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What has everyone been up to?! Yes, do not roll your eyes… I have a lot of fabric and abundance of ideas. I’m just keeping hands busy and mind content. My gift to you; a DIY fitted face Mask with pattern.

Yes, I know!

I know, I know; before you tell me that this mask will not replace a N95, I know. Depending what fabric you use will depend on the amount of particulates it will filter. There is some interesting data here. I’m not a scientist, but I can draft a pattern.

I’m a maker, and spending safe time in my house I wanted to be productive and make a difference for those I care for if even just a tiny bit. DISCLAIMER: I am not giving any assurance that this will protect you from all airborne virus or like. Research carefully and make your own decisions.

My main purpose is to make a mask that fits me as I like. My international students have the etiquette to wear masks even in the best of times many years ago and I have marvelled at how stylish and comfortable some are.

You will need:

  • Fabric (t-shirt knits, tight weave cotton, dish towel fabric, vacuum bags)
  • Thin elastic (1/8″ – 1/4″)
  • soft bendable wire
  • sewing machine, thread scissors…

Using my ‘mug’ and a mask I designed this pattern (print full size, no reduction on letter size paper) to fit over the nose and give space for the lips. Yes, it has a seam down the middle, you choose. Some have pleats and are quite flat. I find the leakage around the nose can be a problem, and this has a wire shaping as well.

In my research for fabric and material I found that vacuum bags provide good filtration. I do have some HEPA vacuum bags, which have 3 layers. One thing to consider is comfort and breathability and the vacuum bags work quite well.

One way to help make them more efficient is to layer, as I did here with 3 layers. Cut 2 pieces of each layer. Such a great way to use up some of the scraps of ice-dyed t-shirt fabric.

Easy Assembly:

Double up 2 layers and with right sides together, sew the front centre seam. Sew a 3/8″ centre seam of lining as well.

Since every face is different, it a good idea to make a test one. Adjust as you like from there. Here centre seam is sewn.

To keep the shape I press open the centre seam and stitch flat.

This will keep the form of the mask firm.

Since the seams may get thick trim back at top and bottom.

Just like a Pillow:

To join the inside to the outside, is much like making a pillow; sew all the way around (right sides together) and leave an opening to turn right side out.

Note: If you want to attach elastic before turning add to each piece at dots marked on pattern and loop inside. I like the option of adding later so that adjustments can be made; your choice.

After sewing clip corners off without cutting stitches and trim seam allowance as close as possible.

Such a nice shape:

Turn right side out and push corners out with a chopstick or skewer.

The nose bridge fits better if wire is inserted. I used a thin floral wire that it a slight bit stronger than a twist tie. Bend in the ends for safety. An alternate way is to use wired ribbon.

Before tops stitching the perimeter of the mask, insert the wire as close to edge as possible and pin/clip. Top stitch all around and close the opening.

To add elastic after turning loop a bit under so it is 2x secure and stitch on.

The Form & Fit:

The fit is quite comfortable. To size smaller a slight reduction in print size can work.

Everyones nose is different! If you like, you can reduce the height as seen on pattern. The nose wire can be shaped well to fit around your’s.

I wear glasses so I always find issues when wearing my masks for concreting! Yup, when you are a ‘designer’ you are much fussier!

This mask scoops under that chin of mine as well!

TADA! I can feel a bit better. I especially like the ‘vacuum bag’ face masks. They should be cleaned washed after each use. I would not just through them in the washer due to the wire. If you put them in a bag the heat of the dryer will hopefully kill anything.

Some more effectiveness can also be had by spraying the fitted face mask with a solution of citric acid and allowing to dry. Leaving them in the sun lets the UV also disinfect.

I’d rather be making pretty things than medical supplies or a fitted face mask… But this gives a bit of comfort anyways. DO be careful out there my friends!

See the look in my eyes!? The wonder, the caution, the hope of better times soon… but as a very very wise person said to me quite often; things coud be much worse so be grateful.

Yup, it’s odd, I’m a grandma now but I really wish my ‘Mommy’ was here to reassure me right now…


I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 44 Comments
  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I am senior citizen and a Home Health Aide. Several of my clients would feel better with a mask for protection if they have go out. This will give me the opportunity for more protection and peace of mind for my ladies.
    Be safe and thank you again.

  2. You are amazing Barb and such an inspiration. I will try making your mask – I purchased and made your birdhouse a while back and everyone thinks that is amazing. Stay well

  3. Barb, thank you for making this pattern available for all of us out there. Also, Barb, I wanted to say that there have been many, many times that I just wanted my mother. Sometimes, I’ve said that I wish I could just go back home again and everyone would be there. Gosh,,,that tears me up!
    Your friend, Ginene

  4. Barb,
    Thanks for this information. I’ve got 3 men (between 25-35 yrs old) in my garden community who want to be helpful. Yesterday, I discovered a text string between the 3 of them. They were wanting to learn how to sew in order to make masks. I was so surprised and touched. I am going to forward your pattern on to them.

    I love the picture of you and your mask.

  5. Barb,
    I just saw that you live in Hamilton, Ontario. My grandparents were from Penetanguishene and LaFontaine. My Aunt Irene lived in Hamilton. They came to northern Illinois to find work in during the Depression and ended up staying because all of my grandfather’s brothers were here and one of my grandmother’s sisters moved here. As you may know, both of those towns are small. I’ve been to Penetanguishene two or three times. Once when I was an adult. My mother used to go every summer. Of course, all of those people are gone now. Gone but not forgotten, as they used to say.

  6. Thanks Barbara I’ve got to give these a go especially for my parents and aunt and uncle. I went to visit my parents today of course observing the distance rule etc. As soon as I saw her I started to cry coz all I wanted to do was hold her and have our usual cuddle. I’m 60 in August and it’s the first time in my life I havnt been able to give my parents a cuddle. Doesn’t matter the age Barb we all still need our mums 💜

      1. I may have a good method for retrofitting a nose pinch strip to a mask, and a better material for making one. Could you have a look at the instructions on the web page I included. You can publish them, or include a link if you like.
        Thanks for publishing your instructions,
        Best Regards,
        Gordon Graham

  7. I’ve been looking for a face mask pattern to use and this one looks great. I will let you know how it turns out. You are an inspiration!

  8. I work in healthcare in a hospital and am home for a few days, I will be making this for myself and more depending on how my supplies hold out. TY for sharing

  9. Thank you so much ! Very generous to make this easy to follow pattern / instructions.
    It does look nicely fitted and comfy.
    I’ve been looking at online suggestions for mask for several days.
    I had hoped to make some – but after numerous tries – I’m unable to find Any elastic.
    I’m thinking ties would be very inconvenient.

    The comments on filter materials is also helpful !
    I was wondering… would it be helpful to be made with a filter pocket for replacement ?

    Any/all suggestions are so helpful.
    Thanks so much for your contribution during this sooo difficult time.

    1. There are so many questions about how effective material is, and how they can be cleaned. It is a tough call as I wonder what will happen if/when some virus is on the outside? So many things to consider, but do know some do make a pocket to replace a filter. This mask may possibly help, but may not be 100% reliable. Be safe and listen to the pros.

      1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to make and share this pattern and tutorial. I was curious about adding a filter pocket. If I used 2 layers of cotton instead of one cotton and one vacuum bag layer. How would one add an additional inter (to our faces) layer to use as a filter pocket? Sorry I’m totally ignorant to sewing but I’m desperate to do anything to try and keep my family safe. I work in a hospital and my husband in a jail. 😣

        1. You could leave an opening at the middle seam and slide in one there, or leave an end open. After you try one, you’ll have a test ‘dummy’ for sizing and pocket option. Wishing you the best!

  10. Barb thanks so much for this. I found some instructions on Instructables as well, including a link to some articles about the effectiveness of cloth masks. I still think it’s a good ideas to have them. I’m trying to stay home as much as possible due to my asthma and being more vulnerable, but when I go out (if I go out), I’ll be wearing a mask. If only to remind me not to touch my face!
    I love your weekly posts. Thanks so much.

  11. Just to clarify, the best 3M hvac filter media catches between .3 and 1.0 Micron particles which is larger than the corona virus which is a tiny .1. So be aware, using the filters talked about in this blog would not stop the virus. Be careful, be aware, be safe.

  12. Is there any chance you could post a video? I’m new to sewing (other than minor repairs) and I’m having trouble with some of these steps.

  13. Thank you for this easy to follow pattern. My husband has had to wear a face mask in any public area for the last two years as he has a compromised immune system due to CLL, and if he wears this mask, over his surgical mask, he wont feel so out of place anymore.

    1. They are marked on the pattern, I have 7.5″ for the elastic and the metal wire is marked on the pattern. Try that elastic length t see hw it fits you. I think a bit on the longer size is better than too small as an extra knot can help shorten… We are not all the same size. Good luck

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m going to make some for my husband (diesel mechanic who has to be near/inside trucks that have been all over the country) and friends who are in other “essential” jobs right now. I know they don’t give the same protection, but some in my opinion is better than the current none at all… I have a question though. I have whole bolt of Pellon stabilizer (70 peltex 100% polyester), I’ve seen some using Pellon for filters (the polypropylene though) and was wondering if what I have might work for filters? Thanks again for the pattern!

    1. Being more of a maker I can’t really comment on that. It’s quite difficult to determine exactly how dense a fabric is for letting particle through. Try to ask the manufacturer… Good luck

  15. Thank you so much for the pattern. I am having trouble understanding how it’s possible to turn the mask inside out once you’ve sewn the center seam through all four pieces. Am I not understanding this instruction correctly: “Double up 2 layers and with right sides together, sew the front centre seam.” Do you mean sew the center seam separately for each pair of mask halves?

    1. Yes, sew the middle seam of both the inside and outside pieces. Then sew around the outside leaving a little opening to turn inside out. I hope that helps.

  16. Anyway you can send a picture of the mask pattern, the download site wants my credit card information and I don’t trust it.

  17. I do hope you know that vacuum bags (even the HEPA filter ones) contain fiberglass and that you will be inhaling it, and it could cause greater lung issues if you get the virus!!

  18. Should have known you would come up with great pattern Barb! Thank you for putting this one out there to share with everyone! Bless you sweet Lady!

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