Introduction: Fitted Pocket Mask (Modified Olson), in Eight Sizes (Adult Large to Youth/Child Extra Small)
When soft elastic, adjustable ear loops became widely available, I liked the idea of incorporating them into my pattern. As such, I created this YouTube video to explain how to make a quick change to my original pattern and assembly instructions to accommodate permanently sewn-in, adjustable ear loops. Many of the steps overlap with those in this Instructable and will be helpful to understanding the instructions below.
A filter template to accommodate all sizes can be downloaded here.
The pattern and instructions have been updated to include the following:
- Metric measurements.
- Instructions for measuring for fit.
If, like me, you have been searching for the perfect mask pattern, you know it can be overwhelming. Given my involvement with a group of volunteers sewing fabric masks and other items to help Canadian front line workers during this difficult time, I’ve had many friends and family ask me for the “best pattern”.
The short answer is, there is no right answer. It really is a matter of need and personal preference. If you're inclined to dig deeper, you may enjoy reading my Fabric Mask Fast Facts & Patterns information sheet. If you're eager to get started, keep reading!
The mask we prefer in my home is a fitted style, inspired by the Olson design. Although similar in style, my design is more simple to cut and assemble. I have also designed multiple sizes, ranging from Adult Large to Youth XS, and added a nose wire channel for better fit.
Before we begin, it should go without saying that fabric masks are inferior to medical-grade masks. I offer no guarantees of protection should you choose to make and wear these masks. Everyone must do their own research to educate themselves regarding the best materials to use and the proper use and care of these masks.
Now let's get started!
Step 1: Print Pattern
- When printing the pattern, be sure to print the actual size (deselect any scaling options) and print single-sided.
- Verify the scale by measuring the 1"/2.5cm block.
Step 2: Prepare Pattern Pieces
- Cut out the desired pattern size and use a hole punch to remove the dots. For future reference, one dot = TOP and two dots = BOTTOM.
- Please refer to the Instruction file for steps to measure for fit.
Step 3: Choose Fabric
- Recommended fabrics for masks include tight-weave cotton blends and 100% cotton.
- It is recommended that the outside (or EXTERIOR piece) fabric is noticeably different from the interior (MOUTH & CHEEK) fabric, so it is easy to identify which side to place against your face.
Step 4: Cut Fabric
- Cut two of each piece.
Step 5: Mark Fabric
- Use the tiny holes on each pattern piece to mark each fabric piece.
- I use a black Sharpie for light fabric and a silver Sharpie for dark.
Step 6: Press & Topstitch
- Press under the flat edge of each MOUTH piece, and the longest flat edge of each CHEEK piece, ¼”/6mm towards the wrong side of the fabric.
- Top stitch pressed seams on MOUTH & CHEEK pieces.
Step 7: Stitch & Clip Curved Edges
- With right sides together, stitch the curved edge of both the EXTERIOR and MOUTH pieces using a ¼”/6mm seam.
- Clip the curved seams of both the EXTERIOR and MOUTH pieces, taking care to not snip too close to your stitching. This helps to ease the curve when turning right sides out.
Step 8: Press Curved Edges
- Open the two, attached EXTERIOR pieces. With the wrong side up, and TOP of the mask facing away from you, press the curved seam of the EXTERIOR piece to the LEFT.
- Open the two, attached MOUTH pieces. With the wrong side up, and TOP of the mask facing away from you, press the seam of the MOUTH piece to the RIGHT.
- Later, this and the previous step will ensure that the metal nose piece will not catch upon insertion and removal.
Step 9: Stack & Pin
- With right sides together, pin the MOUTH pieces to the EXTERIOR pieces, lining up at centre seam and dots.
- Ensure the centre seams are both pointing in the same direction.
- With MOUTH pieces facing up, place, align (using the dots and straight edges) and pin CHEEK pieces, wrong side up.
Step 10: Sew & Turn Right Side Out
- Stitch ¼”/6mm seam around the entire perimeter.
- Clip corners.
- Turn out CHEEK pieces.
- Use a tool to push out corners.
- Turn remainder of mask right side out.
Step 11: Press & Topstitch
- Press the outer edge of the perimeter.
- Top stitch around the entire perimeter of the mask.
Step 12: Pin & Sew Nose Piece Channel
- Fold the finished mask in half at the curved, centre seam and place a pin approximately 1.5”/4cm down from each side.
- ½-⅝”/1.5cm from the top edge of the nose, sew a line between the two pins, back-stitching at both ends.
Step 13: Create Strap Channels
- Fold under short ends of the mask approximately 1”/2.5cm and pin.
- Sew along top-stitching line, back-stitching at each end.
Step 14: Prepare & Insert Nose Wire
- If using pipe cleaners or other, weak wire, twist two or more together to strengthen.
- Use pliers to turn under and pinch ends so there are no sharp edges.
- Using a Sharpie, mark direction of nose wire with arrows (right-to-left).
Step 15: Insert Elastic & Measure Fit
- Insert elastic up one ear channel and down the other.
- Place bottom loop over head.
- Pull cut ends up and over ears, ensuring the mask is snug to face.
- Secure cut ends by tying or sewing (with 1"/2.5cm overlap).
- Alternately, matching/coordinating ties can be made and the wearer can simply tie the ends behind their head. See Fabric Masks Fast Facts & Patterns for more details.