Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Masks with Nose Wires

For Mask Photos & Order Information, 
please see "Need a Mask" (4/25/20). 
For a direct link, click here.

By the time I saw the pic below on Facebook, the name of the very clever originator had been lost - only the fact that he/she was a librarian. And surely only a librarian could come up with this priceless message for anyone willing to take the time to work it out.

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Grace note:  will get back to Fascinating Books to help you weather the storm next week, but first, I want to pass along what I've learned about masks with bendable nose wires.


I started talking with my son about bendable nose pieces almost six weeks ago. (He sent me photos of his N-95 mask to illustrate.) But since there was no way of getting my hands on anything like that when every mask manufacturer in the world was buying up everything in sight in massive wholesale orders, and there was no way I was venturing out to Ace or Lowe's or Home Depot to see if I could find a substitute, I had to reluctantly dismiss the idea. 

But now when professional mask elastic is finally becoming available to those who are not buying wholesale, so are professional nose pieces—if you're willing to wait a month due to backorders. Sigh. But people are endlessly inventive, recently providing suggestions on the Internet for possible substitutes—among them floral wire, twist ties, and pipe cleaners. (Except even pipe cleaners have become hard to get.)

Rectangular mask w/bendable nose wire

Curved Center Seam Mask w/bendable nose wire

WHY Masks with Nose Wires?

I tried on the first one I made and was sold on the idea. Being able to bend the wire over your nose not only provides a better fit, it lifts the cloth off your nose a bit so you don't feel you're about to suffocate! I've made five now and will be putting wire in all my masks from now on.

While I waited for my orders of professional aluminum nose bands and nice fat pipe cleaners, I looked around the house and said, "Okay, what can I use?" And in my garden cart on the screen porch, I found it. A never-used spool of flower & vine-tying twine—a thread of wire encased in flat green plastic about 1/8" wide. I won't guarantee this wire will hold up to washing until I've actually washed one, but it seems perfectly logical than something designed to be used outside would wash well - particularly when it has a layer of cotton on each side.

There are a number of videos on the Internet showing how to make masks with nose wires. After watching two of them and finding them very helpful, I went ahead and devised a method that suited me - which I pass along below.

Special note:  Being me, I ignored any instructions that included ironing. I would never finish Mask One if I had to stop & iron after nearly every step. So unless you LOVE to iron, forgetaboutit!  And as for a pocket for "filters" . . .  When I was first asked about one of those, I asked for dimensions, thinking we were talking about a pocket for some fancy medical-type filter. When I discovered it meant inserting something like a layer or two of paper towels between the cotton, my eyes bulged. If someone can find medical statistics that says adding paper towels to two firm layers of cotton improves the effectiveness of a mask, please send it to me. Until then, filters? Forgetaboutit!


1.  Cut wire (whatever you're using) in 4" lengths. (101.6 mm)

2.  Using needle-nosed pliers, turn ends under so the wire won't poke through the cloth. (Regular pliers okay, just harder to work with.)

3.  Cut out mask(s) in usual manner.

4.  Pin elastic or ties in place. Right sides together, stitch around mask, leaving an opening for turning, just as for an all-cloth mask.

5.  Mark the Top Center of the mask with a pin or sewing marker pen. Center the wire BETWEEN the stitching line and the outside edge.

6. Adjust zigzag width as necessary and working over center 2/3 to 3/4 ONLY, zigzag wire in place INSIDE the seamline.  (This avoids hanging up the presser foot on the bumpy ends. It also allows you to adjust the wire as necessary to keep it centered.)

7.  Trim thread as necessary. Clip corners as for all-cloth masks. 

8.  Turn rightside out. Poke out corners, smooth all edges, making sure wire has remained centered. (It can still be adjusted by pushing on the knobby ends or finger-pressing in place. Each end should be approximately 2" from the outer edge.)

9.  Insert a pin at each end of the wire - marks where you will later stitch the pocket closed.

10.  Topstitching. (With a longer stitch) You may need to use a zipper foot to topstitch masks with nose wire. My machine does not have a zipper foot; instead, I can command the needle to stitch to the left or right side of the presser foot. When you topstitch, the stitching at the TOP, where the wire is, will inevitably be wider than on the other three sides—anywhere from 1/4"+ to 3/8".

11.  Fixing Wire in Place. Using a short stitch (2 - 2.5mm), stitch a vertical line at each end of the wire, fixing it in place.   

Please note the vertical stitching at each side of wire (top center).

Grace note: If you would like to view the various videos on this subject, 
google "Video Masks with Nose Wires"

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If you are not handy, I am happy to make a mask for you. For a direct link to photos of the styles & fabrics available, click here.

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For Blair's website, click here.
For a link to Shadows Over Greystoke Grange on Amazon, click here.

For a link to Shadows Over Greystoke Grange on Smashwords (20% free read), click here.

  For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

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