Face Masks

I started with this video

Another one talks about the filters some are using. 

Leah Day has a tutorial that is a bit quicker than the way I make the.

She does it without the casing for the elastic.

I made some changes to it because of how I like to do things, but the video is excellent to watch and see how to make a mask with a pocket for a filter.

Please forgive the different fabrics being used in the photos. As I was making the masks, I tried to take a photo of all the steps, but didn’t get them all in one pass. These instructions are made for one mask. I think I will be doing a number at a time because chain sewing them should make it quicker.

1.    Cut fabric 15" x 7.5"

2. Cut 2.5” strip for bias. Prepare bias 9" Note: I normally prepare the full width of fabric at one time.

2a. Cut your strips in 2.5” width of fabric

2b. Press strip in half length-wise

2c. Open strip up and fold edges to meet in the center

               2d. Fold again so the folded edges are even. Press and clip or pin to hold in place.


3. Twist tie or pipe cleaner 6.5" Note: I just cut the pipe cleaner in half, which is about 7"

4. Cut 2 elastics at 9 3/4" each. Note: I found that some people like them to be about 11” for comfort.

I’ve seen it suggested to use hair ties. The ones I tried made the loops very tough for the ears. I would not suggest using hair ties for the elastic.

I just saw that someone found elastic headbands and cut them in half and they said they were perfect.

I've seen one that used shoelaces in hers (she was at COSTCO)

 5. Serge or zigzag stitch the short edges

6. Fold right sides together--short edges together

7. Mark 1.5" from sides to leave  an opening for filter gap

8. Sew edge to mark on both sides, leaving the center open.

9. Press open seam. Now you have a "tube" with the opening in the middle of the seam.

10. Turn right side out

11. Topstitch along the seam on both sides


12. Measure 1/2 " from the seam line

13. Fold and press 1/4" down to make wire tube. Stitch down and all around

14. Add the wire or pipe cleaner and stitch it closed

 Pocket still open

15. Make 3 pleats: pin, press, and sew

15a. Turn mask over so the pocket is at the bottom

15b. 1 ½” from the bottom (where the pipe cleaner is located) fold up ½”

15c. place fold on a line on the cutting mat and 1” from the fold, fold up ½” to make next pleat. Do this twice so you have three pleats in the mask.

Your mask should measure approximately 4”

               15d. Press pleats in place

               15e. Sew less than ¼” seam on each side so pleats stay in place.

16. Make the casing for the elastic.

               16a. Fold the one end so there isn’t any raw edge to ravel.

               16b. Fold back the way you did in step 2.
17. I found it was easier to measure the mask and determine the size of the casing before pinning.

               17a. Cut of ½” larger than the side of the mask

17b. Do the same thing you did before. Fold and align on the mask.

18. Placement of elastic. Note: I didn’t like threading the elastic through the casing, so I laid it in at the time I sewed the casing.

      18a.  Place the casing you just made on one side of the mask. Align the side of the mask with the centerline of the casing.

18b.    Place the elastic right up against that centerline. Fold over and match to the side on the bottom. Pin in place. Note: I like the clips to hold the elastic and the casing in place.

18c.    Stitch the casing in place. I sewed the casing line twice to add some extra stability. Note: You do NOT want to sew on the elastic!

  18d. Do the same thing to the second side.

19. Tie elastic and pull the knot into the channel.

20. Insert filter Note: Some people are using the furnace filters to cut and place inside. I decided to try the coffee filter. The #4 needs to be trimmed down, but the #2 seems to fit almost perfectly. These will provide a little more protection.

These extenders look like they would be good to donate with the masks.
I'm sure health care providers have sore ears by the end of their shift.
I don't have instructions, but if I figure it out, I'll add it here.

What do you do if you run out of elastic and it is difficult to find?

What if the hospital wants ties instead of elastic?

I, of course, modified it a bit.

I decided to use some of my bias tape, double fold and single fold (who knows how long it has been in my sewing stash.)
Note: if using the single fold, you will need to open and sew a scant 1/4" seam on the mask.
I don't suggest using this unless it is all you have.

I'm not sure if I'd go out and buy it because one package makes 1.5 mask ties.

1. Find the center of the bias tape and the center of the mask.

2. Open the bias tape to slide the mask edge snug into the bias tape.

3. Match the two centers and pin/clip in place. 

4. Slightly unfold the bias tape at the end, fold under the end like we did with the casing and start stitching close to the edge.

5. Turn and stitch down the side, across the mask.

6. When you get to the other end, fold in the edge and stitch over it.

7. Check the backside of your stitching to make sure you caught all of the bias tape.
If you didn't, no worries, because you can stitch over it from the side you missed.

8. Next start on the mask at the edge. We are going to reinforce the bias tape stitching line.
Sew up from the inside of the mask to the outside edge of the bias tape.

9. Sew across the mask to the other side and stitch back down to the mask.
Backstitch as you wish and I went one more row of stitching in the center of the other two stitch lines.

10. Your finished mask with ties


This takes less time than the elastic.
It took me longer to write the instructions than to sew the bias tape onto the mask.


Liz Morgan said...

Hi Mel!

Thank you for posting this awesome tutorial. Our hospital here is needing and I am going to make some for them.

Be safe and healthy!

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