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  • Writer's pictureKarina Neill Photography


IMPORTANT -This mask was designed for love, not for profit. Respect health care workers and this crisis all over the world. Please, respect my intellectual creativity. All masks made with this pattern should be donated to healthcare workers, family members and friends in need. I kindly ask you not to use this pattern to make extra money. Be kind and lets help our community.


In this moment of panic all over the world, we can hide, we can cry, buy every roll of toilet paper, or we can use this time to be productive and proactive.

I have been watching the news, reading facebook posts, youtube videos and all of them mention the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health care workers. I became very sad because my husband works in the health care industry and he has been going to work every day since this pandemic crisis started, and I truly worry for his health and my family's health. This motivated me to grab the leftover fabric and elastic from my workshop and brainstorm on how to create a face mask. I did some research on the CDC website in regards to " homemade mask", and I was also able to see a real N95 mask to observe it very closely, and understand how it was made, this helped me improve my first two initial patterns which had elastic going behind the ears.

Before going further, I want leave a disclaimer about this fabric homemade mask.

HCP use of homemade masks:

In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks ( e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or bellow) and sides of the face.

So, lets start:

I tried my best to make this pattern as simple as possible, because I am professional photographer, not a professional seamstress. But, I do know the basics of sewing and I am all about simple, fast and effective patterns. I am visual learner, so I had to photograph the mask step by step to help you understand this pattern. Lets do this!

This mask is made with only one piece of fabric, you do not need to join different pieces of fabric, but you need to fold, sew, fold, and sew again.

Step 1: Materials -

-14"x8" piece of fabric. I used cotton fabric, you can use quilt fabric too.

- 2 pieces of elastic. One is 13" long and the other one is 9" long. I will explain later why you need 2 different sizes. I used the 3/8" wide elastic for this mask.

Step 2: Fold the piece of fabric. So now you will have a piece of 7" x 8", and it has to be on the wrong side of the fabric. We will work on the wrong side of the fabric until Step 7.

Step 3: Mark 2" on each side of the fabric. Do this on the edge of the fabric and keep working on the wrong side of the fabric. You will mark 2", leave 4" and mark again 2" on other edge of this piece.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 4: Pin in place and with a 1/4" seam allowance, sew along the first part of marked 2", reinforce there and cut the thread, leave the next 4" opened , DO NOT sew this part and move the next marked 2" space and sew along, reinforce the edge and cut the thread. When you are done with this step, you will have a piece 2" sewed, 4" opened and 2" sewed. Good job!

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 5: Place the piece on your cutting mat or table, then bring the sewed edge to the middle of the piece, make sure it is laying right on the middle of the piece and it is properly centered, then press the edges of the seam allowance, press the all the edges in general, so the complete piece stay in place and has a better shape. Just as shown in the photo below.

At this point, you will have a piece with two layers, one layer is flat, the layer on top has the 4" opening, the seam allowance centered, pressed and folded to the sides.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 6: I had to divide this step, to explain it with more details and images.

Turn the piece horizontally, where the 8" part is on top and the 6 1/2" is on the sides. We will get ready to attach the elastic.

Grab the 13" piece of elastic first and place it inside the two layers piece, this piece goes on the top edge.

Grab the 9" piece of elastic and place it inside the two layers piece, this piece goes on the lower edge. This piece of elastic will go around the lower part of your neck, that is why this piece of elastic is smaller. If your head is smaller you can cut a 8" piece of elastic for this part.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 6-1, 6-2: Make sure that the pieces of elastic are sandwiched in between the two layers of fabric, make sure that the elastic is also flat along the edge of the fabric, not twisted, double check that.

We will sew in two parts, so we can attach the pieces of elastic properly.

1-Pin the elastic in place and with a 1/4" seam allowance start sewing the left edge first. Reinforce by double sewing on top of the elastic, to make it more durable.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 6.3- 6.4: Now, lets attach the elastic on the right edge. Be extra careful here, double check that the elastic is flat along the edge of the fabric and not twisted, tuck in slowly, inside the piece and pin it in place, then sew it with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Make sure to reinforce and sew twice or three times on top of the elastic on each edge of the piece.

Still working on the wrong side of the fabric.

Then we will have this piece!

Step 7: Yay! We are almost there! Now, it is just time to turn the piece inside out, and get the pieces of elastic out, press the whole piece and sew the 4 edges with a 1/4" seam allowance.

This is how the front part of the piece looks like so far.

Step 7.1: With a 1/4" seam allowance sew the 4 edges of the piece.

This is how to front part looks like now. All four edges are sewn.

This is how the back part looks like, you can see the opening where a filter can be inserted.

Step 8: We are almost there! It is time to secure the edges one more time, and make room to make the mask adjustable to your face, nose and chin. We will do some folding work here, so get ready!

Lay the piece flat on work on the back side, as shown in the photo below.

Start folding from the half lower part and bring it close the line when the 4" opening is located. Do not cover that opening.

Start by the lower edge, fold in two and pin it in place, we are working on the back side of the piece here.

Continue folding in two the upper part of the piece and pin it in place.

Make sure to leave the 4" opening uncovered.

Once you are done folding the two edges, you will have a piece that looks like this, which is about 2 1/2" wide on the edges and the top should be 8".

Once it is folded like this, it is easier to pin it in place again, if you want, because we will sew the 2 1/2" edges on the front part.

Step 9: Are you ready for the final step? I am :)

We need to sew the 2 1/2' folded edges, but from the front part of the mask, because we already have a sewed trace line there, and it will make your life much easier, just sew on top of that, which has a 1/4" seam allowance already.

Sew slowly here, since you have a thick folded layer. We don't want a broken needle.

Remember to work on the front part of the mask here.

Make sure the elastic is not under the folded piece, put it behind the needle. sew slowly, and double sew on the edge where the elastic is attached.

You can sew the edges twice if you want. Trim the sewing threads and that is it!;)

Yay! The homemade mask is ready! You can see the 4" opening to insert a filter.

This is not any special filter, it is just a piece of embroidery "cut away stibilizer" I had in my workshop. I just wanted to see how it looks like.

There is enough space to insert any extra protection inside.

The design covers up to your nose, and down your chin. You can adjust the pattern by a few inches, if you want to make it bigger or smaller for kids.

The 13" elastic goes on top and the 9" sits nicely by the your neck and back of your head, you will have to adjust it where if fits better for you. I have long hair, so I tie my hair and anchor the 13" elastic there and the 9" goes underneath.

I hope you understood the tutorial on how to make this mask. I hope the images help you understand the more difficult steps better.

If you have any questions, look for me on Facebook and I will try to assist you.

Special thank you to my doctor friends who texted me and helped me improve the initial pattern, my local friend who helped me have access to a real N95 mask and study , and to my dear husband for his constant support and encouragement to work on it. Please, pray for my family. Stay safe. We will get through this!

Best wishes from a small town in Southern IL, USA.



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