I hope this blog post finds you all healthy and well during these crazy times. Here at Big Hollow we have spent lots of time in the past few weeks researching and designing our own version of the most ideal face masks for public use. We have determined that Batik fabrics are some of the best (and most fashionable) to use for everyday face masks. According to Wikipedia, Batik an "Indonesian technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth. Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a tjanting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired". The cotton fabric used for batik is typically the tightest weave and highest thread count cotton you can buy. For all my batik face masks I am using Batik from Hoffman Fabrics which is dyed and Batiked by hand in Bali, Indonesia. It is a 100% quilting weight woven cotton in a 220 thread count.
Here are some good articles about batik fabric, the differences between types of face masks and so forth:
"Which Mask Should You Wear" - another good article from the NYT
In regard to elastic versus ties, both have their benefits. If you are wearing your mask to the grocery store and here and there in the public then I would suggest 1/8" elastic bands for ease of use, convenience, and simplicity. If you are wearing a mask most of the day then I highly recommend wearing a face mask with ties. Face masks with ties will save your ears!! Its crazy how sensitive your ears can be and just wearing an elastic face mask for an hour can make them hurt. So go with the ties if you are having to wear a mask all day (i.e. face masks with ties are perfect for grocery store clerks, post office workers, mail delivery personal).