Sewing tips

Mask Tips For Glasses Wearers

I wear glasses and many of my friends and family members do too. Now that we’re dealing with winter weather the issue of masks fogging is important to more people. Masks are mandatory in more indoor spaces than before so people who hadn’t worn masks previously are doing so. In my June 7, 2020 post I described my experience sewing four styles of masks. In this post, I describe my experience sewing a fifth style of mask that is intended for glasses wearers and share some mask tips for glasses wearers.

One Size Fits…Some

For your mask to be effective it needs to fit properly. It needs to be large enough to cover both your mouth and nose, but small enough to not have gaps anywhere. Nose wires and nose bands reduce gaps along the bridge of your nose by allowing your to shape the mask to your nose bridge. Nose wires also reduce the amount of moist air that can fog your glasses. Having a mask that fits really well has been the prevailing advice this summer for preventing glasses fogging up.

Here’s a quick re-cap on the mask types I’ve sewed and how well they’re working in winter. See my July post for a links to the patterns and tutorials for the first four.

1) Rectangular Mask

Rectangular masks are the easiest to make. Neither of the rectangular masks I sewed fit my face. I’ve observed many people wearing rectangular masks this winter and most of the had large gaps at the sides of mask and/or at the top of the mask.

 Rectangular mask (pale blue with navy accents) on a green background
Rectangular Mark
2) Pleated Rectangular Mask (aka Surgical Style Mask)

Pleats help a rectangular piece of fabric conform to the three-dimensional contours of the human face. Two pieces of fabric are sewn together then pleated before the elastic or ties are attached. I haven’t worn this style of mask as it doesn’t fit me well. I have observed many people wearing pleated masks. This style fits seam people well and other people less well so fogging may be an issue for some glasses wearers.

Woman with glasses wearing Pleated Rectangular Mask (pale blue with navy accents)
Pleated Rectangular Mask has good coverage but gaps at nose
3) Form-fitted Mask (aka Olson-style Mask)

Form-fitted masks are three-dimensional and have a similar profile to the human face. Four pieces of fabric are needed (two each interior and exterior). Of the four styles of masks I sewed in the summer, this style fit my face the best. Earlier in the year I noticed that when my nose wire was properly fitted to the contours of my face, my Olson-style masks didn’t fog up.

I have been wearing Olson-style masks outside this winter (mostly on public transit, inside stores and from the bus to the store and back again). I have noticed some excess condensation and fogging even when the nose wire is pushed tight against my nose.

Woman with glasses wearing Olson-Style Mask (pale blue with navy accents)
Olson-style mask hugs my nose

I’ve observed many people wearing Olson-style masks this winter. I’ve also noticed that many glasses wearing who do, don’t cover their noses with their masks. I assume they are trying to prevent their glasses from fogging but it defeats the entire purpose of wearing a mask if both your mouth and nose aren’t covered.

4) Duck-billed Mask

A duck-billed mask is another style of three-dimensional mask. It give the wearer’s face a duck-billed profile. The elastic straps go around the back of the head instead of over the ears.

This style of mask requires you to sew curves as well as straight lines and four pieces of fabric are needed (two each interior and exterior). The duck billed mask that I sewed didn’t fit me properly so I haven’t worn it. I have seen 1 person wearing this style of mask this winter (he’s a glasses wearer) and I noticed how far the edges of his mask were from his glasses. This may be a good style for some glasses wearers.

Duck-billed mask (pale blue with navy accents)
Duck-billed Mask
5) Modified Form-fitted Mask (aka Modified Olson-style Mask)

This is another form-fitted mask with a profile similar to the profile of the human face. Five pieces of fabric are needed (two each interior and exterior and one for the nose piece). First the nose is constructed. I used the same 22 gauge floral wire that I used for all of my nose wires. Next the exterior pieces are sewn together and the interior pieces are sewn together. The nose piece is sewn to the exterior piece and the interior and exterior are sewn together.

I sewed some Modified Olson-masks using this pattern:Face Mask Pattern For Glasses. The author describes it as a “fitted face mask for people who wear glasses”.

Modified Olson-style mask (aka Mask for Glasses) (pale blue with navy accents)
Mask For Glasses (Modified Olson-style Mask)

While the fifth piece of fabric makes this style of mask a little harder to sew than the Olson masks, sewing the nose wire was significantly easier. With the Olson mask, the nose wire is bent into a v-shape and then sewn along the nose bridge of the mask. With this modified-Olson style, the straight nose wire is sewn along the straight edge of the nose piece. It’s considerably easier to manipulate the wire into being straight than into the exact three-dimensional v-shape of the Olson-style mask. The overall shape of this mask is quite similar to the standard Olson-style mask.

Two pale blue masks with navy accents. Mask for Glasses (left) and Olson-style Mask (right)
Mask For Glasses (left) and Olson-Style Mask (right)
Wearing A Mask For Glasses

I was really surprised that such a small design change would significantly impact the fit of a mask. This Modified-Olson-style mask really does fit better along the bridge of my nose. They also sits a little higher on my face (just above the bottom rim of my glasses). I’ve worn them outside this winter and have noticed that there is less condensation compared to the Olson-style masks.

Woman with glasses wearing Modified Olson-style Mask (pale blue with navy accents)
Mask For Glasses has good coverage & no gaps at nose

I’ve observed many people with glasses wearing this style of mask this winter. It didn’t seem to get foggy for them either.

Anti-fog tips

Sewing or buying better fitting masks like the Modified-Olson may not be an option for you this winter. Here are some tips for preventing your glasses fogging up when you’re wearing a mask:

  • add a metal nose band or nose wire to your existing mask (soft, craft-style pipecleaners glued along the inside edge are a no-sew option)
  • pull your mask up high enough so that your glasses nose piece sits along the top of the mask
  • use an adhesive bandage or strip of surgical tape to create a seal along the bridge of the mask
  • place a folded tissue along the top edge of your mask to capture moisture
  • wash your glasses lens with soap and water then dry them with a clean lens cloth or towel
  • use an anti-fog spray that is designed for eyeglasses
  • apply a thing layer of shaving cream to your glasses and then wipe off

Regardless of whether you sew or buy your masks, high quality materials and proper fit are key. Unfortunately the style that works well in the summer may not be as good for the winter months. There are several options for reducing glasses fogging.

How do you prevent your glasses from fogging up when you wear a non-medical mask? Comment below and/or Pin this post.


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Sewn By Tanya: Mask Tips for Glasses Wearers
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