This COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way we live our life; with this new norm, it surely distressed the special needs communities, especially the Deaf, Hard of hearing when the face mask has become part of our life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 5% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss. Reading a person’s lips and seeing facial expressions are vital for those who rely on visual communication.
Lip reading is no way possible with the mouth completely hidden behind the face mask, thus, they need a transparent mask to aid them in communication. With that in mind, Kit Kenyon came out with a 3-sizes clear windowed face mask especially to accommodate the communities where lip reading is prevalent.
Windowed Face Mask – Free Sewing Pattern
scroll to get the free pattern & tutorial
The Windowed Face Mask was modified from the original Craft Passion Face Mask (non-pocket version) to include a clear window; by means of using vinyl or a clear plastic sheet; at the mouth area.
As you might already know, Craft Passion Face Mask is one of the most preferred designs for its best fit and comfort; favored by thousands of people who sewed and tested out other designs as well. You may view what others have done with the original non-windowed version in Craft Passion’s Instagram. In addition, hospitals and local communities from many affected countries have been asking their volunteers to sew from this pattern and donate to the frontline workers who needed the face masks during the shortages of PPE.
Now, by adding a clear window at the mouth area, the same best fit and comfortable face mask design will benefit the deaf and hard of hearing communities who depend so much on “listening” with their eyes.
Again, thanks to Kit Kenyon who contributed this customized pattern. As a first-timer in instruction writing, she has put a lot of hard work to write all the details on how to sew it.
Being an educator and also a University Supervisor for future educators who wants to work with students who are deaf and hard of hearing, Kit sure knows how important this windowed face mask is for them.
Kit has been sewing for a few years as a hobby and mostly enjoys making clothes for her sweet child who is almost three now. She knows that she has to modified her favorite Craft Passion Face Mask design when she sees the calls of her students who needed this windowed face mask.
- Main Fabric (cotton), 13" x 7", prewashed
- Lining Fabric (cotton or flannel), 13" x 7", prewashed
- Plastic Fabric (Ex. 4 Gauge Vinyl), 4" x 5"
- Elastic cord: for ear loops, 8" x 2, or, for head tie, 18" x 1, (this is an approximate length, please measure with your own elastic band to judge; as everyone's head and sizes are different)
- or, shoelace/ribbon/cord/t-shirt yarn with at least 44" length for the head tie
- Windowed Face Mask Template, 3 sizes
- Sewing essential
- Sewing Machine or hand sew
- Pencil or soluble fabric marker
- Seamstress tracing wheel and paper (optional)
2. With your marking tools, trace pattern pieces on the wrong side of fabric then cut out your pieces. Snip fabric along facing snip markings for each face mask piece.
3. With right sides together, sew together two mask side pieces along the center seam with ¼" seam allowance to create a mask half. Repeat with remaining face mask pieces. Finish seams as desired.
(wrong Side View)
(right Side View)
4. On the wrong side of the fabric, press seams to one side. Create the window facing by folding fabric along with the window opening over ¼" to the wrong side and press. Be careful not to overextend the fabric where your facing snips end. Repeat along all four sides (the "top" and "bottom" sides may be slightly curved when pressed). Then repeat for remaining mask half.
5. With one mask half, use the fold line from cutting the vinyl or plastic window to align the window piece with the center seam of one of the mask halves (this becomes the front half of the mask). Note: the shape of the window piece does not match with the opening of the mask, you may trim out the excess later.
I find it easiest to first lightly fold the window into the mask half (as shown) and slowly stretch the top and bottom of the center seam away from each other until the window seems to complete the curved overall shape of the mask.
6. CAREFULLY pin the window in place at the center top and bottom pinning ONLY into the facing area and NOT poking any holes into the exposed window plastic. Place pins through the right side of the fabric.
Take your time positioning the window to pin along with the side facing areas (again, imagine the window completing the shape of the mask, not stretching tightly from side to side). Pinning too early then readjusting risks moving pinholes into the exposed window area. (This is already a filterless mask so care is key in making sure they are protective where they can be.)
7. With the right side of the fabric facing up, topstitch the window to the front mask halfway through the facing you created. Stitch carefully, aiming for an ⅛" allowance between the facing fold and your stitches. Be very careful not to stitch through the exposed part of the window. Go as slowly as you need to.
Note: Since we are going to sew through the vinyl twice (once to attach it to the front mask, once when we sew the lining to it.), I later find out that using basting stitch length will prevent vinyl or plastic from tearing. So please set your stitch length longer instead of as shown in the picture. Same applies when you are sewing through vinyl in again step 13.
8. With the right sides together, pin together the front mask half (with window) and the remaining back mask half at the center seam.
9. Press the sides of each mask half towards the wrong side at least ¼" - use this opportunity to make sure the front half (with the window attached) and the remaining back half are the same length (in case of inconsistencies during cutting or uneven seam allowances). Then stabilize by pinning front to back through the center of the mask side.
10. Stitch along the top and bottom seams with ¼" seam allowance. Carefully trim one or both layers of the seam allowance, or trim with pinking shears to reduce bulk when turned out.
11. Turn out the mask, careful not to get tangled through the open window space of the back half.
Press top and bottom seams, careful not to touch the plastic window with your iron. If possible, reduce heat on your iron for pressing around the window area. DO NOT press any part of the window area - it's just plastic. It'll melt.
12. Align and pin the front mask half to back through the facing areas. Again, be careful not to pin through any of the exposed plastic.
13. With the front mask half facing up, top stitch all the way around the facing along the existing facing seam. Remember to set your stitch length longer than usual to prevent vinyl tearing.
14. Measure and cut elastic for the ear loops. Pin one end of the elastic about ½" inside the mask side along the top and the other end along the bottom. Pin in place. (If using fabric ties, bias tape, or other methods of affixing the mask follow those alternate instructions. Then follow step 16 here).
15. Stitch all the way down the side seam with a ¼" seam allowance, catching in the elastic at the top and bottom. Repeat for the remaining side.
16.Mask shaping (as needed for best fit): starting at the bottom edge of mask side, measure and mark up at ½" and 1½" from the bottom. Folding the mask side, match the markings. Fold the bottom-most ½" of the mask side back down. Stitch and backstitch over the overlapping fabric.