How to Make Face Masks

Difficulty: Medium

Budget: ~£22

Time: ~30 mins

The best face masks has three layers: one to wick moisture from the face; a middle layer to filter; and an outer that is hydrophobic ie. it repels moisture. This is similar to the construction of the medical N95 respirators.

There are many fabulous patterns out there freely available or at a modest price. The one we use at home is the Olsen mask by sewcanshe. However, we’ve slightly altered the steps on their site to one we find easier to make (below) – for this we only use this pattern!

Note, if you are making a pleated mask then you are probably only going to use two layers as having the filter layer makes it too thick to sew.

Go to:

Fabrics You'll Need

Outer Layer: Choose your style with a Cotton Poplin or Digital Print cotton

Filter Layer: Zorb Original, Zorb 3D or Bamboo Fleece all have entwined fibres that are perfect for filtration. Choose an antimicrobial version for extra protection.

Inner layer: A lightweight wicking layer such as Stay Dry Interlock or Jersey Mesh is best to stay cool.

Elastic: Latex free knitted elastic in black or white

How to Make

Step 1:

Print out the Olsen face mask pattern here.

Cut out the pattern.

Step 2:

Using the pattern cut 2 for each outer layer, filter layer, and inner layer.

You should have 6 total pieces.

Step 3:

(3a) Align and sandwich the outer layer with the filter layer, making sure the right side of the outer layer fabric are facing each other and pin together.

(3b) Sew through all these layers along side 3 (see pattern for reference) twice, once starting from the top, and the other starting from the bottom.

Step 4:

Sew together the 2 inner layers, making sure the right side are facing each other, along side 3 (see pattern for reference) ½ an inch from the edge.

Sew twice for reinforcement, once starting from the top, and second starting from the bottom to close the hole.

Step 5:

Open the outer and filter layer from step 3, showing the outer layer right side up.

Then, with 3.5 inches of face mask elastic (or anything reasonable for your face!), rest it along side 4 (see pattern for reference). This should form a semi-circle, make sure the elastic is resting towards the middle of the mask.

Lay and pin the filter layer on-top of the elastic and outer layer right side facing each other.

Step 6:

Sew everything together around the edges, including the elastic, but leaving the space between one of the elastic free. This will leave you a gap to turn the face mask right side up.

Step 7:

Turn the face mask the right side up through the gap left in step 6.

Top sew all around the face mask, starting from the side with the gap.

When you come to sew the gap, sew the side of the gap twice for reinforcement.

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