Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mask Tutorial

How are you all doing? It has been quite a ride since the COVID-19 outbreak. I have been staying home most of the time except when I go to a doctor's appointment or grocery shopping, just like many of you who are reading this. I also have been making many masks. I started making my own mask so I could go shopping, then I made some for my family, friends, to donate, extended families and more. During this mask making journey, I have tried several different patterns I found online. I found a mask that fits fine for me, but my family always had something they didn't like about those masks. Here are some problems with the masks we have tried:

* They felt like the tip of their nose was being squished, but to loosen the tie or elastic to relieve that pressure, the mask slides down or creates too much of a gap around the bridge of their nose.

* They prefer the kind that loops around the ear, but after a while of wearing their ears start to hurt.

* The mask doesn't cover the chin

* With the ear loop type, you can't adjust the length of the loop for individuals. Sometimes this creates an arch shaped gap on the sides.

* Not enough space around the mouth and it is hard to breath.

They have given me a lot to think about and to study! I never put that much thought into masks before. Who knew mask making could be so complicated and difficult!!

It is especially hard to find masks that would fit Mr. TRH. He and I have very different facial structures and features. He has deep set eyes with a tall nose and the distance from under his eyes to chin is longer than mine. I have rounder face with typical asian features. No wonder the same mask that would fit me doesn't fit him.

Keeping the problems I listed above in mind, I drafted a few patterns and made some prototypes and asked him to try them on. After some trial and error, I finally came up with a pattern that works for him and I! I know there are lots of great patterns out there and my pattern may not work for you, but here is my contribution to the mask making community.

I drafted three different sizes: small, medium and large. Large fits perfectly for my Mr. TRH, my teens and I take medium and I made small just because. my neighbor helped me by having her kids try the mask and I figured the small would fit kids around 5 to 8. I am wondering if small would work for even bigger kids if you put longer elastic. Let me know if you find out. :)

Please read all the instructions before you start


For fabrics, it is recommended by the CDC that tightly woven cotton fabrics layered together is very effective. Also, using flannel as a liner is a very good option.

1 piece of Outer fabric (S - 6"H x 12"W / M - 8"H x 12"W / L - 8"H x 12"W )
1 piece of Inner fabric (S - 6"H x 10"W / M - 8"H x 10"W / L - 8"H x 10"W )
2 pieces of 1/4"wide and however long elastic(or knit string) for individual - I usually cut mine to 9" to 11" to have extra for adjustments
Wire, pipe cleaner or twist ties (optional)
Other basic sewing tools

How to

1. Download my printable pattern. If you are planning on making many masks, it is very helpful to make a template with thicker and harder material.

2. Fold the fabric right sides together in half. Trace the template on to the outer and inner fabrics.

3. Sew short straight lines along the top and the bottom.

4. If you want to make the mask with an opening for a filter, take the inner fabric and fold both sides twice with 1/4"seam and sew. If not, you can skip this part.

5. With right sides together, pin outer and inner pieces. Make sure that the seams on the top and bottom are facing opposite directions for a cleaner finish.

6. Sew the top and the bottom with 1/4"seam. Turn inside out.

7. Press the seam with an iron and top stitch both seams.

8. Fold the sides of the outer fabric twice (1/4" first then 1/2") and stitch. Make sure that you don't stitch over the opening for the filter.

If you skipped step 4, you can just sew the folded outer fabric on top of the inner fabric. If you want to sew in wire for the bridge of the nose just like I did, you should do it now.

9. Put the elastic through or knit string through the sides and tie the ends to make a loop. Hide the knots inside of the sleeve and it is ready to wear! Elastic is very hard to find nowadays, but I actually LOVE knit string so much better. You might be wondering what knit string is; basically, you vertically cut thin knit fabric such as a t-shirt and pull it hard. Both sides of the fabric will roll toward the inside and voilá! You have knit string. Dana from Made Every Day has a tutorial for this along with her pleated mask tutorial.

*Optional --- This mask is pretty secure around the bridge of the nose without the additional wire, but if you prefer, you can sew one in like I did, or you can sew ribbon or bias tape to the inner fabric side to create a sleeve for your mask to have a removable wire option.

Here is what I did:

1. I measured 2" from the center of both sides and marked.

2. Slide in the wire (in my case, I made an aluminum strip out of a piece of a soda can) from the side. Keep the wire in place using pins while sewing.

3. This is the view from inside and outside of the mask.

When I wear the mask, the tip of the nose area has more space than Mr. TRH's does. It fits perfectly for him and the fabric is not pushing his nose in and he loves it. The rest of the family is pretty happy with the results including myself.

I know some areas are relaxing the stay at home order, and I don't really know what this means for us, and the whole nation, but I think it is good to be cautious and wear a mask when we go out. Not just for us, but for the other people around us. Might as well sew what we want to wear, right? ;)

Stay safe everyone!!!


  1. Thanks for that Sashiko. Mask wearing is not common where I live in Australia but we don't have the staggering numbers of people being infected like in the US at this stage. I will keep your template in mind though if that changes.

  2. Thank you for the pattern and tutorial!

  3. Your masks actually look like fashion accessories! I'm experiencing fabric envy. :-) Honestly, I've always appreciated your explanations and tips, in addition to your patterns, so I think I'm going to try your pattern out. Thanks!

  4. I've made three masks today, one in each size. They fit so well and are the most comfortable of all the ones I've tried. Thank you for sharing the pattern and tutorial

  5. Thank you so much dear Sachiko, for sharing this mask. I will make one. I think this shape will work for me. I hate my nose being smashed and I do want to be sure I can wash mine.I adore your detailed instructions. Life has changed and this is quite probably the new normal for a long time

    love you❤️

  6. Thank you Sachiko, for drafting your pattern out! I've been finding the same thing with the various masks patterns available. I'm looking forward to trying it out!

  7. this is a wonderful pattern. Thank you for sharing your skills, Sachiko

  8. Sachiko, Thank you for being so kind as to share your printable mask patterns and tutorial! I have been looking to make masks for myself and my daughter, and this pattern is wonderful. I will be sewing them up tomorrow. Sincerely, Alyssa

  9. Thank you for this pattern. I have made so many different masks and this one fits the best!!!

  10. HI! Your pattern looks awesome! What percentage should the pattern be in Adobe when I print? I didn’t see a 1” square to check. Thanks!

  11. Thank you Sachiko for sharing this pattern, I've tried a few mask patterns now and this is the best I've found. Very comfortable, no excess fabric, and quick to make too.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I have tried so many and this one fits my family the best. So far I have made four of them. They sew together quickly. Thanks again.

  13. do a you tube how to also if you can

  14. Thank you for figuring out the hard stuff. Can't wait to give this a try. Stay safe!

  15. Thankyou for sharing your pattern and tutorial

  16. This is the nicest mask pattern I've seen so far. Thanks!

  17. I love this pattern! I've made the size medium for myself, my 14 year old son and my aunt and grandma. They all love the fit. I have made the size small for my almost 10 yr old and 12 year old. For both styles I make the elastic adjustable to customize the fit...I use a soft cord that is similar to what is on the disposable hospital masks. I make 2 slip knots to adjust like the friendship bracelets I used to collect and trade in the 80s n 90s. I've found using 12" works for medium... can adjust down to 6" unstretched and 8-10" works for the small size.

    I've also turned others into this pattern. Thank you!

  18. Hi, what paper size should the pattern be printed on? A4? I dont have a printer at home, is it possible to provide the scale on the pattern? So that I could draw the pattern from my computer screen. Thank you!

    1. Same here! I don't have a printer, so I trace from my computer screen. A scale on the pattern pages would be a great addition.

  19. I just found your tutorial and it looks lovely. Forgive me if you've already answered this question, can I sell masks made with your pattern in my Etsy shop?

  20. I'm glad I found this pattern again! My husband's favorite mask. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Merci pour ce tutoriel les masques vont très bien Geneviève

  22. We have been staying home but I needed to take my son somewhere yesterday and found this pattern for making a mask. He adores it. Thanks so much for making a printable free version and making this tutorial.

  23. Thank you for sharing! This is our favorite mask pattern.

  24. Thank you so much! A real life saver!

  25. I am so happy to have found you and this mask pattern! Thank you for all of your time and effort to create a wonderful downloadable pattern. I have a question though...when you state this is step #3 "Sew short straight lines along the top and the bottom" are you using a 1/4" seam allowance? Thanks so much!

    1. Yes, I am sewing with 1/4" seam allowance. :)


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