (slightly to the inside of the previous casing stitching line), across the top, down the other casing, across the bottom. DO NOT stitch the casings closed!
NOTE: the white stitching is the sewing line (bobbin thread) for the casing.
The topstitching is about 1/16" to the right as shown above.

Nose Bridge Wire
To allow for a better fit, I inserted a wire at the bridge of the nose.
Using 18 or 20 gauge wire, cut a piece approximately 6" long. Fold in half and twist. Use needle-nose pliers to curl in the cut ends so they will not puncture the fabric or have a sharp end.

Lay the twisted wire along the center top of the mask (where the bridge of the nose will be) and mark the placement.

Nose Wire Pocket
Reduce the stitch length on your sewing machine (so the wire cannot poke through).
Sew a pocket for the nose wire approximately 1/2" wide and the length of the measurements from the step above. Leave and opening at one end to insert the wire.
Sew the pocket for the nose wire, leaving one end open for wire insertion.
Insert wire and sew closed.

From the inside of the mask, going between the lining and the outside fabric, insert the twisted nose wire into the pocket. Sew the nose wire pocket closed, being careful not to sew over the wire and break a needle.

Drawstring Ties
I used knit fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics for the mask's drawstring ties.
Cut a piece of knit approximately 1" to 1-1/4" wide by 24" to 30" long.

Pull the ends to stretch and the fabric will curl on itself. There is no need to finish the edges as the knit fabric will not ravel. [Big time saver!]

Using a bodkin or safety pin (whatever will fit through the casing), feed the knit drawstring tie through the casings so the mask will tie at the top of the head. The ends of the drawstring can be knotted, if desired.
Outside of mask. Note it ties at the top of the head.

Inside of finished mask.
Inside/lining side of the mask.

Notes and Tips
  • Use two different fabrics for the inside and outside of the mask. This will make the inside and outside easily identified and the wearer will not accidentally put the "outside" next to her/his nose/mouth.
  • Backstitching at the beginning and ends of stitching lines with strengthen and secure the seams—especially at the high stress points such as the casings.
  • * When sewing the outside mask to the lining, do a deep backstitch (3/4" to 1") so the thread tails will be well into the middle of the mask when it is turned right side out. (This makes the process faster as the thread tails don't need to be cut close.)
  • The knit drawstring ties are soft and stretchy for comfort. The drawstring can be adjusted through the casings for a better, snugger fit and to accommodate various head sizes. 
  • The nose bridge wire helps prevent glasses from fogging (for those that wear eyeglasses).
  • A filter can be inserted from the inside of the mask to sandwich between the outside and lining fabrics.
  • Avoid making extra holes in the mask-making fabrics (decorative stitching, embroidery, excessive pinning, etc.). Holes in the fabric defeat the purpose of protection.
  • I found the videos from The Fabric Patch give a good explanation and illustration about fabrics and supplies for making masks, how small virus particles can be, and lessons learned from making thousands of masks.

Stay healthy. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Maintain social distance. Do your part!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...