One of the most common questions these days for people making medical fabric masks is: How long should the ties be on a fabric face mask? The second question is: “What material should I use for fabric ties?”
And strangely, the answer is, “It depends.” So I have provided some answers to both questions to help you determine your best approach.
There are a variety of mask patterns that people are using, because the recipients often have specific requirements or preferences. So this post is breakdown of what I’ve seen and learned so far.
How Long Should Ties Be For A Face Mask…
With vertical ties?
For those of you sewing fabric masks with vertical ties, if you are attaching them permanently, the range has been between one continuous piece of fabric/tape/t-shirt that measure 36″ – 40″.
In the above face mask tutorial , I used 36″ long piece because that was a nice length for various head sizes, but I have seen some people going as high as 40″. The breakdown of the 36 inches is this: you have 4 inches to cover the raw edge of the face mask’s sides and 16 inches for the top and bottom pieces that are used to tie it securely.
If you are going to use t-shirt ties either sewn onto the mask or threaded through a casing, some people have made each piece as short as 30 inches.
I am still using a strip that is 36″ long and even with t-shirt ties. Since they are often threaded through the casing, you can use your first mask to determine the best length. The more flexibility people have when securing the mask, the better so I tend to opt on the longer side since trimming the ties is easy to do.
Also, I cut the ties 1.5″ wide then puuullll so that the t-shirt material rolls (pictured in the next section).
With horizontal ties?
If you are making a mask with ties that run horizontally, the most common number I’ve seen is 40″.
It is likely that people are using that extra length because the length of the mask is greater than the height. So, the longer tape as part of the design is there to allow for long enough ties to secure the mask.
What Materials Are Best For Mask Ties?
The beauty of makers and crafty folks is that they are truly industrious, especially in times of crisis. This trait is nowhere more apparent than in the groups helping to get face masks and other PPE to those in need.
When considering materials for making mask ties, the most important thing, I feel, is that they can stay secure once fashioned. We don’t want the masks losing their seal regardless of design.
Some materials that people have used to make fabric mask ties are:
- Packaged 1/2″ bias tape
- Cotton fabric or sheets cut up to make their own 1/2″ tape (doesn’t have to be on the bias).
- Twill tape
- Grosgrain ribbon
- Cotton jersey knit (like a t-shirt, pictured below). You can create t-shirt yarn and then cut to size. Or you can immediately cut strips to the size you’ve determined is best for the design you’re sewing.
Ties On A Face Mask Are Just One Option
Face masks make a difference in a variety of settings so, just as there are a selection of mask designs, there are many materials that people can use to secure a mask. Securing or threading ties is just one option and the other main option is elastic.
If you have any additional questions you’d like answered, please contact me and let me know. If you’re wondering about how to do something, I know a lot of other people are hoping to find an answer as well. We are in this together.
Share The Goods
If you are an organization in need of handmade items – not just face masks – please feel free to contact me and let me know more about your needs. There are a lot of people with home studios who want to contribute and are looking for a variety of ways to volunteer.