Comfortable Face Mask in Easy Steps Pattern Included




Introduction: Comfortable Face Mask in Easy Steps Pattern Included

I prefer to be comfortable and I think most people do too. This mask will do everything a disposable mask will do: keep our germs as close to us as possible and to keep us from touching our nose and mouth. So why does everyone do pleated masks? While there is no harm in it and, understandably, the medical community needs to stick with tried and true, the bottom line is that those masks are adequate as well as cheap to produce.

With a decades spent in Custom Couture (design and construction), and understanding that cost effectiveness is important, cheap is never a standard used and adequate is only used to satisfy a customer who's desires preclude my usual standards.

Comfort encourages compliance. If you have ever seen a face mask worn on the chin or hanging from one ear, you have seen that the pleated mask could be more comfortable.

The directions are for a 3 layer mask for maximum absorbancy, but it certainly could be made with just two layers. An alternative to elastic is provided.


Three pieces of fabric; each needing to be about 8”x 14”. I mention sizes because this is a great project for scraps. Cotton is recommended due to absorbency and comfort

21” (for small) or 22” (for large) of narrow elastic, cut into two equal pieces. ALTERNATELY cut a 4 yard length of ribbon, fabric tubing, or even a narrow flat fabric strip, if elastic is not available or if someone finds it uncomfortable.

SEAM ALLOWANCES are all 5/8” (1.5cm) and included on the pattern piece.

PATTERN is on the 4 page .PDF download at the end. It includes a full size pattern piece in two sizes, all instructions and the most important photos (in color) for reference while in the thick of things.



Outer Fabric (OF); the fabric you will see when the mask is worn.

Inner Liner Fabric (ILF); the ham in the sandwich. This is not visible.

Lining Fabric (LF); The inside fabric which will touch the face.

Step 2: Getting Ready 1

CUT the pattern out in the size you are choosing; small is for children and tiny-headed adults, large fits most adults.

FOLD each piece of fabric in half to make an 8”x7” rectangle. It is ok to stack them all up and cut once if your hand and scissors can do it. If not, just do each piece separately.

Step 3: Getting Ready 2

LAY the pattern on the fabric, side with notches on the straight grain, and pin. PRO TIP; fold the outer fabric (OF) and the lining fabric (LF) right side in before cutting.

CUT the fabrics.

MARK the pleat on just the outer fabric, mark on both pieces of outer fabric. This pleat will be done later with all layers together. Use chalk or fabric marking pen if you have it, pencil or a running stitch if you don’t. If marking just doesn’t work, read on! I have a solution for that, too.

Step 4: Construction Begins!

LAY the inner liner fabric (ILF) on either side of the outer fabric (OF). The order should be ILF, OF, OF, ILF. Fig 2 Also, be sure the LF is right sides together, just separately (LF, LF).

STITCH The centers together from point A to point B, with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance on both the four layer OF/ILF and the LF. Stitch from edge to edge, back stitching at both ends. A shorter stitch will give you leeway if you clip too closely by accident.

CLIP curves using Vs. The point of the V should be close to but not touching the stitching line. Fig 3

PRESS center seams open with a hot steam iron (trust me, this makes life easier). The curved tip of the ironing board works well. Alternately, using a zig zag stitch, stitch along the center seam, preferably from the wrong side, to be sure the seam is stitched open.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

PLACE connected outer fabric/inner liner fabric together with lining fabric, right sides together. Line up the center seams on top and bottom and pin. Pin corners and any other place you are concerned about. Fig 4 A

SEW all the way around except between the notches on one side. Fig 4 B

CLIP all corners diagonally. Clip curves. Fig 4 C

Step 6: Nearly There!

TURN mask right side out and press, making sure the corners are popped out nicely and the open edge is even with the outer fabric and lining fabric aligned. Fig 5

Step 7: Finishing Touches

PLEAT where marked on the pattern (and hopefully on the mask) by folding the mask at the mark, setting the needle about 3/16” in and stitching back and forth about 3 stitches to create a bump. Sometimes the mark is hard to see. Feel for the edge of the seam inside and fold there, then stitch. Do this on both sides of the center seam. Fig 6 A These pleats are optional—but the fit is better with them.

STITCH all the way around the mask, between 1/8” and 3/16” from the edge. When you get to the pleated bump, hold it away from the center seam and stitch back and forth one or two stitches to secure it, then continue on around the mask. PRO TIP; find or draw a mark on the presser foot and keep the edge aligned with that mark. I love Sharpies! If drawing on the presser foot gives you the willies, put a piece of tape down and draw on that. Also, I use the very tip of a seam ripper to hold down the bump to help the machine stitch it down. Go slowly so you don’t hit the ripper with your needle and break it.

MEASURE in from the side 1/2” mark the line CD, fold and press to the inside. Fig 6 B

STITCH near the edge of the folded part to create a channel for the elastic. Fig 7

Step 8: Finish This and You Are Done!

THREAD elastic through the channel using a bodkin, bobby pin or safety pin to get it through the channel. Then tie an overhand knot Fig 8 Check the fit and adjust as needed. Slide knot into channel for comfort.

ALTERNATIVE to elastic; measure 4 feet of ribbon, a fabric tube, or flat folded and stitched fabric and thread through the elastic channels as shown. Fig 9

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    2 years ago

    How would add a wire or pipe cleaner to the nose area? I mean can you suggest a way to do that?


    Reply 2 years ago

    I would just whip stitch it to the outside. It won't survive even one washing well enough to put it inside, but I understand your wanting to fit the nose. Those wires really help with fogging on glasses.


    Question 2 years ago on Step 7

    What is the radius of the curves


    Reply 2 years ago

    I'm sorry. I do not know. I Use a template-type tool designed for pattern making to draw my lines. If you print just page one of the PDF file I'm sure you would be able to figure it out.


    2 years ago

    Great pattern! Thanks for sharing :)


    Reply 2 years ago

    You just made my day! Thank you for taking a look and being so supportive!!