Are you happy with the mask pattern you have been using?

I’m only asking as I was not particularly happy with the patterns I used……..until now!!   Just like you, I have made my fair share of masks using different patterns and sewing construction methods. Some just were plain uncomfortable or fogged up my glasses and others were fiddly and time consuming to make. So I was not making many masks until now when it became imperative I do so.

But guess what I stumbled across recently when I needed to make more masks in a hurry as I was going away on a short vacation. IN-THE-HOOP masks! Yes! Every last stitch is done in the hoop and not only that, they are neat, look professional and are quickly made (10 minutes total in 2 quick hoopings). I just made over 3 dozen and had quite the assembly line going using the GR hoop of my Janome MC15000 for hooping #1 and my Janome RE18 Essential hoop for hooping #2.  While the machine was stitching I was removing stabilizer from the previous hooping, pressing and hooping up for the next hooping. It worked brilliantly…lots got done!  Another bonus: it uses up scraps as you only need approx 2 pieces of fabric 8×12 inches for the adult large masks and a bit less for the smaller masks. The scrap stash is slowly getting busted. Elastic? I have  almost a life time supply of elastic so I was good there!

And a word about these designs: design #1 has you stitch the 2 halves of the mask – fully lined with elastic sewed in very neatly and securely. These 2 halves are arranged  side by side but they are not connected. SO please don’t get bent out of shape if you don’t have the Janome MC15000, MB7 or MC550E with large enough hoops for the adult sized masks. Yes, our dealers will, of course,  be very happy to show you these machines with larger hoops! However, IF you own embroidery software or our AcuDesign App, simply chop design #1 in half and stitch out the 2 halves in your smaller hoop. You can use smaller scraps in this instance. You would then have 3 hoopings  instead of 2 but you will be able to make these masks just as easily.

Design # 2 has you stitch the 2 halves of the fully lined and elasticated mask (which you have trimmed and flipped out to the right side + pressed) together down the centre front seam. This could probably be done in the SQ14 hoop although I used my RE18 hoop as I did 2 masks in 1 hooping: I just brought the design into the Edit screen of my machine, then copied it, mirror flipped it and moved the 2 designs to each side of the hoop. This saved on time and stabilizer so I was happy. The RE18 hoop is a very similar size to the 5×7 hoop which is pretty standard. I could also have stitched FOUR  masks together in one hooping if I had used the GR hoop (MC15000) or the RE36B hoop (MC550E) but I was happy doing it the way I did : 2 GR hoopings = 4 half masks and then joining those together in 1x RE hooping = 2 completed masks. You will be amazed at how quickly and neatly these come together.

The free download information below includes a video which you can watch. I took step by step photos as I made my masks which you can also follow below. Please read or watch this first as I was scratching my head a bit until I opened up the designs at the machine and stitched out both hoopings. Then it made a lot more sense.

Step 1: hoop up your stabilizer. Here is sticky stabilizer where the paper sheet has been peeled back to reveal the stickiness. You can also use regular tear away stabilizer. Not cutaway as I think it would make the mask less “breathable” as you wont remove it but that is up to you. I joined my stabilizer down the middle as I only had a fairly narrow roll and was using up what I had. Worked perfectly with the built – in stickiness.

Step 2 is to stitch the placement line directly onto the stabilizer so you know where to position the fabric. Not shown here.
Step 3: lay the outer fabric of your mask down onto the stabilizer making sure it covers and extends a little beyond the placement lines. PLEASE a note I stitched in black for photographic purposes. It showed through the fabric and I would have used white or yellow thread under normal circumstances,
Step 4 is to tape the elastic in position with embroidery tape between the 2 halves stitched and ensuring the loops don’t get caught up in the seam to come in next step. I used pieces of elastic 6,5 inches for me but you will need to figure out the sizing you need.
Step 5 is to stitch the elastic in place

Step 6 is to lay the lining fabric for the mask down on top of the hoop covering it fully and RIGHT sides together.

Step 7 is to stitch the seams around 3 sides of the 2 masks. It does it all for you. No guesswork!

Step 8: Remove from the hoop and tear away all the stabilizer from the back

Step 9:  cut the 2 halves of the mask apart and then cut close to the seam leaving about an 1/8 of an inch along all the triple stitched seams. At the centre front or open parts, cut on top/ right along the stitching as this will be where you open out the mask halves and flip to the right side.

Cut and ready for step 10

Step 10: turn right side out. Poke corners near the elastic carefully And press so seams are even and flat.

Step11: pin the 2 halves of the mask together So that it is very well lined up. Ensure the curved stem stitching is exactly matched. The directions on the download is to staple together but I prefer to pin. Keep the pins away from where it will stitch in hooping #2.

Step 12: Hoop up another hoop with stabilizer. I used the RE18 hoop and copied the design so I could stitch together 2 masks with one hooping – saves time and stabilizer. Step13: Stitch the placement lines – these are VERY important so be sure to stitch with a colour you can see. It won’t be part of the mask so any colour will work.

Step 14: One Mask stitched
Stylus points to the little marking where you line up the pinned masks to get the best position for your centre front mask seam.

Showing how the second mask is lined up with the marking shown in the pic above

Step 15: All the embroidery is now done so it can be unhooped and the stabilizer all torn away.

Turn out

Step16: trim the excess fabric right up against the stitching. It is pretty secure so no need to leave a seam allowance. Trim away any loose threads. Turn out to the right side and press the seam.

VOILA! 2 masks ready to wear. These really do stitch out quickly and super neatly so you can build up a good supply of them for your family and friends.

Do remember that these are not medical grade masks and should NOT be regarded as full protection against Covid 19. But they will protect others and will stop you from inadvertently touching your face. The BEST is to wash your hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer after touching anything not within your “bubble”. ( this includes grocery store carts and parcels and mail delivered to your home! ) And PLEASE be responsible and try to protect yourself and others by following health recommendations. We currently notice the numbers creeping up again – which is NOT good. Let’s NOT contribute to a second wave and possible full lock down again. We are in this together!

And here is the link (below) to the designs for the in-the-hoop mask I found so quick and easy to make AND it fits comfortably. Thank you to The Deer’s Embroidery legacy for making this design available to us in 4 sizes: Adult large; Adult S/M;  Child large and child small. Download from the link below, do one test stitch out to check for the best size for you. I found Adult large was true to size for hubby and adult SM was great for me. I guess kiddies sizes may need tweaking depending on what age we are talking about. But do a test and you can resize up or down 20% on the edit screen of your machine. HINT: save the files with a name you will know for later. Eg a child’s name or something like that. Otherwise it gets very confusing if you have masses of designs as  they all look very similar.
Their designs include an little E monogram. I omitted these 2 colour changes. If you have embroidery software you can delete it or add your own logo or monogram instead. 

Free In-The-Hoop Face Mask Embroidery Design & Tutorial

Note from the Editor: The machine shown in the video on the link to the embroidery designs above is not a Janome but we DO have a multi-needle embroidery machine – the Janome MB7 although you don’t really need anything more than 1 colour throughout for this design (I used white cotton thread) unless you want to embroider a little emblem or logo like they do. I used the Janome Mc15000 as mentioned above but you can make these masks on the Janome MC550E and other Janome embroidery machines provided the designs will fit in the hoops. See my tips above if you don’t have large hoops with your Janome embroidery machine. You actually do not need hoops as large as the one shown in the video – that just uses more stabilizer and is not necessary at all. 

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2 Responses to Are you happy with the mask pattern you have been using?

  1. Elaine Wagner says:

    Would there be a way to add an inconspicuous nose wire somehow? I wear glasses and find that a nose wire really helps with fogging up.


    • Liz Thompson says:

      Hi Elaine,
      This particular design/pattern has a seam up the centre front which is stitched in the hoop. I don’t think I would be happy to stitch over a nose piece in the hoop as it could well damage the nose piece or break a needle? I also wear glasses and have had issues with fogging up on other masks. This one tucks under the bridge of my glasses and I have not had issues. Why don’t you try one and see if it works for you?



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