Introduction: Face Mask Adapted for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing

I am not a professional sewer but after seeing the need for cloth face masks, given the shortage of supplies, I dug out my grandma's sewing machine and got to work. I followed the A.B. Mask (which is an awesome pattern for those looking for a basic mask with great fit) at

After a week of sewing a few dozen masks I saw someone had created a see through mask for those who rely on lip reading for communication and knew I had to switch gears. You see, I am DeafBlind and rely on lip reading to fully communicate. But I couldn't find a pattern anywhere online. So I did some research and with the help of some friends decided to make my own. But I didn't want to recreate the wheel so I used the A.B. Mask as my template and adapted it. I found that by adding a "window" to this existing pattern worked great. So here are the directions for the adaptation. Please visit Jessica's instructable page for more tips and tricks on how to make a face mask.

NOTE: These are NOT N95 grade masks but according to the CDC can be used for personal use.

UPDATE: To create a better fit make the nose dart the same length of your nose. This means trimming up to 1/2 inch off the top of the pattern. I have now been making the larger size pattern and trimming off the top 1/3 inch with a good end fit for me. The key to masks is they need to be tight around the edges so the fabric can do its job and "filter" the air you breath to the best of its ability. any gaps around the nose or edges create unfiltered air exchange and is less effective.

Update 2: You can add a metal wire to the top trim/casing of this mask. It can be sewn in while making the mask or added later by creating a slit at one end to thread the wire into the top casing. the mask cannot be machine washed with the wire so a removable wire is best. People have been using all sorts of wire from gardening wire to pipe cleaners to twist ties. The idea is to have a wire that can hold its shape and keep the upper edge of the mask tighter to your face.

If you machine wash the mask the vinyl can be "refreshed" by using a warm hair dryer. this will remove wrinkles and possibly help with fogging. Be sure not to over heat it.

I am also updating the pattern so it can be cut on the fold of the fabric and creates a better positioning of the window. That will be updated later today.


100% cotton fabric (two colors preferably)

clear vinyl or other see through material that can withstand washing. Note: clear vinyl can be washed in cold water only with a mild detergent. Cannot be sanitized. You can soak in a vinegar solution if deeper cleaning is needed but it may cloud the window after repeated soaks.


sewing machine

washable glue (optional for holding vinyl in place while sewing)

Wire (optional to put in upper casing of mask)

Step 1: Step 1: Cut Out Fabric

Cut out two pieces of pattern.

Cut out two strips of fabric that are 40 inches by 2 inches for the straps. Can use smaller strips and combine them together by following directions on Jessica's pattern(Link above).

Sizing note: two sizes in medium and large to make the best fit for your face. Can also change pleat size to adjust sizing and fit.

Printing Note: When printing be sure to set scale to 100%

Step 2: Step 2: Tack Sides

Place pattern right sides together and sew a line on each end to hold the two pattern pieces together.

Step 3: Step 3: Frame Window

Use a glue stick to help tack down the edge of the window on one side.

Flip over and repeat on opposite side.

Step 4: Step 4: Insert Vinyl

Turn fabric right side out. Iron end seams(optional)

Place clear vinyl piece 4.25" by 2.5" between layers. I use glue to help hold vinyl in place during sewing.

Sew around the window 1/4 inch from edge.

Step 5: Step 5: Sew Darts

Fold mask in half with outside fabric together. Be carful not to crease the vinyl.

Mark darts, and pin in place.

Sew darts and cut off extra fabric. Immediately unfold mask to prevent creasing of vinyl.

Step 6: Step 6: Make Pleats

Fold, pin, and sew pleats. Make sure the pleat opening faces down on outside so nothing gets trapped in the pleat fold.

Two large pleats are fine, Three pleats creates a tighter fit and is preferred.

Tip: to make pleats symmetrical lightly fold mask in half to compare pleats on each end.

Step 7: Step 7: Sew on Ties

To sew on ties align the middle of the 40 inch tie with the center of the mask and pin with right sides together. Sew into place.

Fold tie length wise to center of tie, then fold again over raw edge of mask as shown. Sew in place.

To finish ties fold both edges into center, then fold over again so both raw edges of the tie are folding inside. Sew in place.

Note: can also use double fold bias tape to cover raw edge and create ties.

Step 8: Step 8: Sew on Bottom Tie

place right side together and sew along bottom.

Fold tie over, then fold over again to cover raw edge of mask. Pin in place and sew.

Complete ties fold both edges into center, then fold over again so both raw edges of the tie are folding inside. Sew in place.

Step 9: Step 9: Use Anti Fog Agent on Clear Vinyl(optional)

One suggestion I saw said to reduce fogging of the clear vinyl you can use an anti fog agent like those used in swimming goggles. I have not tried it yet, let me know if it works for you.