How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket)

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Cloth face masks have many practical uses. The World Health Organisation and the UK government have recently advised the public to wear whatever masks they can, including cloth, when on public transport and in enclosed areas. I have seen more and more people asking for a pattern. So here is how to sew a face mask with a filter pocket.

*Please Note – these are not and have not been tested as ‘medical grade options’. I cannot guarantee and accept no liability for the use of this mask as a medical device or in a medical setting.

This post was first published on 6th April 2020, but has been updated to reflect current guidelines. It is a collaborative post – for more details please see my Disclosure policy

Please also see my post on how to use cloth face coverings safely and effectively.

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket)

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject

 

This pattern has a filter pocket. Cloth by itself may not be good enough, but if you add a filter, such as

then a cloth mask could offer more protection and be a very useful thing to have.

See the WHO guidance on what fabric to use for face masks. They currently advise 3 layers of closely woven fabric. 

This mask is 3 layers, but also has a filter pocket for if you do feel the need to add a further filter.

These masks are also useful if you are crafting, have allergies, or live/work in a particularly dusty or smoggy area.

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject #quarantine

 

You Will Need

 

Materials needed for face masks

 

I have stipulated 100% cotton fabrics as these can be washed at much higher temperatures than most fabrics. These masks are best used once then washed thoroughly before being used again.

See this guide on how to use one.

Also, instead of a pipe cleaner / florists wire you could use an opened out paperclip – though these do have a tendency to rust. Or harvest the nose metal from old standard surgical masks that you may have used.

 

Cutting The Cloth For The Masks

 

For an adult mask you will need 3 pieces of cotton material measuring 9 inches by 6 inches, and 2 pieces of elastic measuring 7 inches in length.

For a child sized mask you will need 3 pieces of cotton measuring 7.5 inches by 5 inches, and 2 pieces of elastic measuring 6 inches in length.

 

Cut mask materials

 

I actually like to cut 2 pieces of standard fabric, then cut a third piece in a cotton lawn material for the filter pocket.

 

Making The Masks

 

Firstly, sew a small 7-8mm hem on one of the long sides of the filter pocket piece of fabric. I turn over the hem by 4mm twice.

Sew a face mask 1

 

Then sew the elastic to the right side of one of the pieces of main fabric, Sew one piece into one short side, and the other piece into the corners of the other short side, as below.

Sew a face mask 2

Sew a face mask 3

 

Next, place the hemmed filter pouch piece right side down onto this elasticated piece,

Sew a face mask 4

 

And place the second main fabric piece right side down over the two other pieces. Pin all these together.

Sew a face mask 5

 

Mark a 4-5 cm gap in the long side away from where the filter pouch hem is laid.

With a 5mm seam allowance, sew all the way around the four sides of your pinned fabric. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your sewing, and leave the gap open. On the side where the filter pocket hem is placed, ensure you avoid sewing through the filter pocket layer, but on the other 3 sides ensure you catch all three layers.

Sew a face mask 6

Clip the corners and trim your seam allowance if you wish. This makes sure you get crisp outer corners.

Sew a face mask 7

Turn the whole structure inside out through the gap. Push out the corners well. And give the whole thing a good press.

This is the front:

Sew a face mask 8

And this is the back.

Sew a face mask 9

Sew a face mask 10

On the long top edge, you will still have an open gap. We are going to close this. But first we need to make a channel for the nose fitting piece.

About 12mm or 1/2 inch from the top edge, sew a line of stitching.

This creates a channel for the pipe cleaner or whatever you are using to nose-fit the mask. Insert the pipe cleaner. I have since found that folding over the ends of the pipe cleaner stop it poking through. 

Sew a face mask 12

Then sew a very small seam allowance close to the very top edge, to close up the turning gap and seal the pipe cleaner into place.

Sew a face mask 13

I also like to firstly centre the nose fitting metal strip or pipe cleaner, then sew a line of stitching to ensure it doesn’t shuffle along the channel.

Finally, we need to add some pleats.

I fold the mask in half lengthwise. Then fold the mask on itself to make a pleat.

Sew a face mask 14

Repeat to make a second pleat. Pin in place. And then sew down each side with a 5mm seam allowance to sew all the pleats in place.

Sew a face mask 15

 

And you have a finished face mask!

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject #quarantine

 

Both the nose and the ear loops can be adjusted to fit the face closely.

See here how I make fully adjustable ear loops.

The finished adjustable mask elastics

The closer the fit to the face the better.

See my post here on how to wear a face mask correctly and safely.

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemasks #clothmasks #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject

 

For a filter, cut a piece of Vilene to size and slip it into the pocket. Or use an N95 filter.

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject #quarantine

 

 

Again, I do have to state that these are not and have not been tested as ‘medical grade options’. I cannot guarantee and accept no liability for the use as a medical device or in a medical setting.

But do think that these are certainly a useful thing to have in the current times.

Find some great sewing books alongside a great selection of arts, crafts and haberdashery at The Works.

See some of the other things that I am sewing for medical needs at this time.

Including this different face mask pattern, the Olsen pattern, which comes in adult and child sizes.

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject #socialdistancing #isolation

Do you think that you will be making some of these? Do let me know in the comments, or find me on social media.

And please do pin this post for later.

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject #quarantine

 

How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket) & wire nose fitting - these cloth face coverings shield your nose & mouth. Adult and child sizes. Full DIY step by step sewing tutorial how to make them. Free sewing DIY pattern #sewing #easysewingprojects #facemaskpattern #facemaskdiy #clothmask #clothfacemask #sewingtutorial #easysewingproject

This post was first published on 6th April 2020, but has been updated to reflect current guidelines.

10 Replies to “How To Sew A Face Mask (With A Filter Pocket)”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      The budgie fabric is Cath Kidston. I will be coordinating with my summer dresses at this rate!

      Reply
  1. Carol says:

    It’s good to have a pattern but the question is where do you get the filter section and what is acceptable. Thanks for sharing the pattern!

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Hi Carol. I put some filter ideas in here. Some sew in interfacing is fine, though you can get N95 filters from Amazon too.

      Reply
  2. William Bowie says:

    Thank you Jo !!
    Your review exactly meets our current requirement of wearing mask!!
    As it worldwide issue of Covid-19. I hope many people got help from this article 🙂

    Reply
  3. Luis Vilanova says:

    I can’t agree enough with your article. Three layers of closely woven fabric on masks is the proper way to make a homemade mask. Also, I liked in your instructions that you provide measurements for children’s sizes. Well crafted article.

    Reply

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