Seeing as face masks are here to stay, I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon and making some for family and friends. When I first decided to make my own face mask, I was just going to use the pattern created by Ae PooiM on Youtube because it came with a version for smaller faces. But as always, I found myself to be in-between sizes.
After a lot of testing and four drafts later, I ended up with a modified pattern in sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. I also modified the pattern to address some pain points I noticed while experimenting with the first three versions.
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Removable Nose Wire
As a fellow glass wearer, I found that a nose wire was most helpful in preventing my glasses from fogging up. It works by contouring the mask to fit my nose bridge and sit snugly against my skin.
But how will I remove the wire so that I can wash the mask and re-use the wire? And how can I avoid adding extra layers and stitches for the casing? Picky, much. I know.
By increasing the width of the seam allowance at the top, the seam allowance serves a dual purpose as the casing without the need for any additional layers. And simply skipping a few stitches in the top seam creates the opening without any additional stitches! Of course, you’ll want to backstitch at the opening to secure the stitches.
Living away from family means I am unable to customize the ear straps for each person. While there are a few different methods for creating adjustable straps including the use of beads, I opted for a double fisherman’s knot. I think it is the most simple and versatile without the need for extra hardware or other materials once you get the hang of creating the knot. The only downside is that you’ll need to use ⅛” wide elastic in order to slide the knots back and forth.
I know a few people with sensitive skin and wanted to avoid having too many seams and stitches on the surface of the mask. There is a single seam down the center, but I hope the pattern allows for some room between the face and fabric. Other than the center seam, the only stitching that sits on the surface of the mask is the topstitching, which you can choose to leave out if you wish.
This is a bonus feature that resulted from the way the front and back are sewn together. The nose wire and ear straps are also hidden between the two layers, so each person can choose the side they want to wear as the front.
Quick tip: I had a hard time trying to find neutral and masculine prints. Floral prints and soft colors seemed to be more readily available. By using a solid black or white color as one side of the mask, I was able to maximize the few prints that I did find.
- Downloadable pattern in sizes XS, S, M, L and XL
- 1/4 yards 100% cotton fabric: Solid color fabric and print fabric
- 1/8″ wide elastic cord rope. This elastic size is required for creating the adjustable straps that are shown in the tutorial. Use 2 x 12″ for mask sizes XS to S. Use 2 x 15″ for mask sizes M to XL.
- Nose wire. The elastic cord rope linked above comes with nose wires, but this one is thicker and feels more sturdy.
- Fabric Pins
- Fabric marking tool
- 0:14 – Materials required for the face mask.
- 0:55 – How to use the pattern. You can trace the pattern with the seam allowance. I prefer to trace the actual shape on each half of the face mask to sew right along the line without having to guess the shape. This also helps to keep the right and left halves symmetrical.
- 2:00 – Sew the halves together.
- 2:37 – Press the center seam to reduce bulk and allow the nose wire to slide into the pocket more easily. If you finish the center seam separately, you can just press it open. However, I use a zigzag stitch to finish my seam as a single piece. So I press the seam towards the left on both the front and back pieces. When the front and back pieces are matched up together, the seams end up pointing in opposite directions, thereby reducing the bulk at the center.
- 3:20 – Match the front and back pieces together.
- 4:16 – Position the elastic in-between the front and back pieces. Rather than using two separate strands on each side of the mask, use a long, single strand instead. Doing so reduces the potential for the strand to become undone, especially since the ⅛” wide elastic is quite thin. Length measurements for the elastic are listed in the Materials section above.
- 8:43 – There are three ways to topstitch the face mask. Topstitching helps to maintain the shape after using and washing. In the tutorial, I also show you how to tighten the sides while sewing in order to create a snug fit. Tightening the sides can be applied to all three methods listed below. However, I personally prefer not to tighten the sides at all because it is easier to breathe that way.
- Follow this method if you DON’T intend to use a nose wire: Topstitch right next to the edge all around the entire mask.
- Follow this method if you intend to use a nose wire and also want to close up all the openings: Start at the top of one corner. Sewing right next to the edge, topstitch all the way around to the other top corner. Backstitch to secure. Then topstitch right across the top while maintaining a space of ¼” from the edge. The ¼” spacing is the casing for the nose wire. This is the option I use for all of my masks.
- Follow this method if you plan to use a nose wire, but don’t mind having the top corners open: Start anywhere on the mask. For the right, bottom and left, topstitch right next to the edge. Pivoting at the top corner, topstitch 1/4 ” away from the edge to create the casing for the nose wire.
- 10:04 – How to tie a double fisherman’s knot.
- 14:03 – How to insert and remove the nose wire.
- 14:55 – Final outcome.
If you find this sewing tutorial to be helpful, please LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, and SHARE with a friend. Thank you so much for watching. Stay safe! 🙂