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August 12, 2020

Sewing Face Mask Patterns


Like so many of you, sewing face mask patterns has taken up much of my creative time lately. I’m thankful to be able to make masks for my family and friends during this pandemic, although I’ll be glad to get back to “routine” sewing soon!

Face Mask Sewing Supplies

After a lot of research on this subject, I ended up going through my fabric stash to find cotton material I had left over from a curtain project. This material has a tight weave, and likely contains has something else besides cotton in the mix. The result is a fabric similar to a high-quality bed sheet. As my production increased I also used white knit material for the ties instead of the elastic or hair bands. Everyone in my family found the tie method to be more comfortable, especially if for long-term use. If you don’t have any knit material, an old T-Shirt is an easy to use. Simply cut strips 1-1 1/2″ wide (I used a rotary cutter). In some cases you may have to join two strips together to get the desired length. Once cut, the knit strips will curl up on themselves so there is no finishing required. I connected a safety pin to one end and gently pulled the knit strip (up on one side, down on the other) through the side seam channels.

I’ve tried several different styles and have come up with three that my family prefers:

The Olson Face Mask

Olson Mask
The Olson Face Mask Pattern

This was the first mask I made, back when elastic and wire nose pieces were hard to find. I used this source and found the instructions and video easy to follow. Most of my family liked the mask style, but did not like the hair band elastic ear pieces- too tight for some, too loose for others. My next version of this mask included the nose band wire insert and knit tie’s, providing a better fit for all sizes. This pattern also has a filter pocket, which is a nice addition, although with this double thickness mask we didn’t use a filter.

The 3D Face Mask Sewing Pattern

3D Face Mask Pattern
The 3D Face Mask Pattern

As I continued sewing face mask patterns, I next tried this style. The pattern is simple and the accompanying videos and instructions are well done. My daughters and I liked the fit of this mask- the top and bottom pieces fold down along the seam and make a nice fit. In the example above I was still tinkering with the elastic attachments, and tried several methods of creating a sliding knot/bead to adjust the elastic fit. I have lots of different sized elastic on-hand for lingerie projects, but found this 1/4″ wide cotton elastic to be the most comfortable. This 3D style was not a favorite for the guys in my home, however. They found even the larger size to be too tight and preferred the the other two styles.

The Two-Dart Face Mask

How to make a knit tie
The Two-Dart Face Mask Pattern

By far my favorite mask is the two-dart method- providing both nose and chin shapping. I also prefer to pair this mask with the knit tie, which also provides shapping and structure, without the too-tight elastic feel. For our family, this is the mask that everyone likes and remarkably it fits everyone! I used two layers of the cotton material and no filter pocket, although you could easily add that too. The tie takes some time to get used to, but if you are wearing the mask for longer periods of time (e.g. school) it is a comfortable option.

What about you? Since masks will be a part of our everyday wardrobe for some time, I’m curious to know what styles you have made, what you prefer, and any tips and tricks you have to share.

Different Styles of face coverings
Face Mask Patterns to Sew from Top (3D), Middle (Olson), and Bottom (Two-Dart)


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