I decided to weave my own face mesh material for my burqa garment using 1/23″ wide retroreflective strips. The strips are flat, and very flexible and supple, so they are easy to manipulate and weave together. And I think this material will not be abrasive against people’s faces when they are wearing the burqa. The retroreflective material is made by 3M.
I built my own weaving “loom”, which is essentially just a grid made from a piece of flat wood and nails. I made the size of the loom approximately 5 x 5 inches, based on a woman’s average face measurement (width of eyes and height from eyes to mouth).
To make the mesh spacing fairly narrow, I hammered the nails in a straight line close together, approximately 1/20″ apart.
Then, I tied each retroreflective strip in a knot around each nail, and started weaving the strips in a basket weave, like making a woven lattice pie crust. This process took many hours manually, but could be automated with a machine. I enjoyed making this mesh with my own hands. It was very therapeutic.
Here’s a video of my weaving:
Next, I need to test this face mesh on the actual garment, and observe whether people can see through it. I also want to see how it reacts when light is shining directly on it.
Read about the background and inspiration for this project in previous blog posts: