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After having my mask keep sticking to my face I knew there was a better way… Welcome the next in my series; the DIY N95-Style Face Mask Pattern. It closely mimics and holds shape as the N95’s.

Am I a mask expert? No, but I am one of those particular people. When I see something that is not functioning well I want to make it better. It’s how I have been pretty well as long as I can remember. The curve of the Ultimate Face Mask also scared some sewers so this only has a point.

What fabric?

I have been going through my stash of fabric (trust me, it’s a pretty extensive collection) and holding it up to the light (to see the holes) and over my mouth to test breathability. I question the high thread count cotton as it’s so difficult to breathe through!

I saw some advertising of using faux ‘Shammy’ fabric. These brand-name products are a non-woven felt like fibre made of rayon and polypropylene. It’s quite thick as it can hold a lot of water. Since I do a lot of dyeing and sewing I have to know my ‘fibres’. Rayon is a natural fibre made of wood products, absorbent as well. You may have a blouse that is quite comfortable to wear and also very silky soft; it’s probably Rayon. Viscose is almost the same as well. Craft felt is often only polyester and much thinner. There are some wool felts but I am not sure of the comfort level.

I was told that cotton can take the moisture from the covid partical where as polyester does not. Odd, as any professional N95 masks have no cotton in them. (Do your research)

These shammy’s (like Sham-wow) are machine washable and some even bleachable. I love felt type of fabric since it does not fray at edges, can be sewn so easily and hold shape well. I have used industrial felt for purses and containers often.

Back to Designing:

My N95 mask (from concreting) is sturdy and stiff. I like that. It stays OFF the face and he round outer edge rests pretty well around a wide variety of face shapes. So, from that shape I took my inspiration.

I teach a technical type of drawing so I understand form quite well. I love the challenge of working with forms (I guess that’s why I like concrete) and constructing or deconstructing them.

Fabric is flat and then needs to fit a rounded form. How ‘cool’ is pattern making?! I have never had to ‘fit’ faces; usually just my ‘bumps and lumps’! Round becomes flat… awesome.

I have fond memories of my mother working as a milliner, over a wooden head form making exquisite hats for some very sophisticated ‘dames’. She would cut and sew and steam and get such amazing shapes. It’s been over 50 years but it must have made an important impression. Look how similar to the N95 the shape is!

I have made a pattern for you; download it here:

The DIY N95-Style Mask Pattern:

  • Can be left unlined
  • Bias edge finish, no turning
  • Optional extra stiffening insert
  • Very flat Metal Nose Piece
  • Keeps form & shape
  • Innovative 2 piece Pattern
  • Adjustable tie casings

Print the Pattern at 100% (note folded piece) and cut the pieces. I like to trace it on the felt with a fine marker as then I can cut it more accurately.

As with the ‘Snug-nose Mask Pattern’ I love using the iron-in nose strips. You can put it in place before assembly if not lining or between the layers if lined. For the unlined version cover the inside with some folded bias fabric. Keep it .25″ from the edge.

The Scary ‘Point’:

The nose section is sewn in 2 stages. Match the dots after clipping to the dot.

The stitching starts at the ‘dot’ and continues to the edge. Clipping around the face curve helps sewing the curved seam.

Not so scary… 1/4″ seams.

After the first half, open at centre and match the other side and sew to the matched dots again.

It is like 2 seams that meet at the dot, and clipping is vital. If, it is too complicated, feel free to add seam allowance at the centre and then treat as separate seams (but still match dots)

The bottom centre seam is much like a dart; and ends curving into the edge at the dot. Trust me, after one, it’s super easy.

Looks odd, but has great shape already.

Since this felt like ‘shammy’ is a felt, it does not fray and can be trimmed very close. I love that about working with felt.

Turned right side out it holds shape already, without any pressing at all.

See the unlined and lined option. Rayon is not uncomfortable and this mask pattern does not really lay on the face, so I actually like it in one layer… but suit yourself. (skip down to the edging if no lining desired)

Lining Optional:

If desire you can also line this N95-Style Face Mask Pattern. Repeat the same steps as for the outside with a cotton fabric. Be aware of breathability. I like to top stitch to keep seams as flat as possible and less ironing.

Shape Stiffener:

To make a mask not be able to keep collapsing you can also add some ‘boning’ as they call it in the fashion industry. Remember the corsets? To add a flexible but shape hugging strip ‘zip ties’ can be easily cut and inserted into an added casing.

Determine where you would like the strip to follow across, higher near the nose is better as that is where the space in the mask is most comfortable. Cut a 3/4″ strip of fabric on the bias (45˚ angle) and pin across.

Stitch across on the wrong side of lining.

Sew the casing by leaving a space wide enough for the zip-tie.

When using a lining the metal nose piece is ironed into place between the layers. (make sure to keep at least 1/4″ from edge)

Stay stitch lining to outside, wrong sides together.

Edge Finishing:

As an edge finishing, the outside edge has a bias strip applied. You can use purchased bias band or easily make your own.

I like to stitch the outside last so I sew the first seam from the wrong side.

Fold over to the right side and topstitch the bias band only on top and bottom edges. (side casings will be folded)

Sew the casing line on one side. Insert the zip-tie and cut to length taking in account of the fold for the casing.

Sew the other casing line. This will keep the zip tie in the channel.

As an alternative to double folded bias, you can ‘cheat’ by only folding back and leaving the raw bias edge on the inside. Bias edges tend not to fray. The seams are also cut very close so there is no large seam to bother your face.

Tie one on:

Rather than elastic, (which is getting scarce) I love to use t-shirt strips! If you use a t-shirt with some lycra it has a great stretch, and is soft in the ears. 3/4″ wide or so works well and a ‘Pony Bead’ can act as a toggle.

So, what do you think of this N95-Style Face Mask Pattern? It holds shape nicely, stays off my skin, breathes well, and is blue. But you be the judge… I have a few patterns to offer. We all don’t like the same.

But above all, make good decisions and practice good cleanliness. I hope to just help keep you safe and comfortable one mask at a time.

barbmaker

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

This Post Has 102 Comments

  1. Barb,
    Thanks for all the mask tutorials and patterns. You are obviously working hard to perfect the shape and breathability. Let’s hope we don’t need them for very long!

      1. I have spent 1.5 hours trying to find the pattern for the mask for glasses wearer. I am willing to pay for it but it is absolutely no where to be found. I am so disappointed! Please, Please send me the pattern! If I need to buy it, send me the link to pay for it! And the last thing I need is a PDF Donloader.

      2. Hi Barb thank you for your good work and so very kind heart to share this pattern with us all. I wasn’t able to download, so I drew up a grid and sketched out the pattern. I am going to work on cutting and sewing it tomorrow. It is late of night here in Gold Coast Queensland Australia. We in this state have had only 3 carona cases and no deaths. The total deaths for Australia has only reached low 300’s. Not sure of the actual count at present. Our borders closed very early and it seems to have been the best action, so far. I haven’t heard any news of Canada even though we have family their they are not close. I send my best wishes to you and your family to stay safe . Narelle Jones

        1. If you compare the size to the original by measuring – Divide the desired size by the original = __% to which to print pattern. I hope that makes sense, some simple math.

    1. Thank you for the fabulous patterns. I can’t wait to try them out.

      I have been using Fabritac glue by Beacon instead of sewing . Works fantastic. The COVID pathogens are smaller than a human hair and can invade through sewing needle holes. The glue can be washed and so strong you would have tear the fabric before it would come apart. I have used on outdoor awnings and it has never separated even in highest wind.

      Clip the curve around the nose of Main pattern piece( top portion of mask). run a thin bead of glue and fold back edges of seam allowance to glue down. Lay this glued piece over the 1/4” seam allowance of nose piece. This center part of mask is most important to keep free of stitching holes. The rest of the mask can be stitched or glued to complete. The glue adds a stiffening affect to the mask center which holds the mask away from the mouth.

  2. Have you considered making these and selling them to those of us who are unable to even thread a bobbin….it would be a great service

    1. Well, there are not enough hours in my days as I also teach. Making this available is the best I can do. I know from shipping the odd item that the shipping costs often make it not worth buying as I’m in Canada. Check local buy/sell sites as many home seamstresses are sewing masks and could possibly make a custom one. Best of luck…

    1. I washed mine before using and can’t say if it shrunk as I did not notice, and it was easy to iron, even though it hardly wrinkled. The ones that are Shamwow imitations are probably better than the wizcloth as it’s really thin.

    2. Yes, I had washed mine and did not notice a size change as it was pretty well the same thickness, and it can be ironed. They suggest air dry. Shamwow does state that it is bleachable. The wizcloth is really too thin but shows the fibre content.

      1. Is It the orange non shamwow brands that are the better ones to use? The original German shammies you’re talking about? The material would need to be chemical free.

  3. This is an amazing pattern but can’t download the actual pattern no matter what link I follow. I just keep getting ad links that want to make changes to my computer and a request to support your blog. How do I download your free mask pattern?

      1. hi Barb love your face mask patterns The only problem I have is I cannot download them I usually don’t have a problem downloading patterns but cannot download these. I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD email the pattern to me.
        Thank you

      2. I agree with you. This might help somebody.
        I tried with Opera and it appeared to download but it was only viewable on screen, not printable (only ‘printed’ blank pages).
        Microsoft Edge had no problem whatsoever. I tried both concurrently out of curiosity, with Edge working but Opera still doing the same.

    1. There’s always the option to leave an opening next to the casing. It would take a bit to slide in but better there than bottom I believe. Just hope the lining doesn’t then bulge at face. Maybe then add stiffener strip. Good Luck

  4. Hi. I can’t download the pattern either. Just brings up your site again. This looks like a great mask that won’t be smack up against your face.. I hope that your pattern is in black and white. I don’t have a color cartridge and if the pattern is in blue it won’t print at all. Thanks!!

  5. Thank you for all your hard work. I made a mask yesterday and the family all like the shaping. They especially like the zip tie across the face.

    Problem I encountered-My print out was correct at 1” Squares. The seam lines of the nose area matching the opening on the main did not match. I walked it several times. I had to lengthen the seam line on the main piece to get it to match.

    I’m going to print at 110% today to scale up for my husband. I’ll check the seam lines on that print out.

    Also. I sewed the main and lining together on the upper and lower edges and turned them right sides out at the casing opening. I edge stitched at a scant 1/8” along the top and bottom. No bias binding needed.

    Nose wire- a flat twist tie from bags of coffee worked perfect. I folded the ends under 1/2”.

    Fabric- polyester fabric type of shopping bag. Researched by Maker Mask website. I used the straps for the channeling for the twist tie.

    Thank you again.

    1. Sorry no. I don’t have any little faces but from what I have seen in other mask patterns, they look like they have just sized down the mask at a percentage. Perhaps ask the person to measure the width and height and then do a bit of math… to get a % reduction for printing.

  6. Your patterns, especially the N95 appear to be thoughtfully designed. I would very much like to try this pattern but unfortunately have been unable to download after many tries. I noticed in another comment that you offered to email the pattern to someone who also was unable to download your pattern. I was hoping that would email your pattern to me. Thanks in advance for your efforts in this matter.

  7. Thank you so much for taking the time to produce this wonderful mask. Could you tell me what size paper you print on, I’m in the UK and we use A4.
    kindest regards, Linda

    1. If you print at 100%, not sized to the paper it will be proper size. (A4 dimensions have a width of 210mm and a length of 297mm. US Letter paper has a width of 215.9mm with a length of 279.4mm) It may warn you about something being off page but I think it will be fine. Square should be 1″ Good luck.

  8. Dear Barb,

    Thank you so much for posting these patterns. I have been making masks for the past few months and these patterns are simply the best thought-out ones that I’ve found. I love the idea of using a plastic tie to help keep a mask’s shape. Amazing!

    Thank you for going through all of the different fabric options, however you never said which felt/fabric you used for your masks. Was it a faux-chamois/sham-wow or was it a felt? If so what kind?

    Thanks so much!
    Mel

    1. Thanks! That fabric is a Sham-wow type which is much like a felt. Depending on the fibre content and comfort either will work. The thin felt could be doubled if need be, but the shammies are usually some rayon and some polypropylene. I don’t think all polyester would be that comfortable in the heat. The never-ending fabric discussion!

      1. Hi, I’ve been looking at several websites, and I can find Sham Wow in Canadian stores but not in the U.S. There are some shammies that are 100% Viscose. but not a combination of rayon and poypropylene. Should I settle with the 100% Viscose? What stores have you found it?

        Also, I was poking around my closets and found a polyester cloth shower liner. I flicked some water on it and it completely repels the water and is quite breathabile. Paired with a good cotton, what is your opinion of its effectiveness in a mask?

        1. I think the whole issues of exact fabrics has been somewhat loosened as I see so many companies now making with all kinds of fabric. I’d say if it feels comfortable and you can breathe it should be fine. There is a candle test; try to blow out a candle with the mask on, if you can’t that is better. I think the shammies here in Canada come under other brand names. Rayon is much like cotton. It can’t hurt to try or use to clean 🤷🏻‍♀️

  9. I love this pattern, but I don’t have a sewing machine. I scanned etsy many times, but I didn’t see anything… Do you know if anyone is using your pattern and selling them?
    Or: Any experienced seamstresses reading this want to make a few bucks? Taylorbrush+gmail+com. (I think you know how to write that correctly, but I don’t just publish my address for scammer reasons… )

  10. Thank you so very much for sharing and making the tutorial. OMG the afternoon to detail and construction are superb!

    I will be making these for my family, especially my Grandma.

    Thank you so very much.

  11. Hello Barb,
    I am so grateful for your postings and look forward to receiving your newsletters. I have been sewing for 40 years, self taught, but spent endless hours viewing Nancy Zeiman’s Sewing With Nancy program, Sandra Betzina’s and Linda McPhee here in Canada.
    I have been sewing hospital gowns for local centres that opened up for our homeless population to isolate safely. Since this ministry now has the 2,500 gowns needed, I have been sewing 3 layer protective masks for the homeless, friends, and anyone who needs one. I have tried 4 different patterns, all with pros and cons, but seeing your mask, I think it’s perfect! I especially love the zip tie insert to keep the mask off the face.
    Thank you Barb, for sharing your gift of creativity and innovation with the world! God Bless you!

    1. I understand your love of sewing! I had one of those toys chainstitch machines and was so frustrated that I got a REAL Kenmore at age 12. I still have it over 40 years later (don’t do the math) So great of you to comment!

  12. i am wondering what else can be used for the nose wire? i don’t drink coffee so don’t have access to coffee bag twist ties. i can’t see in your sewing method where you buy the nose wires you use. i am a sewer so do have iron on pelon but can’t think what to use as the wire! i live in canada. any suggestions?

    1. The thing I like best lately is the tops of the sardine cans, cut in strips with some old shears. Then use the fusible web or other iron on way to attache it. Cut about 1/8″ to 1/4″. See some steps here I am in Canada too!

    2. You can use plant twist ties available at garden shops — they come on a big roll. Have also found them ay Dollar Stores.

  13. Thank you Susan for pointing out the size of the virus! I see soooo many well intended people out there professing mask desigs. Sadly, none of them seem to understand the microbiology behind the virus. They are designing masks and they are often wonderful designs, just as this one, however, PLEADE. PLESDR stop referring to them in any misleading statements as comparable to a N95!! The minute you put a needle to fabric you have opened a pathway for the .1 micron sized virus to enter……and exit. There are no seams and all edges of a N95 are heat treated for that reason. Even with an N95 to work, hospitals go through about a 45 minute fitting process to assure proper seal. People have the false security that marks stop the virus. They only slow the spread. Even the N95 with the vent are expelling contaminates from the wearer. It must be an airtight seal around the mask to stop viral escape. The denser the fiber the better it contains the virus from passing through but NOT around edges and through needle punctures. If you truly want to protect yourselves and others, PLEASE do your research and homework before professing the safety of homemade masks. The droplets can also enter through any exposed orifice, including the eyes. That’s why face shields are part of PPE protective wear. Using the glue to seal and join seams is a better idea than machine or hand sewing. Thank you for considering these comments, your inventive mask design and above all STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY!!

    1. Thanks for the info. I see so many ill fitting ones and now people just wear a shield (so much air travels down and out!) I do not profess these to be equal to N95 but the fit is quite nice compared to many. YES, do your research and Stay Safe!😷🤞🏻🤷🏻‍♀️

  14. I am wondering is there a certain percentage to go up or down on the copier? Ism assuming this is a medium. If this fits me comfortably how do I adjust for my husband or a smaller faced family member. Thank you.
    Nancy

    1. I would measure across the face and then measure similarly on the mask to figure out the percentage. It’s a pretty simple math. However I don’t see the N95 available in different sizes.So it would fit a man.

  15. Hi
    I would love to make this mask but am not able to download it,. Please could you email
    the pattern to me. Thank you Barbs for sharing this with us.
    Stay safe x

  16. Hi there – thank you so much for taking time to show us your amazing work and for sharing it too. I am another one who cannot download the pattern. I did donate a small amount of money to you – and emailed you in the hope you could email me back the pdf. I am going to make mine out of some silver material – I have no idea how comfortable with will be but it will look so cool, I also managed to source the equivalent of Wizcloths here in the UK from Amazon. They are 80%viscose and 20% polypropolene (as per the photo you shared) and they are called Eden Ecomony Pack of Floor Cloths 50x60cm orange pack of 5 for £8.95 Thought I would share this so any UK followers of yours can source them. Thank you once again and I hope to receive the pattern soon. Stay safe with your new mask.

  17. Do you make these? I’d happily pay for one. The sewing is not a strong point for me and the fabric glue I’ve seen is way too “smelly” and I’m extremely allergic to scents and chemicals (I use unscented everything!)

    1. I have see so many home sewists start making/selling. Maybe they would welcome a mask pattern. I just don’t have the time to sew, list and sell. This may be a good easy project to start sewing… 🤷🏻‍♀️😷

  18. I just made this mask in cotton with 3 layers, the fit is amazing!! I have tried 4 different styles and this wins hands down. You should do a video for youtube. Thank you for sharing this mask pattern. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much much!!!! I do love it too!!! Getting a good fabric or felt-type is key. Yes, making videos is on my ‘to-do’ list. Check back soon! Stay safe 😷

  19. Do you have a video tutorial for this mask on YouTube? I’m a visual learner and would love to see you make one. Also do you have a desire for this mask with a filter pocket? Will be making mine from plain cotton fabrics and muslin for the inside. I will probably add some kind of facing the the top mask piece also. I am using 1900 HEPA filters for the filter.
    Thank you for the pattern. One more thing, how would you go about scaling this pattern to fit XL men, teens, and child age 6-10?

    1. I just made a new design with a video! Maybe I’ll be able to. To scale I would measure from top to bottom and then see how that would fit on a man. Divide the desired height by the original height = larger than 100%. Do the commercial N95 even come in different sizes?

  20. Oh and by the way Barb I’m American so is there any way you could add your measurements in inches too. I could never get metric measures in school. lol It confused me to no end.

  21. Hi Barb! I can’t download the N95 mask pattern. Can you please email to me?

    I love your other fitted mask pattern w/ nose piece. It is more time consuming but very comfortable.

    Thank you!

  22. I use your pattern with a few changes. I use the two piece face so I can sew the mouth/nose area easier. I make my masks from a cotton as requested by who I’m making them for. I use a stretch material like t-shirt or poly spandex as my bias tape. I stretch it a little as I apply it so it gives a gather to the edges. It also pulls everything down to the skin level so I don’t have to use the nose wires. Full ties over the head work nice with this. After sewing the front seams, I then press them back and stitch them down again. It adds a nice support to the structure.
    My masks are one layer right now, I prefer a full 2, but this was requested as they are going to be going OVER some sort of filter too. I really like the patterns you have made, they make so much more sense than many I’ve seen. Thank you for your skill.

  23. Your instructions and illustrations are brilliant! Getting a late start making masks as college students are getting ready to return to campus.
    Will this work without a metal nose piece?

  24. Barb the n95 style mask is amazing. Easy to sew and so comfortable. I lined it. Nose wire from garden section at dollar store. Green rubber over wire
    Ear elastic cut from tights

  25. This mask looks brilliant! I have been making mine and haven’t been able to get the right fit so I am eager to try this one, but like other people I haven’t been able to download this pattern (another download worked for me but maybe it’s my phone?). I would very much appreciate it if you would email me the pattern. Thank you!

  26. Barb,
    I love this mask and can’t wait to make it!! Like others I’m not having much luck downloading it. Could you please send the pattern to my email. Thanks so much.
    Keep up the great work!
    Stay safe.
    Becki

  27. Barb, you did an outstanding job on this one! As a former costume designer turned art teacher, I too appreciate how you you were able to construct the pattern for this. As a teacher I am very interested in using fabrics that protect me, since I am with many students in indoor spaces. I think felt, though slightly warm from breath, has the type of fibrous makeup that mimics filter material pretty well. My adaptation was just to sew a layer each from felt and fabric, and do the sew and flip right sides out then topstitch method. Worked amazingly. I also create a thin fabric casement “pocket” across the inside top so the metal nose strip can be removed for washing or replaced. I get the aluminum ones from Amazon real cheap. I really love the structure of this mask and how, like the N95, it sits away from your face and doesn’t collapse when I breath in. AWESOME! Question: I have a fairly large round face and this pattern fit me well. How would you suggest making it slightly smaller for a smaller face. I was considering reducing the percentage to 90% when I printed, or do you have other suggestions? Thanks again!

    1. Awesome to hear! If you wan to size smaller do a bit of basic math. measure your finished mask and a measure a smaller face. Divide the desired ‘size’ by the larger and you will have a percentage to print at. (P.s. I love math, especially the useful kind!) Stay safe!😷

  28. I have COPD and most mask out there are to close to my nose and mouth making it a little hard to breathe. Just saw you mask and would love to make it. Could you please send pattern to my email. Also is
    one for 2 pieces. Thank you

  29. Thank you so much for your patterns, you are very generous! My niece has quite an aquiline nose, and it is tender. Every pattern I try pushes against the tip of her nose and hurts her. She’s a fine metal worker, so loose fits are a safety hazard. What changes can I make to have your mask fit her. I did try your perfect fit, it’s not quite right. I can’t wait to try this one….

  30. I cannot wait to try making the N-95 style masks. Did you just use a faux “Shammy” cloth to make the one pictured here? Any idea where I can order some from? You also mentioned felt. Any particular kind of felt? Would regular craft felt work as well? I was just getting ready to construct a bunch of triple-layer masks made of quilting cotton, but these are so much better.
    What size zip tie would work best? The heavy-duty ones? Light-weight ones? Also, how long? Does it go from end to end?
    Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for this pattern – you’re a creative genius!!!

    1. Yes, I used the faux shammies I had. I am in Canada and like to check the consistency of the shammy. The key is the fabric’s ability to hold shape. Please also consider if any fibres would release so washing prior to making would help. I’m sure there are older substitutes as well. I usually have medium weight ties and extra length to cut. I am not sure what craft felt s made of. I have a wool one that seems promising for the cooler weather. ‘Hope that helps!

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