Sewing Face Masks

As of this writing, the CDC is considering revising their guidelines to state that healthy people should wear masks when leaving the house. LA has already stated that their residents should begin following this protocol. This poses an obvious problem, since there’s already a lack of supply. The good news is that anyone with a sewing machine can make their own mask. It’s a small act that will empower you in this otherwise uncontrollable situation.

Materials Needed:

  • Pattern Pieces from Craft Passion
  • Woven Cotton Fabric/Quilting Cotton
  • (2) 1.5″ x 36″ fabric strips OR Twill Tape (2 yards per mask)
  • Safety Pin
  • Pinking Shears/Blade (optional)

You will need to print the pattern pieces from craft passion. To find the pattern pieces, scroll down to the bottom of the page to “2. Ordinary Face Mask Pattern WITH seam allowance included.” I use the “teenager” size. Make sure you print “actual size.” If you do not want a pocket on your mask, you do not need to print the lining fabric piece (you will only print page 1).


After printing and cutting out the pattern pieces, relabel them. From the “Main Fabric” pattern piece, you will be cutting 2 sets of mirror images (4 pieces total). With the “Main Fabric” pattern piece, you will cut 2 mirror images from your focal, or exterior fabric. The other set of mirror images will be cut from a lining fabric that will not be visible (it will be behind the pocket fabric. Relabel the “Lining Fabric” pattern piece – “Pocket Fabric.” You will cut 1 set of mirror images (2 pieces) from the pocket pattern piece.

When choosing your fabrics, make sure you choose a contrasting fabric for the pocket. This helps medical professionals quickly differentiate the side that will be against their face. If you’re not including a pocket on your mask, only cut the 2 sets of mirror images from the Main pattern piece.

When cutting out mirror images of fabric, I like to fold the fabric so it’s right sides together so I am cutting both at once, and the fabric is already together as it needs to be when you sew it.

Fabric Right Sides Together When Cutting
Complete Sewing Tutorial

Sewing Curved Edges

After all your pieces are cut, sew along each of the curved edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Once your pieces are sewn, use your pinking shears or a rotary cutter with a pinking blade to trim the seam allowance. If you don’t have a pinking blade, notch the curve with scissors. You can also omit notching but it helps the curve to lay better if notched.

Trim Seam Allowance

After your seam allowances have been trimmed. Press to one side and topstitch an 1/8″ away from the seam.

Front and Back View of Topstitched Curve

Making Your Pocket

After you have sewn and topsitched the curved edge of the exterior, lining, and pocket, you will hem one edge of your pocket piece. It doesn’t matter which edge of your pocket piece you hem. If you’re right handed, it probably makes more sense to hem the right edge, as this will be the side you’ll slide your filtration material into.

Take your pocket piece and fold one edge under 1/4″ and press. Fold under again and press so that the raw edge is now concealed.

Sew down the hemmed edge of your pocket.

Get your lining piece, and place the pocket wrong side down against the lining (both right sides will be visible to you). Match up the center seam of the pocket with the center seam of your lining piece. There will be room on each edge where the pocket does not meet the edge of the lining piece, and one edge of your pocket will be raw. This is correct. Baste the top and bottom edge of the pocket to the lining with an 1/8″ seam allowance.

Sewing Mask Together

Now we need our exterior piece. We will place our exterior piece right side down on the lining so that the pocket is sandwiched between and the lining and exterior are right sides together. Sew the bottom and top edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Press your seam allowance open and turn.

Topstitch with an 1/8″ seam allowance along the top and bottom edge.

Making Tunnels for Your Ties

(Skip to minute 17 in the video to see this step.)

Turn the raw edges of your exterior and lining in a 1/4″ and press. Then start with the edge on the side with your hemmed pocket edge. You will turn the exterior side in again and press so that it meets the edge of your hemmed pocket. This will create a tunnel in the fabric that we will be stringing our fabric tie through. Topstitch the edge of your fabric tunnel an 1/8″ from the hemmed pocket edge. When you’re topstitching this edge, make sure your stitching at the top and bottom are secure, as there will be pressure on this seam from pulling the ties.

We will be doing the same on the other edge, except we will be covering our raw pocket edge with our hemmed tunnel edge. Turn in the fabric ~5/8″ or to match the width of your tunnel on your hemmed pocket edge. It does not need to be exact.

After your tunnels are made, you’re done with the mask portion!! If you have twill tape, skip past the fabric tie making section.

Making Fabric Ties

Get your 2 strips of fabric and press all 4 raw ends in 1/4″. With the wrong side facing up, find the center of your strip and press the raw edges in to meet in the center. This is much faster with a bias tape maker but it’s certainly not a necessary tool for this step. Once the length of both strips has been pressed to the center, you will press the strip in half so that the raw edges are concealed. Sew down the open edge of your strips.

Adding Your Ties

Get your safety pin and pin it on the very end of on of your fabric ties. Push the safety pin through one of your fabric tunnels. Pull the tie through so that the top of the mask has ~3″ more length protruding than the bottom edge (the top of your head is greater in diameter – this seems obvious now that I’ve written it but your first instinct is to make the ties equal lengths – unless it wasn’t and now you have wasted time reading this extraneous information).

Securing Your Ties

Once your ties have been threaded through your tunnels (I just remembered that the proper sewing term for this is casing. But I would need to go back and change all of the words to casing so just pretend that tunnels is also correct), you will want to put a tack stitch in the center of each so that the ties do not shift. Fold the edge of your mask in half and finger press so that you can see the halfway point. Place under your sewing machine and make a triple stitch to tack down your ties. Repeat for the other edge.

Your mask is done! Take it over to the ironing board for one last good press (the heat will set your seams). Then try it on and take an apocalypse selfie and show off your skills!

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