Introduction: Angela’s Face Mask With Filter Pouch & Nose Wire Pouch

About: I love to learn new things, create and build cool stuff and tend to think outside of the box. I like to think of myself as a Jill of All Trades or a Renaissance Woman if such titles exist. ; )

With medical masks running out at hospitals and the CDC now saying everyone should wear a mask when they leave their homes, I wanted to do my part, especially since I had cotton quilting fabric in my fabric stash (let's be honest, I have enough to last me three lifetimes). After watching many DIY videos and reading many blogs on how to make face masks, then reading what the experts were saying and different studies, I finally came up with my own instructions and got to work. I offered to make masks for my friends in the medical field and first responders for free, so I have been very busy ever since. I hope you find these instructions easy to follow, are able to get your hands on the supplies easily, and make as many as you can for others. Now get to sewing, be safe, and do good!


sewing machine

100% cotton fabric

thread (I prefer cotton)

double fold bias tape (or make your own)

rotary cutter/scissors

Step 1: Cut Your Fabric and Ties

Begin by cutting out your fabric pieces and making your double fold bias tape ties.

For an adult mask, cut your fabric to measure 8" x 16" rectangle and your bias tape into two (2) 30"-35" lengths for the ties. You can also cut fabric into two 3" x 30" pieces to make into ties.

For ages 4-12, cut your fabric to measure 5″ x 14″ and your bias tape into two (2) 25"-30" lengths.

For ages 2-4, cut your fabric to measure 4″ x 12″ and your bias tape into two (2) 20"-25" lengths.

TIP: I personally make yards and yards of bias tape at once to help speed up the process. Trust me, you will thank me later.

If you do not have bias tape, you can easily make your own! This video is super easy to follow.

Or this one!

Step 2: Iron Fabric

Iron down the ends of your ties to make a point. This will come in handy later.

Iron short ends of mask fabric about 1/4".

Step 3: Start Sewing Mask

You don't need a fancy sewing machine, only one that makes a straight stitch. My 1948 Singer Featherweight "Heather" is my partner in crime! After about 60 masks, I gave her a spa treatment (oiled, lubed, and changed out her needle) and we are still cranking them out.

Fold in raw edges of each short end under (the 1/4" you just ironed) and top stitch, serge, or stitch with a decorative stitch. This will be the edge of your filter pouch, so you want it to last through multiple washings.

Fold over fabric with right sides together and finished edges meet. Stitch each side of short finished end about 1.5” in leaving a “hole” in the middle.

Position to the middle and press open. This will be the opening for a filter pouch. Turn piece inside out with right sides of fabric facing out.

Step 4: Create Mask Pleats & Add Ties

Gather fabric to make creases and pin down. Usually 2-3 pleats on each side is enough. Pin down these pleats.

Fold bias tape pieces in half. Mark middle with pin.

These are the ties on each side of your mask. Start stitching your bias tape that has been folded in starting on the end edge.

Place side of mask inside the bias tape at middle mark and stitch inside bias tape. Continue to stitch bias tape together over side of mask. Repeat this step on other side of mask. You may want to stitch sides twice for reinforcement.

Step 5: Stitch Wire Nose Pocket

Fold mask in half and pin/mark top edge of mask making sure filter pouch opening is on the inside of the mask. Stitch a “half box” at the top edge about an inch out from the middle mark about ½" down. With needle down, pivot fabric and stitch about 2.5” across backstitching at the end. This is where you can place and remove a wire piece inside. I use a 2”-2.5” piece of garden wire from Dollar Tree.

Step 6: Add Filter

I started using blue shop paper towels as a filter. I fold them three ways and cut them down to size. I can get about 6 filters from one paper towel.

This article talks about using blue shop paper towels as a highly effective filter and the test results.

Step 7: And You Are Done!

Don't forget to make yourself one! Consider adding care instructions or a note of encouragement with your mask. These can be washed in hot water and dried in a dryer or the sunshine.

As I said before, I have been busy making and shipping out masks (and two scrub caps!) as fast as I can. Here is hubby modeling his mask.

And another option on the ties is to add a cord stop instead of having to tie the ties behind your head.