Sew Your Own Face Mask

Maile Malin
6 min readMay 18, 2020

My pattern with step-by-step instructions and photos

A few weeks ago I made a custom face mask pattern at home and shared how I used a UX process to design it. Afterward, some folks requested that I share my pattern. So here it is, replete with photos, step-by-step instructions, and optional add-ons. (*Basic knowledge of how to use a sewing machine is required.)

Download the pattern>

Update: They used these instructions to make their own masks!

What materials do you need?

I used materials that I had lying around the house. That being said, I also worked in the apparel industry and have been sewing since I was little, so I have a lot of stuff just laying around.

  1. Fabric — you need the ‘self’ fabric, or the main fabric and the lining. You can use the same fabric for the lining, or even more fun, use another fabric you like and make it reversible!
  2. 1/4"- 3/8" Elastic — you can substitute really long ties if you don’t have elastic. Or use the elastic from a used N95 or an old sleep mask! (I unearthed a few that I will now be recycling.)
  3. Nose Wire (optional) — for the nose wire I tried both leftover, sparkly, Christmas pipe cleaner and the black twisty-tie that holds toys in place in their packaging. Whatever bendy works!
  4. Stitch Witchery (optional) — to keep the open raw edges in place

Step by step Process with Photos

1. Download the pattern and print it out at the actual size. Measure the large elastic guide to ensure it’s 7 inches in length. If it’s not, the printout is not the correct size!
2. Pin the pattern to your folded fabric. The right sides should be together and the fabric edge (aka selvage and/or grainline) aligning with the grainline on the pattern.
3. Cut out 2 pieces each of the self and lining.

Sewing Instructions:

1. Sew the CF right sides together

2. Clip seam and iron open the seam

Step 1, 2, 3

3. Staystitch, or pin, the 1/4” elastic in place at the notches

4. Pin the self and lining, right sides together around the edges

5. Sew around the sides according to the seam allowance measurement included on the pattern (3/8" on all sides except the top edge which is 1/2" S.A.) Leave one side OPEN between the elastic pieces!

Step 5: Sewing around the edges, turning sharply at the corners and leaving one side open


Place the wire/pipe cleaner piece centered at the top, between the raw edges, snug against seam and pin it in place

More photos than you need of how to place and pin your (shiny Christmas) pipe-cleaner piece in the Center Top Seam

7. Stitch a casing/pocket carefully around it starting perpendicular to one seam then turn and sew at least 1/8” away from the wire to avoid breaking the needle! Turn at the end and stitch back towards the seam to hold the wire in place

Stitching the casing CAREFULLY around the pipe-cleaner

8. Clip the corners up to the seam (this will make it much easier to get sharp corners when you turn it right side out)

Clip the corners —fancy thread clippers not required

If you’re going to keep one side open so you can add further protection by adding an additional filter layer (I use a coffee filter), simply hem the edge or (if you have Stitch Witchery laying around, like I did) you can add a little bit under the raw edge and iron (fuse) it in place.

Using Stitch Witchery to finish the open edge

8. Gently pull the mask right side out through the open section. If you backstitched over the elastic, you shouldn’t be able to easily rip open your open seam edges.

9. Iron/press the edges

Flipping the mask right side out ironing it!


You could stop here and leave the pressed mask as is! OR if you want to keep the lining and edges in place, especially after watching your mask, you can now edgestitch around the mask.
If you have a nose wire,
sew at least 1/4"-3/8" from the top to avoid sewing over the pipe-cleaner and breaking your needle
If you want to add a filter, remember to leave it open on the side. If you don’t want to do that, edgestitch it closed!

To finish: 1/8" to 1/4" stitch around the mask- leave the open side open

Please let me know if you have any questions or issues!

I’ve enjoyed making these masks so much that I’ve decided to start selling them. If you’re interested, please contact me.

I made a reversible mask!