Straw Port Mask Flaws

Seriously flawed stitching yet functional “straw port” masks… so flawed, I’m giving these two away… visit my Facebook page for more details (link below).

Yes, I’m experimenting with “Straw Port” masks, thinking up ways to keep the hole always covered, even while in use, so as not to totally defeat the purpose. Of course, we’re not supposed to ever touch our masked face… but reality prevails. If you are going to walk around flea markets or other public spaces on hot summer days, sooner or later, you’ll be unmasking yourself or trying to shove a straw up there somehow just to quench your thirst. So, why not make them with straw ports?

It’s NOT PPE folks… it’s a novelty item that offers minimal protection (like most fabric masks), but if it keeps masks on more faces, the better for all of us, eh?

My first attempt was to hide the port in a fake pleat (straw enters at bottom of pleat, travels up a tunnel and exits near mouth at top of pleat) but, the port was located too high, so care must be exercised to avoid shoving straw up your nose.

My second attempt (shown below) hid the port well under black satin ribbon, but the overall width (nose to chin) was way too much, which put the port a wee too low.

The third attempt (below) added a tab to make finding the port easier. I used the same pattern (and fabric) that I tested in my last post, adding a plush cotton pipe cleaner for a nose wire and plastic beads to make the ear loops adjustable. I love the way it fold up to look like a little purse.

As you can see, I made the port a tad too low but, easy pattern adjustment to move it up a bit (still below mouth level so can slide up to mouth instead of straw aimed to go up nose). This design is a keeper… I’ll be selling these for 8 (2 for 15) after I get a few made.

Thanks for looking! And, BTW… if you think adding straw ports is nuts, wait till you see my masks with zippers. Those fly out faster than I can sew them… mostly to smokers who live in designated non-smoking high rise buildings where stepping out for a smoke, even when social distancing, requires wearing a mask. Some people wanted them just so they could unzip for a drink, which got me thinking that a straw port mask would be better for that use unless they want to dunk cookies… odds are, they’re not sipping milk.

Link to Facebook page: https://facebook.com/Mice4Mars

Another Pattern Try

Of course, I just had to try a new mask pattern that was floating around on Facebook (sorry, should have saved the link to the video to credit the designer). This one is cool because it is quick and easy to sew from four identically cut tapered rectangles (the flaps are folded in half and sandwiched between the other two layers before stitching along the two curves). I like how it lays flat when not worn. If you fold it in half, it kind of looks like a little purse. I didn’t bother to rotate the ear loops to hide the knots (or change from blue to white thread) since I was making it for myself.

Masked Selfie, July 2020

Obviously, if you choose fabric with a one-way design like I did, you’re not supposed to wear it upside down. Did anyone notice? No… most people don’t pay attention to such details.

It feels comfy enough, with plenty of room inside (no lipstick smears), and stayed where it belongs okay without a nose wire.

Downsides? It’s not reversible and it’s kind of boxy shaped, goes closer to my ears than other masks and I want to retrofit it with a nose wire but there is no seam on the top edge to sneak a hair pin wire in.

I’m going to try making a smaller version for the grandchildren. If I make more for myself with this pattern, I’m going to sew a pipe cleaner in during construction. I’ve slacked off on making masks to donate or sell, mainly because there are local mask makers cranking out masks by the hundreds in short time, some with obvious access to wholesale supplies. Even those who can walk into a fabric store are way ahead of me… I haven’t stepped foot into a Walmart or any other high traffic store since before the plaque. As for shopping online, I don’t even want to crank the math to see how deep I’m in the hole.

Still, what do I do? Order ye $40 in fabrics today… a fat quarter of candy corn print for Halloween masks, snowflakes and snowmen on red for Christmas, another red with tiny stars, and a couple yards of black, plus lace and trims, because I have ideas in my head and a few crystals in a jar.

I’ve been sewing other things… a fitted slipcover for a chair and a topper for this stool.

Yes, it is the same gold swirl cotton fabric that I used for masks, one of those online purchases with a min. order of 3 yards. I think it looks alright.

Thanks for reading!

Easy Nose Wire Hack

Who knew? Old lady hair pins with coated tips are ideal for adding a removable nose wire to fabric masks for the exact same reason the idea was rejected. They’re too thin to sew in… you can wiggle it out between the threads of your stitching.

Yes, just wiggle it in between the threads of the edge seam ye a couple inches down from the center of the top, slide it on up where you want it, and bend it as desired. What’s cool is those wiggles on the pin landed ye about where I usually bend and the top stitching works like a little casing to hold it in there until you are ready to wiggle it back out without breaking a thread.

I only tried the “thin” pins… there are usually two bundles of pins per package, with one bundle of pins being thinner than the other. You can find them in most any store that sells hair products. A pack of 100 only costs about a dollar.

This will work great on the lightweight reversible “Casual” and “Summer Masks” that I sewed without nose wires, mainly because both styles are shaped so a nose wire really isn’t needed but, some people still want a nose wire.

The denim/batik mask shown in photos is one I made for myself. Here’s the main photo again because I’m going to share this to my Facebook page and it always shows the last photo… yeah, gotta wiggle around all this tech stuff. Thanks for reading!

EDIT/UPDATE 8/19/2020: blew off paragraphs about opening an online store as turned that into an art store… seems anyone wanting a mask just contacts me directly, so no sense posting masks there. If you want to see what is currently available, visit my masks4sale page here on this blog. Thank you!