A hand-sewn mask is easy to make, even if one has little sewing knowledge. Note the large stitching. Sewing with large stitches  speeds the sewing, sewing with a contracting thread gives a decorative touch to the mask.
There is also a video that shows how to make this mask.
The Pattern:

Hit the first link below. It will come right up on your computer. Print it, then hit the second link below and print that.


Then tape the two copies together.

View the video of this mask’s construction.

Materials & Supplies:

100 % cotton fabric 15 1/4 inches by 8 1/2 inches. The mask can be cut from discarded clothing.

Filter – any filter material such as cotton knit or a coffee filter, 6 3/4 by 5 3/4 inches.

Thread – If using a solid color, consider using a color that contrasts with the fabric’s color that is used to make the mask.

6 inch pipe cleaner, or other wire to act as a nose grip.

Elastic – 14 inches long, 1/4 inch wide.
Substitutions: ribbed 1/2 inch wide elastic cut down its center length, or two lengths of 1/8 inch wide elastic. Strings can be sewn instead to tie around the head.

Scissors, ruler, pins, needle, thimble.

Prepare the pattern

1. Print both copies of the mask, then tape them together as shown in this diagram.

1. Because the pattern is 15 inches long, one prints both copies of these two PDF mask patterns (see links above), then tapes the two copies together.

2. Lay the bottom fold of the first half of the pattern over the bottom fold of the second half of the pattern. Tape (diagram 1).

Fold the pattern to understand how the mask is sewn

Fold the pattern.
2. Fold the pattern as shown.

1. Fold the side seams (diagram 2).

2. Double fold the casement at the top of the mask: fold under the first, then the second 3/4 inch fold.

3. Fold the filter opening’s fold under 1/2 inch.

Fold the pattern again.
3. Fold the pattern again.



4. Fold the pattern to see how the mask will be when it is sewn (diagram 3).

Note: The industry’s designing departments often fold patterns to check their accuracy.


Cut the mask

Cut the fabric.
4. Cut the fabric.

1. Lay the pattern over a piece of 100% cotton fabric. Align the pattern so that the straight-grain arrow is parallel with the selvage of the fabric. The pattern can be laid against the selvage, as shown in diagram 4.
Selvage is a natural seam finish. High-end garments often are cut with their straight-grain seams cut against the selvage.

2. Cut the mask.

3. Cut the dark V-notches where the elastic will be sewn.

Sew the elastic to the mask

Hand sew 7 inch elastic at the V-notches.
5. Hand sew 7 inch elastic at the V-notches.

1. Cut two pieces of 1/4 inch wide elastic, each 7 inches long .
Note: This post shows two pieces of 1/8 inch elastic being substituted for one piece of 1/4 inch elastic.

2.  Cut thread at least 20 inches long. Thread both ends through a hand needle.

3. Sew the elastic to the face of the fabric at the V-notches (diagram 5).



Why knot?
6. Why knot? Use this procedure to fasten thread at the start of a hand-sewn seam.



Note: Sew the first stitch as a Why Knot, to more easily lock the thread into the fabric (diagram 6).



Fold the mask’s seams

Fold the seams
7. Fold the seams as shown.

1. Fold, then pin the sides’ 1/2 inch seam allowances (photo 7).

2. Fold, then pin the filter opening’s 1/2 inch fold.
3.  Fold the casement over 3/4 inch, then over 3/4
inch again. Pin.
Fold the mask closed.
8. Fold the mask closed. The side shown is the side that will lie against the face.


4.  Fold the mask closed. Pin as shown in photo 8.



Cut, then check the filter



Cut the filter, check its size.
9. Cut the filter, check its size. This photo shows stiffening fabric to allow the filter to show in the picture. Use 100% cotton or a coffee filter instead.


1. Cut the filter 6 3/4 by 5 3/4 inches.

2. To ensure that the filter will fit into the mask, check now to make sure the filter is slightly smaller than the mask (photo 9).




Prepare the casement

Hand sew across the casement.
10. Hand sew across the casement. Use double thread. Sew large stitches.

Hand sew across the bottom of the casement with double threads (photo 10).

Use the Why Knot? to start the seam (diagram 6,  above).
Suggestion: LARGE stitches give a decorative flair to the mask and are easier to sew.


Prepare to insert the (nose grip) pipe cleaner

1. Either use a 6 inch pipe cleaner, or cut a 12 inch pipe cleaner in half with wire cutters (not shown).
Bend each end of the pipe cleaner to prevent possible nose irritation.
11. Bend each end of the pipe cleaner to prevent possible nose irritation.

2.  Bend back each end of the 6 inch pipe cleaner to prevent the pipe cleaner from poking through the mask and irritating the nose (photo 11).

Fold mask lengthwise.
12. Fold mask lengthwise.


3. Fold the mask in half lengthwise
(photo 12).

4. Fold the pipe cleaner in half. Lay the pipe cleaner’s fold over the mask’s fold at the top of the mask.
5. Pin mark the folded pipe cleaner’s length on the mask.
6. Turn the work over. Pin mark folded the pipe cleaner’s length on the other front side of the mask (not shown).
7.  Unfold the mask.
Insert the nose grip
13. Hand sew the pipe cleaner stop at the first pin mark. Insert the pipe cleaner

Insert the pipe cleaner

1. Hand sew a stop for the  (nose grip) pipe cleaner at the first pin mark. Reinforce with extra stitching (photo 13).

2. Insert the pipe cleaner.
3. Hand sew the second stop for the (nose grip) pipe cleaner (photo 14).
Sew the second nose grip stop.
14. Sew the second nose grip stop.


4. Reinforce the second stop with extra stitching. Sew stitching on either side of the folded opening for the filter. Stitch one inch across either end of the folded opening for the filter .



Pleat the mask

Pin mark the pleats.
15. Pin mark the pleats.

1. On the front of the mask either pin or pencil mark the pleats’ notches that are printed on the pattern (photo 15).


16. Pin the pleats in place.

2. With the front of the mask up, pin the pleats in place so they fold down (photo 16).

Inserting the filter.
17. Insert the filter.

3. Hand sew the pleated sides through all plies of fabric (photo 17).

Note: The many plies of fabric make this seam hard to hand sew. Pliers can be used to help pull the needle out of the fabric.

4. Insert the filter.

Put on your mask!
It’s ready to wear

Hand-sewn mask
The mask can also be machine sewn. This one was cut from a discarded peasant blouse. The elastic cuffs were converted into ear loops.
Many thanks to Andrea Cantor, who suggested that a mask be designed that can be sewn by hand. Many thanks also to Elissa Bloom, who referred Ms. Cantor to me.
Thank you!  Laurel

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