After trying several masks patterns and not finding any one pattern that worked for me – style, functionality, fit, and ease of construction – I came up with my own pattern. I like the Olson mask because there are less layers of fabric while still having a pocket, but there are several lining pieces and several edges to hem. This pattern cuts down on one lining piece and 2 hems. That’s not a lot when you’re making a single mask, but when you’re production sewing, all the little steps add up.
I named it the Broken Wing Mask because the lining is asymmetrical, but also as a reference to our broken system that has led to home stitchers making non-medical grade masks for our frontline workers. But that’s been discussed in great length by others with more articulation and grace than I am going to pretend to have, so let’s get on with the sewing.
- Quilting Cotton
- (2) 36″ ties (can use twill tape or bias tape style ties) or (2) 8.5″ 1/4 wide elastic (elastic length is dependent upon wearer and style of tying off elastic – 8.5″ is generous)
- Safety Pin
- Pinking Shears or Pinking Blade (optional but saves time)
- Pattern (1/4″ seam allowance is included)
EDIT: I forgot to mention that you can sell masks made from this free pattern. You’re actually always allowed to sell products that you make from patterns, regardless of what the pattern says, you’re just not allowed to sell, or reproduce the actual pattern. When you make something from a pattern – it is yours. (Not intended to be legal advice, I just don’t like it when pattern designers are not mutually supportive of the home stitchers that support them.)
Print Pattern and Check Scale
After you have printed the pattern, make sure the 1″ square is accurate, or approximately accurate as I did a crappy job drawing it and the pattern is not digitized. Now would be a good time to mention that this pattern has not been tested and fits my face but please make sure that you use
crappy fabric that is not your favorite on your first go in case you hate it.
After your pattern is printed and cut, you will layout the main pattern piece on a folded over piece of fabric so that you can cut 2 (mirrored) pieces. I like to fold the fabric right sides together so that pieces are already together for the way that they’re going to be sewn together.
Since the lining piece is asymmetrical, cutting it feels awkward. However, cutting the lining this way, allows you to have an internal pocket with less fabric layers and less hemming than a symmetrical lining. If you would like a symmetrical lining, you would just cut a pair of mirrored pieces from the 2 lining pieces rather than cutting one of the main pattern pieces
Sew Along Curved Edge
Once you have all your pattern pieces cut, place the 2 main pieces rights sides together, as well as the 2 lining pieces that have the curved edge. Sew the main pieces together with a 1/4″ seam allowance along the curved edge. Repeat for the 2 lining pieces.
Trim Your Seam Allowance/Notch Your Curves
Once you have sewn the curved edges, notch them with a pinking blade or scissors. Notches will help your curve to lay nicer.
After trimming seam allowances, take all of your pieces to your ironing board, including the lone lining piece that has not had anything happen to it yet. Press both of your seams. On the lone lining piece, fold the wide edge in a scant 1/4″ (little bit) and press. Fold it over itself once more and press again. Now the raw edge of the fabric is contained. Repeat this pressing for the short side of the lining piece that is sewn to the other half (see below).
Topstitch Hems and Main Curve
Once you have pressed your hems, take all of your pieces to your machine. Set your stitch length to your preference for topstitching (I used between 3.5 – 4 mm). Topstitch both hemmed edges and along the main curve.
Topstitching the main curve can be a bit tricky, as curves can be finicky. I start at the bottom edge, finger press the seam to the left and gently pull the fabric to the right to make sure the fabric doesn’t get bunched in the curve. Make sure you go slow and peek underneath your curve every so often to make sure your topstitching is catching the seam allowance in it.
Sandwich Your Pieces Right Sides Together
Now that the hems and front of the mask are topstitched, it’s time to sandwich the pieces together. First, match the main and lining piece with the sewn curved edge together at the center seams. I usually clip these seams. Then lay the lone lining piece on top of the other lining piece (right side facing down). Pin where the edges of the lining overlap. You can also pin around the entire mask if you want but I like to just pin at the critical points.
Once your mask is sandwiched together, sew along the entire perimeter with a 1/4″ seam allowance. You do not need to leave a turning hole because the mask will be turned through the pocket opening.
After you have stitched around the entire mask, clip your 4 corners and notch the curved edge. Press your seams open. Then turn your mask out through the pocket opening. I use a chopstick to push out all of my corners and make sure my seams are all pushed open. (I forgot to take a picture of this step.)
Once your mask has been turned out, press the edges well before topstitching. Topstitch around the entire perimeter of your mask.
The mask is almost complete – we just need to add casings to thread elastic, or twill tape through. I fold my edges in 5/8″ – this goes almost to my ear and I find the elastic pulls on my ear less this way. However, I have kind of a big face, so you may need to fold your mask in further than 5/8″. Before stitching your casing down, take your mask and your face to a mirror and see what you think.
Press the edges of your mask toward the lining by ~5/8″. Once you have pressed the edges in, topstitch over your existing topstitch line, making sure to securely backstitch at the top and bottom of your casing.
Thread Elastic or Twill Tape
Once you’ve made your casings, you will need your safety pin to thread your elastic or your twill tape through your casings.
If you’re using elastic, 8.5″ is a generous length, and you will likely need to shorten it a touch after you tie it off. It depends on how much of the elastic you use to tie off and the size of your ear and your preference on fit. Once you have tied off your elastic. Use the tip of your seam ripper to poke the knot down in the casing of your mask so it’s hidden. Your mask is done!
If you’re using twill tape, thread ~18″ through past the top of the mask.
Once you have threaded the twill tape through your casings, you’ll want to place a row of staystitching midway down your casing. Finger press the casing in half and sew a line of stitching to prevent the twill tape from shifting, or pulling through.
Once you have secured your twill tape, your mask is complete!
When you make this mask, play around with the fit and don’t be afraid to change the pattern! You have a seam ripper and plenty of fabric, make a mask that fits how you want it to.