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I love to design, and this pandemic has given me a new reason! You won’t believe how I make a pattern of a face. Here’s a new Ultimate DIY Fitted Face Mask & Pattern and how it came to be.

Funny face:

I hear you laughing… I was trying to laugh too. Yes, when you want to create a pattern from a 3D form what do you do?! I could not put my face in silicone soooo, tape is the next best thing. To create the ‘space’ that I wanted inside the mask I created (taped) a bunch of paper towel in from of my mouth and nose.

Next step is to cover my face with tape as close to the shape as possible. I know you are wondering if I could breathe – yes a little. But it’s all for the sake of making people a bit safer with a good mask so it was worth it! The masking tape underneath would allow this to come off a bit easier. Who needs facial waxing?! This pattern is great (thousands have downloaded) but our face does not have a centre seam. ‘And I love the challenge of forming a pattern. I have done that most of my life but never for a face! How unique the facial form is…

I have made forms of bodies and feet this way but never a face. I know it’s ‘my’ face but I think I’m pretty average… ok I have some cheeks!

Before the digital age I had taught 3D design (when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth) and we would deconstruct shapes to flatten into fold up paper structures so this is much the same since fabric is as flat as paper.

It needs to be symmetrical and looking for the flattest planes helps to where to cut it into pieces.

Marking where pieces attach & line up is the same as the notches in sewing patterns.

From these pattern pieces I added 1/4″ seam allowance to the DIY Fitted Face Mask Pattern.

The Pattern:

You can download the pattern here

Cut the Pieces for the DIY Fitted Face Mask:

Once you have printed the pattern (100%), cut the pieces as marked. This pattern makes an inside layer and outside layer; pretty identical shape but the sides are open to allow easy turning and also to make a filter pocket if you want to insert filters.

**UPDATE: I have updated the pattern file as there may have been a layer that obstructed the view if printing. Feel free to download the fixed one.

Step 1:

The hardest part of this design is the top of front nose piece. To make it easy clip the top inside (as marked on pattern) curve so that it can stretch around the top curve of the nose piece. Matching notches, sew with the large face piece on top so that you can see as you slowly sew around the curve.

Step 2:

After opening up the front (press if desired) I topstitch it towards the outside. It will keep it’s shape much better and therefore not always be touching your lips and nose.

Step 3:

The rest to make this fitted face mask is quite easy. The chin piece gets attached to the bottom matching notches and centre. You can do a bit of a ‘fit test’ to see if you need adjustments.

Step 4:

Again to keep the shape I topstitch towards the bottom. This is a polyester knit so it keeps it’s shape well. I know many suggest cotton however I wonder about the way it absorbs moisture and keeps it. Why is all workout wear not cotton? I suggest that you make your own choices of fabrics and also filter products as there is so much conflict for each material.

Step 5:

Repeat all the same with the lining fabric. In this fitted face mask I used a cotton.

Step 6:

Fold the lining ends inward (edges can be finished if desired) and only sew top edge

The there is a nose wire/metal band ironed next to the seam as I did with the Snug-nose Bridge Mask.

Fusible webbing and some strips cut from cans like sardine (top flap) or tomato work great.

Step 7:

With right side together sew the bottom seam again folding back the lining sides.

Step 8:

Turn right side out.

Carefully fold bottom and top edges.

Step 9:

I top stitch the bottom chin edge to keep it flat.

Step 10:

Fold inward and stitch the casing with straight or zigzag stitch.

Step 11:

I have started to not use elastic due to the irritation it can give and also I like to use up what I have. Cutting t-shirt fabric 3/4″ (across the knit) or so will make a nice round somewhat stretchy cord that is soft.

This fabric had so much stretch that I just used a strip as a tie.

Oh the stash of fabric remnants I have… Now I can have a mask to match each garment I had sewn prior.

This DIY Ultimate Fitted Face Mask pattern fixes some of the design challenges of the chin fit as well as the room for lips & nose. The nose bridge does not have a seam so it can be very flat incase your glasses it on top. All these make a little difference but over hours could be annoying.

When you make a mask for the first time for yourself, test the piece before you put the lining in. Adjustments can be made by slightly adjusting seam allowances as well or printing the pattern at a slightly smaller size.

I have been enjoying some sketching again as that’s how I best visualize all those ideas floating around in my crazy-artist-brain! Let me know how you like your mask. Stay safe and we all look forward to the future…

barbmaker

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

This Post Has 105 Comments

    1. I like the shape of the pattern. Saw some making the seam down middle then pressing both layers outwards which leaves only stitching between you and the air. The reaon it has to be tight woven cotton as per guidelines of CDC report is because it stops droplets at .3 microns. Sadly or stupidly th report has a first chart that everyone shared that shows first testing that tshirt material did that better but not in terms with covid 19. The next 35 large paragraphs show why they move tshirts to absolute bottom and cotton weave to top. Easy way to tell is hold up to light. Or a desk lamp. If you see light get through cannot use. For droplets in or out. There is no do what you feel ots science. Covid 19 is .1 to .05 microns. Half a micron but it exists mainly in droplets. N95 masks are only. 1. Ther is No mask material at .05 except forest fighters plastic cone types which Calif lent to our Los Angeles hospitals. Its not about thick or thin. Sweatshirt material is knit. Still would let droplets in. Athletic wear is purposely porous to let swear out. Why they say it wicks and keeps you cool. Using any athletic wear fabric is exactly counter productive. Plus in talking to a nurse in new York who started a sewing group. Told me I’m exactly correct. They are now ironing the cotton after bleach soaking 30 mins and washing and drying. Covid lives from 40 degrees to 149 in labs. Dryers go to only 129. Irons are up around 400 degrees. If I’m out 5 mins and no one sneezed around me I re iron my mask every time. I did switch to poly cotton 60/40 tshirts cut and rolled for ear ties. Besides hurting it doesn’t survive bleach washing and ironing. Most high poly materials also cannot be ironed. After reading 100s of science articles and watched more than that of YouTube makers from beginning I made end casings.. Then supply a long string if anyone wants to change out the ear ties. I make a pleated version and a sqaure version designed by a nurse. Going to work on a more shaped one. But again your pattern is great. Just materials not recommended.

      1. Thanks for chiming in! I DO want people to make their own decisions! The basic cloth masks are more about protecting others from your particles as I understand. Much careful fabric/material choice would be needed for N95 equivalent. As for ironing, if you use a ‘press-cloth’ it does help stop the melting onto the iron. Stay safer 😷

        1. If you could use a HEPA allergen vacuum bag for these and double stitch the boarders, it would improve the filtration of the mask by a lot. Just make sure you separate the layers and cut the plastic from the bag w/o cutting the seam of the bag (use the natural seals where possible.)

    1. I think choices are evolving all the time and I hope everyone uses their choices for the fabric as they research. I do know that in asian cultures they have been wearing masks for many years already as a courteous way of not spreading their colds etc and have not been using cotton completely. Also, the non-woven polypropylene is also not a natural fibre like cotton. Stay Safe!

      1. Hi Barb. Hope you are well. I’ve been trying to download the pattern for your DIY Ultimate Fitted Face Mask but I can’t get it to download. I’ve even tried every download button. Could you please help me?

  1. oMg … this mask is a fantastic form and function fashion statement!

    YOUR gorgeous fabrics are total runway material

    AND seeing the artist actually sacrificing themselves for their art

    AND what an excellent lesson in pattern-making!

    AND … those poignant self-portraits … so avant-garde

    1. Thanks so much Brenda!! It’s the ‘Da Vinci’ coming out in me! Much more fun than my usual drawing lessons! Hope my scary ‘mug’ doesn’t put off readers!

    2. Hello…my name is April I live in Canada and was just curious I do not own a sewing machine as I’m a single divorced mother of a 16 yr old son ..is there anyway I can make these masks and sew by hand? I do love to sew but cannot afford a machine. If so ; do you have any patterns for hand sewing? I also love to make pillows. Hope you are staying safe and are well. Hope to hear from you soon.

      1. You could use a fabric that doesn’t fray too much, as finishing the edges is the hardest part. The first mask pattern is quite easy as it has a centre seam. Just make sure you do a lot of little stitches. I like to use a fold over casing to thread the strap through and use t-shirt fabric cut in strips.You may also look on local selling sites as many home sewers are selling them.

  2. Perfect! Being a theatrical costumer, duct-taping over a tee-shirt or socks is how I have made bodices and custom boots for 50 years. This is a lovely design! I love the inset! This style is better for folks with asthma and other sinus conditions. You will still warm the breath and make sinuses run for many, but it won’t be putting pressure on the nose which is more irritating for some. Note: with some minor alteration at the sides of cheeks, you can forget the “over the ear” thing completely and go one wide strap around the neck that goes under the ears and velcros. I have small ears and cannot wear a mask that hooks on the ears, they constantly come loose. You can also merge the upper and lower ties behind the ears into a single wide strap that fits much better. Luckily, I’m also a wood worker, so I have had time to try different styles over the years. Love my RZ and re-engineered Vog for light work.

    1. Not sure what the equipment is but yes, you understand form! I believe it’s natural for an artist to be inquisitive about form and pattern. It’s part of drawing as well. I keep looking at all the masks on people when I am out and think… it could be better! Next may be one with stiffening 🤷🏻‍♀️

  3. Barb, love the design of the mask and as well your artistic drawing skills! I will be trying this out as I finally got to get fabric today! Yeah!!!

  4. Non so che dire….eccezionale tutorial, molto bella la mascherina e molto bella la modella. Bellissimi gli schizzi!!!! Proverò anche questa mascherina…..Grazie, grazie e mille volte grazie……

  5. Un caro saluto dall’Italia, qui le cose vanno un pochino meglio soprattutto nella nostra regione e speriamo che continui così per ritornare alla normalità che, sono sicura, non sarà più come prima. Riguardati…….E alla prossima…….

  6. Hi Barb, Thank you so much for taking the time and making the decision to improve your original face mask patter which I really liked. I am going to make this one to see which one I like better. FYI, I use the small round elastic cord for the ear straps. As a matter of fact the length I used was off of a package wrap that I saved and is gold. I may not wear the mask as long as some people but the ear straps have never bothered me.. I also use fusible interfacing between the fabric and lining for an extra barrier. I read that the interfacing because it is non woven works similar to a filter. If you use stretch knit you may not was to use the fusible kind. I have washed the mask several times and it has kept its shape and not bunched up because of the interfacing. Stay safe, stay well.

    1. Thank you for offering your patter for use. I am very interested to try it as I have a nephew with asthma who hasn’t been able to wear other masks yet. Thank you for the idea that tape could help determine a precise fit. That is the #1 challenge as a very novice sewer. The download doesn’t work. Is there something more I need to do to get the download? I don’t think it is an Adobe issue. Thank you in advance for your help.

  7. Great job ! Thanks for sharing.
    This pattern looks like a well fitting mask !

    I was able to download the pattern, but not seeing a way to print the instructions.
    Did I miss a link ?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
    p

  8. I am very interested in trying your Ultimate Fitting Face Mask pattern but cannot download the pattern. I do not know what i am doing wrong and would appreciate assistance. Is it perhaps because i had not donated to your site yet?

  9. Hi Barb, I’m the one WHO WS LOOKING for a pintted pattern for your mask. so finally got off my duff ad bought a print &ink, now I can’t print the pattern, message comes up, convert pdf file nd does nohing I’m lost to say th least LOL, he n wesome day

    1. If your computer won’t print the PDF you may need Adobe Acrobat Reader. You should not have to convert the PDF at all to print as that’s the standard format for best printing. Maybe search what the message says. I know the first version of the pattern had an extra layer, Download it again and see if it matters. I have updated it.

  10. Bravo Barb! Your latest mask is so well-designed and drawn ( as Brenda mentions :)) )
    Kudos on sharing-All your great work to help us be well and to safely-relate….
    Kind and HeARTy Thanks!

  11. Hi there, love your face mask! I’m not very good at sewing and I’m wondering do you sell them already made? If so I am very interested!

    1. I’m so sorry, I just do not have the time to deal with shipping across borders, it’s really not worth it to most. Check local sewing centres and maybe suggest a pattern. Stay safe!

    2. I sew and sell stuff. If i’m understanding Barb’s pattern credit, I can use her pattern and make you a mask so long as I don’t claim to have made the pattern my self. Email me if you want a mask.
      Email me, Barb, if you have an issue with me using your pattern.
      Thank you both.

      1. Sure, Make them! Just don’t sell/distribute the pattern. Any credit would be appreciated. You may also consider sizing, as someone said it felt like it was a man’s size. I guess I have a pretty full face 🤪

  12. And I’m very lazy … I took the smallest baby’s cap, ripped off the visor, edged and sewed elastic bands

  13. This is fantastic Thank you! We’re going to give this a try. I need something fitted for my larger head and to combat my glasses from constantly fogging. Question – Where exactly is the pocket for filters?

  14. I love love love this pattern I was just wondering how to i large it for a mans face or small child. I have made hundreds of mask and find I like this one most. Fantastic job such a pleasure finding you on the web.

    1. I have had a comment from someone saying that they feel this is sized for a man. I guess our faces are all so different! I have a pretty full face, so maybe start with that and then reduce 10%. That would be an inch smaller over 10″ length. Takes a bit of math but measuring would be best…

  15. You don’t have to approve my comment for public. Just noting my research to yiu. I like the shape of the pattern. Saw some making the seam down middle then pressing both layers outwards which leaves only stitching between you and the air. The reaon it has to be tight woven cotton as per guidelines of CDC report is because it stops droplets at .3 microns. Sadly or stupidly th report has a first chart that everyone shared that shows first testing that tshirt material did that better but not in terms with covid 19. The next 35 large paragraphs show why they move tshirts to absolute bottom and cotton weave to top. Easy way to tell is hold up to light. Or a desk lamp. If you see light get through cannot use. For droplets in or out. There is no do what you feel ots science. Covid 19 is .1 to .05 microns. Half a micron but it exists mainly in droplets. N95 masks are only. 1. Ther is No mask material at .05 except forest fighters plastic cone types which Calif lent to our Los Angeles hospitals. Its not about thick or thin. Sweatshirt material is knit. Still would let droplets in. Athletic wear is purposely porous to let swear out. Why they say it wicks and keeps you cool. Using any athletic wear fabric is exactly counter productive. Plus in talking to a nurse in new York who started a sewing group. Told me I’m exactly correct. They are now ironing the cotton after bleach soaking 30 mins and washing and drying. Covid lives from 40 degrees to 149 in labs. Dryers go to only 129. Irons are up around 400 degrees. If I’m out 5 mins and no one sneezed around me I re iron my mask every time. I did switch to poly cotton 60/40 tshirts cut and rolled for ear ties. Besides hurting it doesn’t survive bleach washing and ironing. Most high poly materials also cannot be ironed. After reading 100s of science articles and watched more than that of YouTube makers from beginning I made end casings.. Then supply a long string if anyone wants to change out the ear ties. I make a pleated version and a sqaure version designed by a nurse. Going to work on a more shaped one. But again your pattern is great. Just materials not recommended.

    1. Sure! I really did design this to help others! DO NOT sell the pattern though. It would be great to give credit/links somewhere to the designer. It’s not the same as what these guys did as they gave no credit and reap in millions $ STAY SAFE

      1. No, I can’t keep up with the site, designs and making. Perhaps you could take pattern to a seamstress. There are many many people making masks…

  16. 5 Minute Crafts never give credit to the originators. My suggestion is to create your own YouTube channel and do videos featuring your patterns/designs. Make sure you state that they are your own designs. The kicker is that 5 Minute Crafts make a fortune (literally) for sharing a ton of uncredited material!

    We’d follow, watch, and share!!!

      1. I would love to have the pattern for the ultimate mask. I have copd and think this could help. I couldn’t find the spot to download. Please help. BTW. Your masks look awesome

  17. Thanks so much for making this pattern available, and I really admire your drawing skills. I just made a cotton mask from this pattern today, and I love the way it fits! I was feeling stifled by the masks with the middle seam, and your design is great because it actually takes into account that there is a nose and a mouth in there. 🙂 I have a smaller face, but I found that just tightening the elastic I use allows the mask to fit tightly enough that there isn’t any gapping around the mask. The ends of the mask do touch my ears, so that’s the only other change I might make if I sewed this again. Thank you again — this is an ingenious and unique design that I will be making again.

  18. I saw your mask design on Pinterest. I love the design as it is unique! I am excited to sew one today!!

    Thank you so much!!

  19. love this post, thank you for sharing your talent. Looking forward to trying your pattern, thanks again, stay safe

  20. I have been scouring the Internet searching for face mask patterns that do not touch the mouth and can have a clear insert substituted in front of the mouth. This pattern appears to have potential!

    With those goals in mind, would there be room to sew 1” or 2” braided polypropylene horsehair on the main pattern piece following the seam of the front inverted “U” pattern piece to stabilize the material? —Would I need to add a strip of horsehair across the chin piece too, or is that overkill?

    I would then substitute clear vinyl for the inverted “U” pattern piece.

    Next, these are being donated to a region where AC units are few and far apart, so I need to reduce the surface area of the mask. This means the sides need to be reduced and of course the chin area will need to match the reduction . —Do you have suggestions as to how to accomplish these changes? Do I need to maintain the same shape, or can I modify it to look something like the mask used for CPR?

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of alterations. Sure the side could be shorter, as could the chin a bit. When in doubt I make a mockup to test. On another note, have you tried using zip ties as a stiffener? I’m not familiar with horse hair. This pattern has 2 seams that make a ‘V’, maybe there could be stiffening on each side. I worry about the plastic fogging though… Another idea: Use the flat pleated edge type pattern, and add a zip tie across at bottom and top of the vinyl square. It would bend outward when the side casing is pulled (use a casing rather than just added ties)

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your design. Do you have any advice for a beginner sewer navigating around the curves of the piece, besides go slow?
    Thank you again

    1. Curves seem crazy to do especially when they are not clipped first. Clipping to pretty well the seam line makes it then be able to be flattened. Also having the clipped piece on top allows manipulation and also see where you are sewing. Sometimes if it’s not quite close enough I do a second stitching. It’s really not that bad, one time and you’ll be a pro…

  22. I am very impressed. I have been making masks for NAS in Pensacola because they were all given those black one layer disposable masks, (which they hate). Since they have to wear their masks for 8 hours a day they have been coming up with small issues. 1. It keeps touching their nose making it harder to breathe,. And 2. It fogs up their glasses.
    I did extra seams for the nose touching but couldn’t figure anything out for the fogged glasses. So I am excited to try your design.

      1. OMGOODNESS I. Just wanted to report back and say so far the guys like having that different design option. They love it not laying on their nose. I did find some of those colorful sun blocking fishing shirts that are real silky feeling and cut them up and used actual mask filters for the inside fabric (just in case) and sent them today to see if they help with this Florida Heat. Now I am going to try your new pattern and see if I can solve their glass fogging issues.
        Thanks so much for sharing all your steps.😄

  23. Hi Barb!
    Your Nose Gusset face mask pattern is awesome! Best fit of 7 different types of masks that I have sewn. I did not like the fit of most and after sewing your mask, I have ended my search for perfect fit. I have found it; your pattern!
    Your illustrations are lovely and the stages you went thru to make the pattern are amazing. I recently did similar paper bag and masking tape pattern for a Kitchen Aid mixer cover. It was ok, but not perfection.
    Thank you, Thank you!!
    I enjoy your various artsy projects. Keep up your creativity.

  24. Hello!

    Thank you so much for sharing your pattern! This is by far THE. HARDEST. face mask pattern I have tried, but definitely worth trying. I’m sure that’s from my own incompetence in sewing since I don’t sew, and only started since this pandemic hit. I’ve sewn a few masks for my family and tried about 4 different patterns. I LOVE this one! Thanks again for sharing with this unartistic, unimaginative, barely capable sewer, trying to keep my family safe!

      1. To be fair, I had to piece my fabrics together because my scraps are too small and for them to fit my teenage daughters, I had to print at 80%. But by the 5th mask…I had it down!! The first 2 had to be thrown out. We all love this pattern so much better though!

  25. July 30, 2020,
    Hi Barbara,
    It is so luckily to see you cloth face mask 3-D design,.it is the best I even seen,
    Would you please email me the patterns so that I can print them out.
    Thank you very mush,
    William Wu,
    London, Ontario,

  26. Thank you very much pour this pattern !
    I’ll try to sew it in place of an another with jonction on the nose that disturb me.
    In France we’ll have to wear a mask everywhere soon because virus is coming again…
    Take care of yourself !

  27. I’m a little confused with step 1 on this mask you indicate to “clip the top inside (as marked on pattern)” but the picture seems that you have clipped the large face piece. I ended up clipping both.

    1. The large curve of the bog front piece needs careful clipping so that it can lay flat to sew. What you may see is that I notch out triangles to let the seam allowance sit flatter on the centre piece. Any bulging round shape has too much extra seam allowance, any inside curve needs clipping to stretch flat for sewing. You’ll get it….

  28. Barb, the pattern has clip lines on the nosepiece, did you mean to put them on the large main piece? The large main piece seems to be the piece that needs relief in order to curve around? Or am I having a brain freeze trying to sew these seams? Love, love, love the pattern, and your illustration process.

    1. Do you mean that it needs clipping? Yes, to sew a curve the easiest you need to clip to almost the seam line to be able to flatten it. The nose piece goes in after the top seam is sewn so it can be ironed snug into the edge.

  29. I’ve struggled to find a mask that fits my face well. Making your own pattern shaped specifically to your face was brilliant. Had to use aluminum foil though as the only tape I have is heavy duty duct tape.

  30. Thank you Barb for sharing your pattern and going to so much trouble for us. I am from India and it’s hot, humid and stifling. Masks are mandatory so I will use 3 layers of cotton. And I plan to handstitch . Our govt says masks are to protect others. And N95 or those high filtering masks are for emergency workers and hospital staff. This mask is reusable. And I can sterilise it myself

  31. I love this pattern so much! It seems to be the only mask I can tolerate. The only real change I made was using paracord and a cord stop to keep around my head, and I added pockets on the inside to place plastic canvas for even more support.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so generous with your talents! It feels good to see again, and your instructions were perfect for this inexperienced hobbyist.

        1. I have seen the ones where it is a square so I think it would act the same. My concern would be fabric choices (stiff enough to keep from collapsing) and how much it would fog up, but that would be the case with any I’d think.

  32. This is by far my favorite pattern! My husband likes the N95-Style face mask, but I like having the fabric under my chin. As I mentioned in a comment on another of your posts, when attaching the inner fabric to the interfacing, you can stitch narrow channels through which zip-ties can be inserted to add structure to the mask.

    Another trick I incorporate with all patterns — when attaching the inner and outer fabrics (right sides facing), sew the top edge of the mask first, leaving a one-inch opening about 3 inches (half the length of your nose wire) from the center. Then top-stitch around that opening, with the inner and outer fabrics laid flat. Finish the bottom edge (again, right sides facing). After turning the mask right side out, top-stitch a 1/4-3/8-inch casing for the nose wire. The opening in the seam allows you to remove the nose wire prior to laundering your mask and/or replace the wire when it breaks. Thanks again for all of your creative work! ~ CA

      1. Hi Barb,
        Thank you for allowing us/me to you your mask pattern. I am an essential employee and wear my fabric mask to/from work and under my droplet mask to keep my face from itching or breaking out. At least ten co-workers have asked me to make them a mask. Unfortunately, I can do that because I also have two kids at home doing school online and work full-time. I am however making several coworkers mask.
        You’re right the curve is a challenge and not just on the first one. I love the masks I’ve made and choosing my own fabric.

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