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There are many other fabrics can be used to make general face masks, if you have a specific request, please reach out via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Disclaimer: The article below is based solely on the opinion of the author. None of the statements below are based on any tests, experience or expertise on face masks. The objective of this article to provide some information on face masks and fabric suggestions to the best of our knowledge, it is not to be perceived as professional advice. No tests were performed to substantiate the recommendations. There is no guarantee that following them will prevent infection. Violet Snow Custom Fabric holds no responsibility or liability about performance of the fabrics or masks made using them. Please visit the FDA Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff on Surgical Masks for more information on how face masks are regulated as medical devices.
1. Proper Size and Fit
Stretch knit fabrics can be used to make masks that fit the face snugly without being uncomfortable. Though many online face mask patterns suggest woven cotton, these textiles have no stretch, which can negatively impact fit. Ensuring a proper fit depends on the face mask construction, test your pattern so there are no gaps at the edges which can allow entry or escape of particles. There are many patterns for face masks online, but all may not be effective. It is advised to test your pattern for size and fit before bulk production of masks.
We have suitable fabrics in-stock & ready for quick shipment:
2. Adequate filtration
to avoid the transmission of particles while breathing, utilizing multiple layers of tightly knitted (or woven) fabrics for the face mask. (This information is based on surgical masks which use three layers of polypropylene, and the N95 respirator construction that has 4 layers, “an outer layer of spun-bond polypropylene, a second layer of cellulose/polyester, a third layer of melt-blown polypropylene filter material and an inner (fourth) layer of spun-bound polypropylene.”)
to allow for comfortable respiration. Layering breathable fabrics provide a combination of easy breathing and increase filtration.
Comfort is essential with the humidity created by breathing. To move moisture away from the face, a wicking fabric on the inside of the face mask should improve comfortability. Many patterns call for using elastic ear loops to hold the mask to the face. Other methods utilize elastic bands or stretch fabric strips that go around the head, which seems to be a more secure method.
- Main Fabric (cotton), 13" x 7", prewash
- Lining Fabric (cotton or flannel), 12" x 7", prewash
- Bias Tape, 2" wide 6" long, prewash (Optional, as nose wire sleeve)
- Nose wire, 6" (Optional)
- Elastic cord for ear loops 16", or, shoelace/ribbon/cord with at least 44" length for the head tie
- Face Mask Sewing Patterns; Choose your option to download and print separately
Violet Snow Custom Fabric does not stock elastic. However, we’ve heard (and witnessed) a shortage of elastic. We suggest trying Etsy, or a do-it-yourself solution: binding strips from higher rebound fabric like our Cotton Lycra.
Inner layer Tip:
A hydrophobic fabric is recommended for wicking away moisture/humidity. All fabrics listed below have a wicking treatment and soft hand for comfort near the face.
Filtration layers Tip:
The filtration layering should be absorbent cloths, which is why many face mask guides recommend 100% cotton. However, filtration testing shows exceptional filtration for blended cotton fabrics. It is advised to use a minimum of three layers for filtration but add more depending on the weight of fabrics being used. Filtration improves with more fabric layers, but the mask must be breathable and comfortable to function correctly. Heavier fabrics provide increased filtration, lighter provide more breathability. We offer these recommendations without test results, and all information is based on fabric construction and fiber properties.
Outer Layer Tip:
Our hydrophobic fabrics are a great option, if positioned correctly, our hydrophobic fabrics may allow inner moisture to wick outward. (This logic is based on the N95 respirators in which the outermost layer is hydrophobic, i.e. repels water.) We do not advise the use of water repellent or waterproof fabrics for the mask, as moisture may become trapped in the mask and be uncomfortable, and could create a breeding ground germs.
- Wash before you create!
- Use mild detergent and non-chlorine bleach only
- Do not wash in hot water; cold water is advised to extend the life of the fabric
- Isopropyl Alcohol may be used for spot cleaning and sanitization purposes. It is advised to test alcohol on a small inconspicuous area first.