FAQ: Masks

You would think a facemask is a simple thing, but there are many ways to cover your face. And the recommendations for materials and designs to deal with COVID and other contagious diseases are complex and still changing as we learn more.

In the last few months, many people have put effort into figuring out the most efficient and comfortable ways to wear a mask.  This FAQ will help you look at the options out there and make a more informed choice.

Q: What types of masks do you have?

We carry two types of generic premade masks that we can ship out directly, and several types of masks we make to order.

Q: What masks are premade?

For general use, we carry a flat pleated mask and a more form-fitted design commonly known as an Olsen mask. These are both made from patterns requested by hospitals to have people make and donate during the early stages of the pandemic.

The flat pleated design is based on the pattern that was distributed by JoAnn Fabrics for their donated mask drive and used to create masks for hospital workers, modified as my household has used them in the months since. The official Olsen mask pattern can be found here. Our design has also been adjusted to handle the issues we've run into as we use them.

The fabrics are chosen by the sewist based on what they have on hand and any notes the customer includes in the order form. They come with cotton fabric ties (options for elastic and t-shirt ties with adjusters will be coming soon).

Q: What do you mean by "custom mask"?

These mask patterns are more complex than the premade patterns we use, and have been chosen to address various problems that people have using the more generic types. For example, if you have a beard it's very difficult to get a proper seal around the bottom of the mask with the generic types. We've created a pattern to address that. 

Facial hair, eyeglasses, narrow or broad features, injuries/disabilities are just some of the reasons why the widely available masks may not work well.

Ordering a custom style mask from us is a bit more interactive than the premade ones.  We will need to work with you to find out what you need out of the mask and help you choose the type of mask that will address the issues.

In the order form Notes area please briefly describe what issue you're trying to find a solution for along with your measurements and our artisans will contact you. We will work with you to create a mask that helps you address your challenges and makes you much more comfortable and secure. We have a range of materials and several patterns already created to handle issues. We can also modify them or even create new ones if those don't fit your needs.

Tie and accessory options are much more varied.

Q: Which size should I choose?

That differs from mask pattern to mask pattern, but you can get some general guidelines in our Fitting Guide.

Q: What fabric options are available? How can I choose colors or images on the fabric?

As we say on our catalog pages, we can't guarantee a given fabric because we are subject to availability.  That said, I have a large and varied personal stash of fabric, and two large fabric stores in driving distance. I have three full totes of options to choose from. 

If you have a favorite color, a favorite character, or a favorite style of fabric, let us know in the notes field of the order form and we'll do our best to get as close as we can!