We've now reached that stage of the coronavirus pandemic where face masks have become mandatory in Melbourne. But while masks aren't compulsory in Sydney (yet), many of us are opting to wear them. So I've put together this list of businesses that are making face masks right here in our Inner West, so you can protect yourself and support our local artists and makers.
Note: Many of these businesses are 1-2 person operations, and all are currently experiencing high demand. Availability may be subject to change. Check with suppliers when you order.
Enmore local Ash Carter offers two kinds of triple-layer masks. The first comes in a variety of gorgeous prints, with a cotton outer, a breathable poly middle layer, and a soft cotton lining. The second version is a DIY mask that's perfect for kids (and kids at heart). These DIY masks come with a plain calico outer, which you or your kids can decorate with fabric markers or crayons without affecting the inner layers. All masks come with super-soft and stretchy recycled cotton ties, which you can be used to adjust the fit for extra comfort. Available in small to extra large sizes to suit both adults and kids.
BOF! face masks. Order on Facebook
This chic Newtown label has expanded its normal womenswear range to include face masks in designs to suit all ages and genders. They offer both double-layered and triple-layered masks, with the latter made with a nose piece for a more snug fit. Each mask comes with six disposable filters, which you can add to your mask using the insert provided for extra protection. BOF! also produces masks with a clear insert over the lips to make facial expressions and mouth movements easier to see.
BubbaNBooBoo face masks. Order from Etsy
Local mum Sylvia has expanded her vintage-inspired children's wear range to include beautiful face masks for adults and children. These triple-layer masks are handmade from 100% tight-woven cotton and 100% flannelette cotton, and come with a PM2.5 filter you can insert in the mask's side pocket for extra pollution protection. You can further customise the fit using the toggled elastics, as well as a nasal seam that allows you to add your own wire or pipe cleaner.
Cubscout and Co
Danica Martinez face masks. Order from Cubscout and Co
Forest Lodge sewist Danica Martinez creates face masks in five sizes, making them suitable for all ages. Her double-layered cotton masks are available in a range of sweet designs and plain colours, and all come with a pocket you can use to insert a filter or or an additional layer of fabric for triple-layered protection if you wish. All Cubscout and Co face masks are made to order in your choice of fabric.
Order from Cubscout and Co or text 0432 270 455
Dully Locals face masks. Order online
The Sausage Queen of Dulwich Hill, Chrissy Flanagan, also makes triple-layer face masks to the Victorian health department's recommendations. Her masks come with a polyester top layer and two cotton layers underneath, and are made to order in your choice of fabric. Orders can be delivered to you, or you can pick them up from The Sausage Factory at 380 New Canterbury Rd (which sounds like an excellent excuse to pick up some of Chrissy's tasty snags and craft beers while you're at it).
ElasticaStudio face masks. Order on Etsy
Local swim and sportswear designer Toni Noonan has now added double-layered face masks to her Etsy store. They come with an outer layer made from premium European swimwear lycra in a range of colours and designs, with a soft inner layer of organic cotton, and an insert you can use to add an extra layer if you wish. Their nylon elastic ties allow you to adjust the fit, with sizing designed to suit ages 8 and up.
Elle David face masks. Order online
Stanmore mum Nicole has been making beautiful handmade baby and children's items for over six years. Now her range includes handmade, triple-layer cotton face masks for adults and children, with an adjustable elastic that goes around the back of your head rather than your ears for extra comfort. Masks are available in four sizes and a wide variety of designs to suit all ages and genders. Simpsons stans will love the Mr Sparkle mask, while Spider-Man fans will adore the embroidered design.
Embellish Atelier face masks. Order online
This couture milliner specialises in creating exquisite bespoke hats and headpieces, and has now added a line of handmade face masks to its Rozelle store. Each triple-layer mask comes with seven reusable filters, which you can insert into your mask for extra protection. The reversible masks are available in cotton, linen and denim in a range of plain colours and Liberty prints, and the atelier also offers Swarovski and pearl versions for something truly special.
Explosif face masks. Order on Etsy
Local fashion practitioner Rosa normally sells jewellery through her Etsy store. But like many other makers, she started making face masks when the pandemic began. Available in a range of gorgeous prints, Explosif's triple-layer face masks come in adult and child sizes, with a filter pocket for you to add optional extra layers. All masks come with a nose wire and adjustable elastic straps for a comfortable fit, and contactless pick-ups are available if you prefer.
FORD MILLINERY face masks. Order online
This Tempe-based label is well known for its glamorous headwear, including the spectacular headpiece worn by Kate Miller-Heidke during her Eurovision performances. Now they've expanded into fabric face masks and PPE, and as you'd expect, their fabrics come in a range of gorgeous designs and colours. Their double-layered, 100% cotton masks come in three sizes to suit all ages, and 5% of every mask sale is donated to charity.
GOODCLOTH face masks. Order online
Marrickville maker Helena Buljan offers a variety of washable, reusable and sustainable alternatives to single-use items to help people move to a low-waste lifestyle. So it makes perfect sense to see her widen her GOODCLOTH range to include fabric face masks as well. These splendidly named "Stop Touching Your Face!" masks will help you do exactly that, and are made from double-layered pleated cotton for a comfortable fit. Available in adult and child sizes.
Gumleaf Bow Scrunchies
Gumleaf Bow Scrunchies face masks. Order on Facebook
As their name suggests, Gumleaf Bow Scrunchies originally sold hair ties, but they've started producing face masks as well in respond to demand. Made by local mum Kirsty and her 11-year-old daughter, these triple-layer face masks come in a range of gorgeous fabrics, and the pair donate part of their proceeds to Australian charities. To see what's available and place your order, visit Gumleaf Bow Scrunchies on Facebook.
Ladyhart face masks. Order on Facebook
Those familiar with the work of Paige Hart, aka our reigning DIY Burlesque Queen, won't be surprised to see that her face masks epitomise gothic glamour. Made from double pleated 100% cotton fabric in adults and children's sizes, these masks are double folded, with a pouch you can use to insert an extra filter for triple-layer protection. Designs vary based on fabric availability, with Halloween prints coming soon. To see what's available and order, contact Paige through her LadyHart website.
Order from LadyHart (message/DM to check availability)
Lisa Pastelero face masks. Order by email or text 0466 119 021
This Forest Lodge sewist's triple-layer cotton face masks come in a range of designs and colours. They come with a non-woven polypropylene filter made from the same material as surgical masks, which you can insert into the inbuilt pocket of the mask (and Lisa can supply extra filters on request). Lisa's masks come in four sizes from XS to L, making them suitable for both adults and children aged 3 and up.
Order from Lisa Pastelero or text 0466 119 021
Love Laugh and Light Collective
Love Laugh and Light Collective face masks. Order online
Local designer Diane Lewis brings over 30 years' experience in couture garment construction to the fabric face masks she and her team create at her Alexandria atelier. Their triple-layered masks consist of two layers of cotton or cotton ply, with an additional filtration layer of bonded poly-propolene fabric to impede moisture penetration. The lightweight design offers up to 80% face coverage, and is available in a range of sizes for adults and children, as well as many plain colours and prints. Bulk orders available on request.
OxyArmour face masks. Order online
Local duo Kat and Alex began selling face masks during the catastrophic bushfires of 2019/20, when they found it hard to find masks that could help them breathe through the Sydney smoke. So when the pandemic hit, it was an easy pivot for them to add handmade Lockdown Edition masks to their range. OxyArmour's double-layer masks come in a variety of stylish designs, with a pocket for selling an additional layer or PM2.5 filter. They're available in two adult sizes, and a portion of each sale is donated to Share the Dignity.
Rainbow Dino Designs
Rainbow Dino Designs ear savers. Order on Facebook
This Marrickville-based arts and crafts business crochets beautiful, custom-made items such as beanies, blankets and scrunchies, and has now added ear savers to its range. They're designed to be worn at the back of your head when you're wearing a face mask. Simply hook your mask's elastics or ties around the buttons on the ear saver, rather than the back of your ears. They're perfect if you want an alternative to fitting your face mask around your ears, and are available in a range of custom colours and sizes.
Saibatooth face masks. Order from Etsy
Saiba is a personal trainer and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who, like so many of us, saw her work disappear when COVID-19 hit. So she now uses her sewing skills to create double-layered, handmade, 100% cotton face masks in a wide variety of fun prints, as well as plain black. Saibatooth masks come with an insert so you can add an extra layer of your fabric or filters, and are available in adult and kids sizes. If you're a healthcare worker, Saiba will include an extra mask free of charge with every order.
Sew'N by Nerida
Sew'N by Nerida face masks. Order on Facebook
Ashbury resident Nerida Chedra's sewing and alteration service offers scrub hats for surgical use, headbands, scrunchies, aprons, bags, wheatpacks, knitted items, and of course, fabric face masks. Her handmade double-layer cotton masks are available in five sizes to suit all ages. You can also choose from designs that come with or without nose wires to give you a choice of snug but comfortable fits.
TATE & rushidi
TATE & rushidi face masks. Order online
Ruth Tate and Natalija Rushidi's Newtown boutique is a firm favourite of women seeking luxurious yet completely wearable statement items. Now the designers are expanding their locally made womenswear collection to include fabric face masks in a range of styles. A limited edition four-layer embroidered wattle style was still available on Natalija Rushidi's website at the time of writing, but if you prefer a double or triple-layer design, you'll find these on Ruth Tate's website. You'll also find both designers' masks in store at 168 King St.
the ekologi store
the ekologi store face masks. Order online
This online eco-products business sells locally made, triple-layer, 100% cotton face masks. The masks come with an internal pocket that allow you to add a fourth layer if you wish, as well as an adjustable nose wire and ear elastics for a snug fit. You can pick up in Enmore if you'd like to save on shipping, and new stock goes online every few days. As you'd expect from a sustainable business, the cotton in these masks is biodegradable, the nose wire recyclable at your local scrap metal dealer, and the elastics can be repurposed.
The Social Outfit
The Social Outfit B1-G1 Face Masks. Order online
The Newtown social enterprise's B1-G1 Face Masks are so called because when you buy one, they give one to a person in need. As you'd expect from this ethical and sustainable business, each double-layered mask is made from remnant fabrics featuring The Social Outfit's much-loved designs, and provides employment to sewing technicians from refugee backgrounds. Demand has been so high that they've had to cap the number of masks available for sale each day. But if you miss out, you can come back again the next day, as online stock levels are reset each morning.
Vectorpunk face masks. Order online or call 0418 449 707.
Vectorpunk's masks are hand-printed and machine sewn, and its counter-cultural designs are drawn from current and archival works by its creator, Tortuga Studios artist Peter Strong. Their triple-layer design means they can be worn on their own, but you can use the in-built insert to add extra filters or a P1/P2 mask. If you'd prefer a customised mask with your logo, call Peter on 0418 449 707 to arrange it. All designs are available in Adult or Kids sizes, and you can add a donation for Addison Road Community Centre to your order if you wish.
Order from Vectorpunk or call Peter on 0418 449 707
If you're making face masks and are based in the Inner West, email me and I'll add you to the list.
For more info about face masks, including recommended specs for cloth masks, see the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.