How to make a (very) large flat mask smaller?
October 26, 2020 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Sewing experts of Metafilter, help! I found a great face mask that I just had to have (adorable bunny face pattern). Unfortunately, it is much too large for me, and I am struggling to figure out a way to make it fit. It's a standard "flat" type of mask without pleats. Link to the general idea included below.

The closest thing I could find to the mask in question is here:

I believe it's something that was pre-made and then screen-printed onto later, which I found at a "buy-local" craft emporium shop in town. It's just one of those kinds of things where it's all sealed up and you think it will fit... until it doesn't. :(

I have some sewing skills, and in the philosophy of "Measure Twice, Cut Once" I want it to be right the first time. The mask is large for my face overall, so I have thought of folding over the top and bottom of the mask and sewing them down, which would bring down the overall size considerably. Then I would remove the ear loops (also too big) and sew on some new ear/head ties to make it fit better. Would this work?

As I said, I have some sewing skills, but I'm no Martha Stewart by far. I would like to avoid tying knots, as I don't think that would work well enough for the final result. I am open to all kinds of other sewing hacks that can make this work. Thanks so much in advance for any suggestions you have!
posted by chatelaine to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think your best bet is to use scrap material ( preferably a similar-ish fabric) to test out your required shape and size. Once you've got a perfect fitting template you can lay it on top of the too-big mask. It should become clear where you should remove extra material from, or where to pleat to get you a good fit.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 11:44 AM on October 26 [4 favorites]

The mask in the picture has a sharp curve on top that would not be easy to keep if you were folding material. If you are okay with the top being flat after folding, then I think it would be a good idea to fold it down and then hand sew the edges to the back of the mask. Depending on the design, you may not have to fold both the top and bottom, try just the bottom or just the top and see how the design ends up showing. If you want to be sure the fit is good, you could either use safety pins or large basting stitches to temporarily hold the fabric in place while you try the mask on. For the straps, I'd keep them in place, cut them in half so you have 4 straps (one top and bottom on each side) and then sew on 4 longer straps to extend each one.
posted by soelo at 11:53 AM on October 26

I like a good alteration challenge like anyone, but what I’d try first is finding an N95 paper-style mask to act as your “face enlarger” and put the adorable bunny mask over it. This will give it some more structure and possibly improve the fit.
posted by oxisos at 11:59 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]

Some masks I've seen have pulled the loops through a plastic bead like you might see on a lanyard to adjust them smaller.
posted by advicepig at 12:16 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you can make a dart at the chin to give it a closer fit without sacrificing the design. Or run elastic thread along the bottom edge to gather it? I have tied knots in the ear loops of the basic masks to make them fit my face better. You could clip the loops in half and tie in a knot, too.
posted by XtineHutch at 12:22 PM on October 26

I had one like this, I put two pleats in each side, one up, one down, so that the middle section was flat, the rest folded behind. Similar to the second "box pleat" option on this, but mine was bigger to use up more fabric. This shortened the ear loops too.

I also sewed a piece of aluminium into the nose bridge to make it seal around my nose - works fairly we...
posted by kjs4 at 4:16 PM on October 27

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