Sewing Tips

Adding Ties to Face Masks

This is an updated version of the folded “origami style” face mask from the previous post (right-click any blue highlight to open in new window):

One of the benefits of sewing the same item over and over again is that your mind can wander and think of ways to make improvements:

  • more efficient cutting out, especially of multiples
  • simpler sequence-of-stitching
  • possibly foot attachments that can speed the process

For example, some medical staff are reporting that with long work hours, the behind-the-ear elastic on protective face-masks can get annoying. There’s always the option of stitching ties directly onto the mask, right? Here are 3 ways to do that:

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CUTTING THE FABRIC TIES:

For each mask you will need 2 pieces of tape. Some good choices are:

  • 1″ (2.5 cm) twill tape (edges already finished)
  • 2″ (5 cm) bias tape (cut fabric along the 45-degree grain-line)
  • 3″ (7.5) straight-grain tape (cut fabric along the lengthwise grain of fabric)

All three choices will result in a finished tie about 1/2″ (1.2 cm) in width.

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Lengths to Cut (one for each side):

  • Small: 36″ (91 cm)
  • Medium: 38″ (96 cm)
  • Large: 40″ (101 cm)

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Twill-tape is sold by the yard or by the roll (but it’s selling out fast!). It’s used quite often in medical supplies (dressing gowns for example) because it’s sturdy, washes well, and saves time in manufacturing because the edges are pre-finished.

Bias tape: there are many tutorials online for cutting your own fabric on the bias-grain into long strips. The raw edges need to be turned under and pressed before using (unless you have a bias-binding foot for your sewing machine!):

Straight-grain tape: faster to make than bias tape, you simply cut (or rip) strips of fabric along the cross-grain. A rotary cutter is useful here, also a plexi-glass clear ruler. Perfect for this project because it does not require easing around corners. Warning: it’s a bit trickier to stitch than bias tape…it requires some practice!

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ATTACHING THE TAPES:

First step is to trim off 1/2″ (1 cm) from the ends of the mask, since you are not going to make casings:

Using twill tape: find the center of the tape length:

Match up to the center of the mask extension, then move the tape 2″ (5 cm) upwards so that the top gets longer ties than the bottom:

Fold the tape over the raw edge of the mask, and edge-stitch tape to mask, being careful to catch the lower edge of the tape:

I prefer to start stitching at the mask and go outwards to the end of the tape, then flip the mask over and start again at the center, going outwards to the opposite end of the tape.

You may prefer to pin the tape to the mask and stitch the entire length of tape at once, and that’s fine. Just remember to fold under the raw ends of the tape and stitch to secure:

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Using bias tape: Again trim off the excess ends of the mask. Cut your tape lengths and locate the center:

Unfold one edge and match up to the edge of the mask, then move the tape 2″ (5 cm) upwards so that the top gets more length for tying than the bottom:


Stitch tape to mask with a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance, in the ditch of the bias tape fold:

Flip the mask over, then pull the bias tape up and over:

Edge-stitch the tape:

Continue stitching along the edge of the tape, turning under the raw edge at the end:


Repeat for other side of the tape.

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Using straight-grain of fabric: fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press:

Find the center of the tape:

Match up the raw edge of the tape to the edge of the mask, then slide the tape 2″ (5 cm) upwards so that the upper tie has more length for tying than the bottom tie:

Stitch tape to mask with a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance:

Do not flip the mask over, just pull out the finished pressed edge of the tape:

Fold the finished edge over and then on top of the mask:

Edgestitch in place:

Continue edge-stitching, tucking the raw edge under and the finished pressed edge over, as you go down the length of the tape. Be sure to turn under the raw edge at the end. It’s tricky at first but when you get the hang of it, it gets easier.


You may prefer to sew fabric tape “factory style” with no pressing first, just use your fingers to manipulate the tape as you sew:
https://www.facebook.com/stephen.folker/videos/10158315830263816/

I’m sure there are other ways to attach ties but those are my personal favorites! Happy sewing…….Janet

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