Friday, January 23, 2009

Bio-Hazard Surgeon's Mask

It has been a while, hasn't it? In anycase here is a surgeon's mask. Hot off the press. Just for you.

There are loose tails because I am on the fence about this project. I am not sure if I want to classify it as a failure or finish it and be happy. I am not too pleased with the workmanship on it, the only thing I am happy about is the hand turned edges along the top and bottom (I always derive pleasure from turning edges for some reason). I am terrible with drawn shapes, the pattern I drew was off from the start, so the embroidery is just not geometrically accurate. The circle part of the symbol is more like a fat triangle; I didn't even follow my own drawn lines in some places so there are a couple stumpy branches on the biohazard symbol. To make matters worse the functionality of the object has been compromised, in making room for the embroidery I changed the pleats. There needs to be more pleats, they need to be more shallow and they should span from top to bottom; the result is a squished nose when this mask is worn! The sides where the straps are attatched are too stiff leading to strange puckering. It is shoddy, even so, I love the appeal of the mask, so this is why I am torn.

This is the third surgeon's mask I have made, all told. The first was a prototype that I was generally pleased with, the second was a test to improve some concerns, this time was an attempt to address aesthetics. It is a project I pick up from time to time, the others were done some time ago, and I contemplate the topic every now and again. I am developing the "pattern" for it as I go along. I think that I am doing well enough, never having seen the real thing. I think I may just chalk this one up as a learning experience and when I get the itch to make surgeon's masks again, probably in a season or two, I will have fuel for improvement.

Why? Well I am not sure.


  1. Hello! That's a very intriguing design. I love the uniqueness of it.

    My suggestion is you make your pattern more of a square pyramid shape. You could still add more pleats if you want, but you make them stepped so there's never more than 3 layers of fabric at a time, that may stop it from being so stiff. You could also make the pattern on the bias, might make it easier, but you've got to remember to turn the embroidery.

  2. Hey those are great suggestions. I stepped the pleats on the last two I made, but in trying to add the embroidery I made some changes for the worse. For some foolish reason I never thought of cutting it on a bias, even though I know the principle well. I think the square pyramid shape could make for an interesting contrast to the old fashioned pleated rectangles; I could definately see the shape used as a futuristic post-apocalyptic inspired mask. HMMM!