BG & ME Creations
BG&ME Creations was born in 2012 as a collaboration between two partners in Burbank, California who share a creative spirit and a desire to make the world a more beautiful place. ME designs and makes jewelry, with a special affinity for bead weaving and chain mail, as well as artisan bread making. BG is the seamster, designing and making jackets and bags, often with beaded or machine-embroidered embellishment.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 prompted us to establish BG Mask Designs. Both BG & ME have identified risk factors, so we took the warnings very seriously when they were first issued. The consensus among the rationally informed seems to be that the pandemic will be with us for a while, as will the need to protect the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. But there is no reason to abandon aesthetics, so even though the primary concern of BG Masks is to curtail the spread of disease, they aim to do so with comfort, durability – and, of course, style!
BG Mask Designs began with the simple notion shared by many applied artists: “I can make that!” So we set out to explore the sewing patterns offered or recommended online by whatever experts we could find. We tried a few of them out, but all of them fell short of what we were looking for. The remaining option was to design a pattern from scratch that met all of the criteria we had for comfort, durability, effectiveness, and practicality of manufacture.
BG Masks are designed and constructed to achieve the closest fit possible while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably without touching their face to adjust the mask. Dual embedded coated copper wires allow the top edge to be conformed more precisely to the shape of the wearer’s nose and cheekbones. Side pleats and, in some cases, bottom pleats or elastic, create shaping around the cheeks, jaw, and chin. A front curve from nose to mouth creates additional breathing space without compromising fit around the edges.
(A note on the copper wires: Numerous available online sources indicate the anti-microbial properties of copper. In fact, copper is used in some healthcare facilities for door handles and other high-contact surfaces – even touch plates specifically designed for the purpose. There is not enough copper in the BG Mask wires to represent any significant protection against the virus, but it is another example of BG Mask Designs’ philosophy that it never hurts to put in a little extra, just in case it might help.)
One advantage that handcrafted cloth masks have over standard surgical masks and N95s for non-medical use is that they are washable and thus reusable. BG Masks are made from materials that are safe to wash and dry at high temperatures.
(It is recommended that BG Masks not be washed or dried in the same load with hard or heavy objects that might cause undue abrasion of the fabric covering the wires.)
BG’s decades of experience as a seamster ensure that the construction of the masks incorporates sturdy seams and clean edges for durability throughout many washings and wearings.
BG Masks are embroidered with a simple “you’re welcome” in the inner lining to reinforce the message that non-medical masks are worn not as much to protect the wearer as they are to protect others from any infection the wearer might be carrying. (And, in the opinion of BG & ME, as a symbol of the importance of recognizing the current need for everyone to do their part to consider the welfare of our whole community.)
The best methods for protecting ourselves are distancing (including avoiding crowds), hand washing, and avoiding touching our face.
Fit is important in a cloth face mask.
The primary goal is for the edges to remain close to the face to block as many airborne particles and droplets as possible. Thus flexibility and adjustability are necessary to conform to the contours of individual faces.
Also, good fit is necessary for comfort, and comfort is necessary when wearing the mask for extended periods without putting your hands to your face to fiddle with it.
Since not all faces are created the same, BG Masks offers two fit profiles to accommodate some of the differences. Trim Fit is recommended for faces with smaller features. For those with larger features, the Generous Fit provides more fabric around the chin and jaw.
Below are some of the design aspects of BG Masks that make them fit comfortably while helping to prevent the transmission of airborne particles and droplets.
Nose Bridge Wires
Dual adjustable coated copper wires ensure a close fit under the eyes and across the bridge of the nose. Wires are crimped at the ends to prevent poking through the fabric.
While there is probably not enough copper in them to provide the antimicrobial protection of handles or touchplates ... well ... hey, couldn't hurt, right?
Vertical Front Shaping
Vertical shaping provides more room in front of the nose and mouth for more comfortable breathing than standard flat masks (such as surgical masks) that can often feel like they are being sucked against your face when you inhale
Trim Fit Pleats
Two pleats on each side of the trim fit profile provide shaping around the jaw,
and maintain a close fit in front of the ears.
An additional benefit to the design is allowing fastener cords to slide freely, allowing for tightness adjustment between the head and neck (does not apply to ear loops).
Generous Fit Pleats
With the more generous fit profile, three pleats on each side, along with pleats at the bottom, give the same close fit, even with additional fabric to cover more ample facial features.
Elastic may also be added to the bottom edge to provide a closer fit under the chin. (This replaces the bottom pleats on the Generous Fit profile.)
The fashion/apparel/clothing industry is becoming increasingly notorious for its negative impact on the environment. There is only so much one sewist can do to have a more positive impact, but we at BG Mask Designs believe in taking the opportunity to do so when it presents itself.
One thing we found to do is use fabric repurposed from our discarded shirts, sheets, pants, and whatever else we can find that would otherwise wind up rotting s-l-o-w-l-y in a landfill.
Nor do we believe in making intentionally disposable "fashions" that change faster than the shutterclick of an influencer's camera. We believe in quality of both materials and construction. and we try to keep our masks out of the landfill as long as possible.
BG Mask Designs are for adults only.
We are not experts with the standards and requirements for children's apparel, nor with the regulation of those issues.
Not only do we want to avoid any potential liability but - more importantly! - we do not in any way want to risk the health or safety of anyone, particularly children who are dependent on us as adults to protect them.