Face Mask FAQ

You make binders full-time! Why are you also making masks?

The pandemic’s still on and people still need them. And as usual, we’ve found our niche in making customized things that fit well and do the job. We make masks that work for people who find the typical, mass-produced stuff isn’t working at all. The half n’ half and cord-tie styles are adjustable for any head and any hair. The flannel-covered nose wire blocks glasses fog like nothing else we’ve tried. And some of us just need a mask that matches our binder, too.

What are your masks made of?

The body of all our masks are two layers of 100% woven cotton.

Ear loops are made of spandex.

Cords are ⅛ inch Multifilament Polypropylene (MFP) Rope, a synthetic similar to nylon, and are tied on with a plastic cord lock.

What’s the difference between ear loops, cord ties, and hybrid?

Ear loops are long strips of rolled spandex that anchor the mask at your ears (or at an ear saver, like a headband with buttons sewn on.) Loops are threaded vertically from side corner to side corner. This is the standard style of mask, and the one most people are used to.

Cord ties are ⅛” MFP rope that threads through the mask and around your head. The cord isn’t stretchy and must be tied and/or secured with a cord lock (included). This takes longer to put on and take off, but it’s comfortable, secure, and allows for a wide range of adjustments.

The Hybrid has a long spandex loop across the top which secures it around the back of the head, and a ⅛” cord with a cord lock that secures the bottom of the mask around the back of the neck. It’s Eli’s favorite. Easy to adjust, comfy, creates a good seal, pulls the top corners of the mask up and the bottom corners down, and doesn’t touch the ears.

What is the nose wire + no-fog strip?

That is an extra paid add-on! We sew in a tin tie — like the kind used to close your coffee bag — so you can conform the top of your mask to your nose. This can help with getting a good seal on your mask and relieve some of the nose-squishing.

The no-fog strip is a cotton flannel case for the nose wire that adds a bit of comfort, and also catches moisture from your breath to stop your glasses from fogging up.

Where do you get your awesome cord?

Thanks for asking! We buy our 1/8″ multifilament poly cord through our local crafty kink company, Agreeable Agony. Check out their amazing rope selection right here. We support local businesses and businesses in-community as much as we possibly can, so we’re delighted to sell tie-on masks made with AgAg cord!

Can I pick up my mask in Brattleboro?

If you are or are going to be local to Brattleboro, VT, absolutely! Just select Local Pickup at shipping; we will email you further instructions.

As a Vermont business, we are following government guidelines to keep our risk of transmission down and protect ourselves, our neighbors, and all of our customers. We ask that customers picking up orders follow the emailed instructions to our studio’s outdoor dropbox, and not come inside the building.

How do I use my mask?

First, wash your mask with hot water when you get it home. Make sure to wash before wearing!

When putting your mask on, using clean hands, touch only the ear loops or the cord, adjust the placement and, if your mask has one, the nose wire. Avoid touching the body of the mask. Pinching the edges or the side trim is OK.

When taking it off, touch only the loops or the cord. If you expect to have to wear it again in the same day, set it face down on a clean paper towel, napkin, or tissue to avoid cross-contamination with the table, and so you can easily access the loops/cord to pick it back up. Or hang it from a hook. If you’re done wearing it for the day, place your used mask immediately in your washing machine or in a container where it won’t contaminate other things or people.

Basically, use the same precautions for the body of your mask that you would for a cutting board that had raw meat on it.

If you have to go out multiple times a week and can’t wash your mask after every use, it is strongly recommended to have multiple masks on hand.

For more information and a visual demonstration of how to put on and take off your mask safely, there are several videos from licensed doctors online. Here’s one of our favorites by Dr. Sydnee McElroy.

How do I care for my mask?

Wash in hot water upon arrival and after each wear. If you ordered a cord-style mask, we recommend using a delicates bag to avoid the cord getting tangled up on the agitator or with other clothes. Don’t feed after midnight.

Do masks really work?

A well-fitted mask, used properly, does three things:

  1. Filters out small, aerosolized water droplets with a virus in them (like from a sneeze or cough).
  2. Stops your own droplets from spreading to others.
  3. Keeps you from touching your nose and mouth, two vulnerable points that can both spread the virus to other people and expose you to the virus.

None of these can 100% stop Covid-19, but all of them help to lower your risk according to studies like this one performed by Texas A&M, especially alongside other precautionary measures.

Who do you donate masks to?

As of spring 2021, most public places in our area have switched to the now-plentiful disposable face masks for their needs. Brattleboro has an active mask tree in Pliny Park, and that is where we hang most donated masks.

In 2020: hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, schools, and nonprofit organizations local to us here in southeastern Vermont. Also, protestors against police brutality across the country.

What are you doing to keep folks safe during the pandemic?

All shifts in the Shapeshifters sewing studio are now staggered; no two people occupy the same space at the same time, unless they’re already quarantining together. HEPA air filters are changed regularly. Every worker has their own set of tools; all tools and all surfaces are sanitized at the end of each shift.

Though binder manufacturing must be done in-studio due to industrial machinery, the mask-making process is as work-from-home as we can make it.

All employees have unlimited paid time off for as long as we can sustain it.

Thank you, always, for your patience and your support as we navigate this world with as much care as we can muster.