We’ve done the hard yards and tried a bunch of cloth mask patterns so you don’t have to! This page summarises that information to help you make, use and care for your reusable cloth masks.
Our top pick is the:
Got you covered! pattern by Apple & Fig
This mask pattern has all the features we felt created a good fit, is designed with three layers, and has excellent instructions and tips for customising the size. It requires an intermediate skill level, but is totally achievable by a keen beginner.
We are currently selling the materials packs for this mask. Please come speak to staff at the MakerSpace @ Physics to purchase them.
We also have additional sewing and fit tips below based on our experience with the pattern. We of course have a sewing machine available to all inducted members. If you're new to the space, check out how to join!
Mask packs cost $4.00 and include:
In choosing materials, we considered several factors. In particular the Victorian DHHS recommendations for materials, this recent peer-reviewed study on fabric filtration efficiencies, as well as material availability.
As the DHHS guide points out you can also use old clothes, shopping bags, and shoelaces. Which highlights an important point – mask fit is far more important than material choice, as poor fit significantly reduces effectiveness.
What's inside our mask pack (for making 1 mask)
Wearing a reusable cloth mask protects the people around you much more than it will protect you.
It is very important you handle and wash your masks properly to avoid increased risk to yourself. Wearing a mask must be done alongside the fundamentals of washing hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and physically distancing from others.
The World Health Organisation has excellent resources on safe use and care for your mask. We've replicated their infographic (click to enlarge) and video below. Please take a look at both.
When we tested the Got you covered! pattern, we found the below considerations and modifications helpful in getting a great mask, and a great fit.
Our top mask pick may not be for everyone, so here are a few honourable mentions:
^Our rankings are a 1–5 scale, with 5 being best.
*A 2-layer mask can easily be made as a 3-layer. See our sewing tips.
Got you covered! by Apple & Fig
This pattern has all the features we felt created a good fit, including a nose piece for a close fit around the nose, pleats that allow room for your nose and mouth, and a drawstring-style binding channel for the ties. It’s designed with the all-important three layers, and has excellent instructions and tips for customising the size. While we rate it at an intermediate sewing level, it’s totally achievable by a keen beginner.
Hybrid Cloth Mask by Iris Luckhaus
This mask was a close runner-up (after much debate). It has a more complex pleating pattern and a trapezoidal shape, which complicate assembly. Using Iris’s photo tutorial may help, as the instructions are relatively brief. It does have a removable wire piece to prevent kinking in the wash, and its pleating pattern can be more comfortable for some face shapes. We recommend printing off the folding guide for this design as it makes the pleats a bit easier to understand and fold.
Cloth mask by DHHS
This mask is very easy to sew, and the drawstring sides create a similar fit to neater, pleated masks, although we found the scrunched material sat against our mouths. Adding a nose piece would improve the fit, particularly for people who wear glasses.
Origami-style mask by Aplat
This mask design was easy to sew and folds away compactly. Unfortunately, its lack of pleats and nosepiece limits its effectiveness and forces air out past the nose. Guaranteed to fog up glasses and safety glasses.
Florence Face Mask by Free Sewing
We’ve taken to calling this style the butterfly style of mask. This style is relatively easy to sew and is very popular in commercially purchased masks, although this version does not have a nose piece. The key drawback is a lack of pleating, which means the mask is quite flat across the mouth and is likely to shift during natural movements such as yawning, requiring constant adjustment (not great when you’re trying to avoid touching it!).
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