Introduction: Personal Face Masks

About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.

It has been quite an adventure since the pandemic arrived. Just weeks before it was advised that everyone should wear a face mask, I started my adventure of finding the best features for a simple personal face mask. I made many of 5 different patterns until done day I decided to make one that had one maybe 2 different features from each of the different mask patterns that are out there. Some took as long as 25 minutes to make one mask. Others had added steps which really didn’t do anything to add to the quality of the mask. I now have a pattern for an adult size mask that I can create 20 of them in less that 2 hours, about 6 minutes each. They hot water wash and dry well and are easy to care for. At this point I have made 300 masks giving them to anyone who needs a mask; family, neighbors or anyone else. Here is my pattern to create a simple personal face mask.

OlyFun is a non-woven fabric which is a lot like the fabrics used in clinical (medical) masks. It’s heavier that the medical masks fabric yet it will help keep the stuff we want out, out and protect the wearer. I use it as a filter in the mask. NO need to replace it, just use hot water and detergent to wash the mask. If you can’t find Olyfun you can use a non woven interfacing instead. The non-woven part is the key. Also, Olyfun is 100% Polypropylene, so don’t iron it, it will melt.


Supplies: I will put the sizes needed for children’s
size mask in parenthesis behind the adult size.

1 piece 100% cotton size 10’ x14” (8” x 12”)

2 pieces twill for ties 31” long (21” long)

1 piece OlyFun fabric 6.5” x 8.75” (5” x 6.75”)

Sewing machine

Walking foot for your machine

Size 14 or 16 machine needle

Seam ripper

100% polyester thread




Step 1: First

Turn on your iron to heat up. Fold the short sides of the fabric together, right sides facing. Sew a ¼ inch seam along the short side.

Step 2:

Time to use the iron. Put the seam side up on your ironing surface and press the seam open. Turn the fabric right side out and press the fabric flat with the seam folded together as the bottom edge. The top is the folded edge.

Step 3:

Choose a rough edge side and fold the edge down into the center of the tube (yes at this point it is a tube) the fold down should be between ¼ inch and ½ inch. Press the folded edges down from both sides. Then do the same to the other side. Now you have a neat rectangle.

Step 4:

Grab the Olyfun piece and slide it into the center of the rectangle. Then take a moment and fold the edge of the Olyfun under the folded/pressed edges of the rectangle. Do this to both ends.

Step 5:

Now it is time to start sewing the mask together. Stick about 1 in of the end of the twill into the top corner of the rectangle. Start sewing, back stitching and going forward over the end of the twill. Stop. With your fingers create a pleat in the mask, folding the pleat toward the bottom. Sew over the pleat and stop before you go over the edge of the pleat. Form a second pleat and sew over it stopping before you go off it the edge of the pleat.

Step 6:

Now you need to put the other end of the twill into the bottom corner. Grab your seam ripper and stick the point through the end of the twill. Put the end of the seam ripper/twill in to the little hole left about 1inch deep. Put your finger on the end of the seam ripper and press down to keep the twill in place while you pull out the seam ripper. Sew down and off the rectangle, remembering to back stitch over the twill.

Step 7:

Now, we need to pleat the other side. Using the pleats created on the first side, line up the pleats on the other side. If you need to, use pins to hold the pleats in place. It doesn’t hurt to make sure that the edges are the same width as you get this side organized. Now, sew down this side, remembering to place the ends of the twill tape at the top and bottom, using the techniques used in steps 5 & 6. One thing, you will be going against the pleats. Now, use a stiletto or seam ripper to push down the front edge of the pleat to go neatly under the pressure foot (over that edge). I now have a stiletto (a gift) yet I still reach for my seam ripper when doing this procedure.

Step 8:

Trim all the little piece of threads off. Take the two loops and hold them together. Use your scissors to cut the loops into half (if you cut them in the center, they will be even pieces) for upper and lower ties. The mask is done. I usually tie the 4 ties into a bow to keep them neat and organized.

Step 9:

Here are masks, laying flat and opened like they would be when worn. The next picture is of the children’s size masks compared to the adult size. With practice, 6 minutes (not counting cutting out). Enjoy!