If you own a sewing machine then chances are high you have been making a homemade face mask (or probably many!) or DIY face coverings. I have been experimenting with the different patterns and tutorials and I can hardly sew! But if you can sew a straight line you can make a homemade face mask in 30 minutes or under!
Like so many DIY’ers and not so DIY’ers I have been trying different DIY face covering patterns and designs. Some are just too complicated for me, some pattern makers are worried about matching colors and matching thread and that is just not me! I need a pattern I can make fast and serves the purpose without the muss and fuss.
It became clear in March 2020 in the United States that face masks also known as face coverings may be in our immediate future. The WHO (World Health Organization) offers these tips and best practice if you are using any type of face mask.
On April 3, 2020 CDC recommended cloth face coverings. What much of America is calling a face mask or face covering is NOT the traditional blue surgical or medical masks, but a face covering for your nose and mouth. Many hospitals in my area (prior to even one week ago) are also requesting donations of the DIY face mask along with non profit’s who provide outreach services our underserved and vulnerable neighbors.
Who has time to worry about seams and thread and bind off whatevers! I appreciate the precise nature of many pattern makers, but I can barely sew! And I need a pattern and DIY face mask to use with materials I have IN the home now. After a weekend of sewing different patterns I have decided this pattern is by far my favorite!
My Favorite Face Mask Pattern For The I Can Barely Sew – Sewer
Yes, that’s me! For crafting, I own a little sewing machine. Yes, my little Hello Kitty sewing machine. I’m not a proficient sewer partly due to lack of interest. It just isn’t my ‘thing’. But there are times in life when certain ‘things’ become your thing!
And because I am a fan of all No Sew crafts I did try a version using glue sticks. Well. Yes, if necessary, but not recommended would be to DIY the face mask as a no sew mask.
It was sufficient, but would not hold up to washing so this construction is not recommended and the edges of the mask are quite stiff and uncomfortable. So step away from the glue stick idea. Trust me.
Preparing Materials To Make The Face Mask With Fabric
So I pulled out the Hello Kitty and with a quick refresh of directions on how to thread the bobbin I was ready. Non and beginner sewers I think can relate that the bobbin is a little devil. It can be a friend or foe, so treat the bobbin with respect or the consequences can be not. so. pretty. and very.time.consuming to repair.
When I was looking around for a machine that was very basic as in I might, just might make a simple curtain or sew a hem, I decided upon who has become my sewing buddy, the Hello Kitty sewing machine.
Of course even basic sewing machines which can be purchased online are not as plentiful as a few months ago, but a basic sewing machine can be ordered online and if you are a crafter or reluctant sewer, these type of machines work great! Even better is the order online and curbside pick up at a store option if you live close to the store. Beginner machines can be purchased for under $100.00.
For these masks I used scrap fabric, bottom cotton sheets, old cotton t-shirts and old cotton shirts. Cotton 100% is the key for function and comfort.
You do NOT need a sewing machine for this mask. The mask can be hand sewn. Absolutely. The hand sew version would be an hour or two project depending on your skill level.
Why I Like This Face Mask Pattern
The pattern is forgivable.
The pattern is flexible.
The face mask provides a snugger fit than many of the rectangle DIY masks.
The face mask pattern can be adjusted to a smaller or larger size very easily.
If you can sew a straight line, or an almost straight line, the face mask will be fine!
The mask is washable and will hold up well to washing in hot water and drying in a dryer or can be air dried.
How To Make A Mask With Fabric
Downloadable pdf pattern. This pattern is an all purpose size medium.
Two 9 by 15″ panels of cotton fabric (the fabric does NOT need to match and actually two different patterns or a solid/pattern are preferred)
Two 11 inch pieces of elastic (I hear you, very difficult to find elastic!) I’ve included my 17 Elastic Band Hacks OR four 15″ fabric ties
Optional – nose pinch material (I hear you there too, nose pinch what…?) I’ve included my 4 Favorite Nose Wire Hacks
Do not be offput by the number of steps in the directions. This mask can be made in 30 minutes and after a few masks then the time will decrease to 15-20 minutes per mask.
I have found that those of us in the “we kinda use a sewing machine” club prefer very detailed directions versus the mask directions I have seen which assume prior knowledge of sewing or sewing terms and sewing materials. This is a nice middle of the road mask falling between the fabric with rubber bands and the sewn mask by accomplished sewers or quilters.
DIY Face Mask With Ear Loops
- Cut out 4 pieces of the pattern. Recommended use one color for the front side and a second color or pattern for back side.
- I found old cotton t shirts worked great and provided enough strength to keep the mask snug while still breathable.
- Decide upon the fabric which will be the front of the mask and a different fabric for the back. (This is not required, but is I found ideal)
- For this mask I made the front side from scrap cotton material I had from a pillow and the back side of the mask was a white cotton sheet.
- Lay one piece of cut fabric on top of the second piece of the same fabric. And yes, I did use a red sharpie (all the sewers are cringing) to trace the face mask pattern on the fabric. Why? Because the red lines will be hidden in the seam so no worries.
- Aim for 1/4 inch seam allowance. Try to be consistent with the seam allowance (meaning the distance from the edge of the fabric to where the actual stitches are sewed), but no worries if you waver a bit, it will turn out just fine! You can see in this photo I marked 1/4 inch seam on the sewing machine with a piece of tape just to make it easy to line up the stitches.
- Sew the CURVED side first. Begin sewing in a straight stitch, pause after 1/2 inch (ish), then reverse the machine for a few stitches then begin sewing along the curve to the end.
- Again at the end, reverse the machine for a few stitches, then sew forward to the end. Adding the reverse adds strength to the stitching.
- Repeat with the second color or pattern of fabric.
- You now have the front and back of the mask. This is why two different colors or patterns of fabric are ideal as you will then be able to easily distinguish the front of the mask and the back of the mask. The masks are made to be washable and the two different patterns make it very easy to quickly eyeball the front of the mask as it will be on and off multiple times during a day.
- If desired, the seams can be ironed open. I consider that optional, some masks I did, some I did not and there wasn’t much perceivable difference in the finished mask. Sewers are big on ironing, me, not so much!
- Place the designated back of the mask seam side down.
- Place the designated front of the mask on top of the back mask, seam side up.
- Sew the top of the mask.
- Sew the bottom of the mask.
- Clip off all those annoying threads!
- Now make the sandwich for the elastic or ties or whatever substitute material for traditional elastic. Here is my guide for 17 Elastic Band Hacks you can find right in your home to substitute for elastic band.
- You will now be making what I call the mask sandwich to insert the elastic or ties.
- Line up the end of the elastic band or tie in the top corner of the front of the mask.
- The length of the band should be INSIDE the mask.
- Sew the side closed, stopping mid way.
- Now find the end of the elastic band (from the inside of the mask) and line the end up in the opposite corner of the front of the mask, between the fabric layers.
- Once lined up (I do not pin, I just place), finish closing the side using the reverse stitches at each end for strength.
- Clip the threads and ends of threads hanging off the mask edges.
- Nose Pinch. If you would like to add a nose pinch to the top of the mask, this is the time.
- The second side of the mask will now be closed.
- Repeat steps 19-21.
- Sew the side seam and stop 1/2 down the side. Remove from sewing machine.
- Turn the mask inside out.
- Find the last (4th) end of the band from the inside of the mask. Place the end of the band in the corner.
- Fold in the two sides of the fabric.
- Sew from where you stopped to the end, using the reverse stitches to secure the seam.
- This step is also optional. Sew another seam around the entire mask. I find this adds additional stability to the mask. It only takes a few seconds as the mask is already constructed.
- Iron if desired!
- If donating the mask or giving the face mask to a friend or family member, wash and dry the face masks. Using gloves, insert the face mask in a plastic baggie and mark the outside of the baggie with the size. The masks are then ready for use, distribution or donation.
DIY Face Mask With Nose Pinch
Homemade face masks can be made with a nose pinch. Adding a nose pinch does make the mask a bit more secure over the bridge of your nose.
What is a nose pinch? A nose pinch is a piece of flexible wire added to the top of the mask. This allows the user to pinch in the top of the mask gently around the nose. It is optional and of course dependent upon the materials you have at home.
However, I have also found that fit can be dependent on who is wearing the mask! Some noses and chins are just a more mask friendly and do not need the nose pinch. Either way this pattern fits with or without a nose pinch.
What Materials To Use For The Nose Pinch On The Face Mask?
That is an excellent question as supplies of elastic are scarce at best. After experimenting with different nose pinch options (from items found already in your home) I came up with my four favorite nose pinch hacks. All will work!
If choosing to add a nose pinch. Add the nose pinch before the mask is flipped inside out.
Line the nose pinch along the top of the mask, inside the mask sandwich. Hold the nose pinch in place with a finger or pin the nose pinch in place.
Now sew a second seam under the nose pinch along the length of the front of the mask. This is to enclose the nose pinch. So the top of the mask will actually have two seams very close together.
Flip the mask inside out and finish (steps 31-34)
How To Make The Face Mask Bigger Or Smaller
Add one inch equally to the outside perimeter of the pattern to make a large face mask.
Decrease one inch equally from the pattern to the inside to make a small face mask.
The increase or decreases can be done easily with a ruler; just be consistent with the measurement to increase or decrease the size of the mask.
More Face Mask Ideas