In today’s post: Learn how to convert the ear loops on your fitted fabric face masks to stretchy straps for a better, more comfortable fit!
I started sewing fabric face masks three or four months ago, and in that time I’ve made hundreds. Most of those were donations, but I have made a lot of masks for my own family. I’ve sewn up at least five different patterns in various sizes, trying to figure out which ones fit the best and are the most comfortable. While different styles fit some our family better than others, the two most important things I’ve learned are:
- A comfortable mask that fits well makes ALL the difference in how well you’ll be able to tolerate wearing it.
- A mask with a stretchy strap that ties behind the head is WAY more comfortable than ear loops or straps that don’t stretch.
How to Make your Fabric Face Mask More Comfortable
I have swapped out the ear loops on our masks to a soft, stretchy tie made from t-shirt fabric, and it’s been a game changer! Here’s why:
Ear loop masks can be great, but only when the loops fit really well (or are adjustable, which most aren’t, unfortunately). If they are too loose you’ll end up with gaps around the mask and it will fall down when you talk. If the ear loops are too tight they will rub behind your ears and pull your ears forward. Even when the fit is right, they can feel uncomfortable when worn for hours at a time.
Masks with straps that don’t stretch are just as bad, and I find that it’s hard to get those to sit in the right place on your face.
But a mask that has a stretchy strap which ties behind the head solves all those problems. It takes the pressure off the ears, so it’s much more comfortable, and it makes the fit totally customizable:
Additionally, when you need to take your mask off for a few minutes, you can pull it down but leave it hanging around your neck. That eliminates the need to hold it or stuff it in your pocket, and helps the mask and your hands stay cleaner. I think this will also be a big help in ensuring kids who are wearing masks at school don’t loose them.
The good news is that it’s easy to swap out ear loops for a stretchy strap on most fitted fabric face masks (this will not work well on the pleated style masks).
Convert Ear Loops to a Stretchy Strap VIDEO
I’ve created a video that walks you through how to convert the ear loops on your fitted fabric face masks. I’ll show you how to swap them out on a homemade face mask, and also how to convert a mask I purchased from Target. The video also shows you how to wear and tie this style of mask.
Favorite Face Mask Patterns
Finally, if you want to make some masks, I thought I’d leave links to the patterns we have ended up preferring (after lots of trial and error). There are my family’s favorite fabric face mask patterns. They are both free and both have EXCELLENT instructions and lots of helpful resources.
Best Fit Face Mask from Pretty Handy Girl – this is the one I make for myself and it comes in a variety of sizes
Face Mask Sewing Pattern from Craft Passion – this is the one my daughter prefers – it is a bit more contoured and also comes in a variety of sizes