Geek Girl Tutorials

A catch up post from June

How to Customize Your Face Mask

I may be coming a bit late to this party. Now that I am back at work, my face mask collection has increased significantly. Unfortunately, none of the masks I’ve purchased have had wires. I drive a school bus and wear glasses. I need something to keep the fog away while driving! So last week I took all my masks and added wires to them.

Now you can too! It’s a simple matter of basic sewing!

Tools and Materials

  • Your face mask
  • Pipe cleaners or floral wire (you can even use twist ties, but you have to use the ones that have plastic on the outside, or else it will dissolve in the wash. I find those uncomfortable, but if it’s what you have, use it!)
  • Thread. You can either use matching or contrasting thread. I’m going to give a couple of ways to sew this, if you want to be obvious or not.
  • needles, pins, scissors. I’m picky about my scissors, so I used sewing scissors for the thread and regular scissors to cut the wire.
  • A seam ripper. If you don’t have one, you can use a pair of tiny scissors, but you need to be extremely careful what you are cutting!


Pins placed for wire spacing

1. Put your mask on, and bend it around your nose. Carefully place a pin in the mask towards the outside of your eye, past the “apple” of your cheekbone. If your mask is symmetrical, you can then take it off, fold it in half, and place the other pin. If that doesn’t work, place a second pin carefully on the other side of your mask. You want the space to be long enough to conform to most of your face. The longer it is, the better. But for some, having the wire all the way across the mask is uncomfortable.

Seam ripping the top of the mask.

2. Now look at the construction of your mask. If your mask was made with just the one seam, you might have a nice ready made pocket for your pipe cleaner. Great! Move on to step 3. But, chances are you have a seam right there at the top that you need to pick out between the two pins. Pick out that seam and move on to step 3.

Laying out the pipe cleaner

3. Lay out your pipe cleaner between the two pins (bending as necessary around any shaping) and cut to fit in the space between. Continue to step 4 if you don’t care if your stitching shows. Skip to step 5 for a less obvious stitching method.

4. The obvious method: Backstitch (see links at bottom for how-tos on all the stitches) along one pin so that your pipe cleaner doesn’t go wandering. Then put your pipe cleaner between the two layers of fabric, pin as necessary, and whipstitch around the pipe cleaner and the top of the mask till you get to the other side. Backstitch along that pin to hold the pipe cleaner in place and tie off the thread. Et voila! You have a wired mask. Bend the wire around your nose and head off!

My bad zigzag stitches on my Van Gogh mask…

5. The less obvious method: This works easier if you have a mask with a pocket for a filter. You can do it if it’s just an accordion or pleated mask, you just have to be a little bit more careful. You are going to stitch the pipe cleaner between the back of the mask and the seam allowance on the front of the mask. When you’ve ripped out the seam, there should be some fabric hanging down into the space between the layers. That’s what you are going to sew to, this time with a zigzag stitch, because you can’t go over the top. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end where you’ve placed your pins, so the pipe cleaner doesn’t go wandering.

There you have it! All my masks.


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