During the coronavirus outbreak I started making DIY Face Masks using some of the patterns I found online, but I really didn’t like the fit, especially because I was used to my more form-fitting and comfortable masks used for carpentry or demolition. So I designed what I’m calling the “Best Fit Facemask” tutorial. It’s more form-fitted onto the face and it has adjustable elastic ties around the ears to fit a wider variety of faces.
As a general contractor and woodworker, I had searched for form-fitting and comfortable masks to protect my lungs from dust and debris and had my favorites. For that reason, I knew there were better options than most of the sewing mask patterns I found. After a weekend, I designed this easy sew Best Fit Facemask Tutorial for use by the public and medical professionals trying to protect N95 and surgical masks while also staying safe during the COVID crisis. (These are not a replacement for N95 or surgical masks. These masks are designed to add an additional layer of protection.) Looking for a simple, stylish, and better fitting face mask? Look no further.
Face Mask Template Sizes:
At this time I’ve created a medium and a large template. The medium should fit most people, especially with the adjustable straps. I’ve included a large template for those who have a longer face or bigger head. Because children are a wide variety of sizes, you will need to downsize the template by printing the medium mask smaller. From limited testing, we found reducing the medium mask by 12% when printing yielded a mask that fit a four year old, but was still too big for a two year old.
Does this mask have a filter pocket?
Filter Pockets or No Pocket, your choice! Instructions for sewing a mask with or without a filter pocket are included. In fact, it’s only one step difference.
In addition to this pattern being easier to sew, it also uses less fabric to allow you to make more masks with the fabric you have on hand. Speaking of fabric, these are some sources for fabric in your home so you don’t have to buy anything!
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
- Fabric (see below for suggestions)
- Elastic Strap material (see below for ideas)
- Nose clip materials (see below for suggestions)
- Craft bead (or buttons)
- Sewing Machine
Better Face Mask Fabric Materials:
There is some science behind the materials used for face masks. Although the tighter woven (more thread count) fabrics offer more protection, they do pose the issue of being harder to breathe through. If you want to choose the best materials for both, here is a list of best materials for making your DIY face mask when trying to prevent virus transmission.
Sources for Mask Materials in Your Home:
- Quilter’s Cotton Fabric
- Cotton Blend Fabric
- Sheets or Pillowcases
- Tea Towels (not terrycloth)
- Fabric Napkins
- Scarfs or Bandanas
- Dress Shirts
- Other Cotton Fabrics
Nose Clip Materials:
One of the things I played with the most during the design period was appropriate materials for the nose clip. An Instagram friend suggested trying a coffee bag tie and I couldn’t be happier with the idea (thanks Nickolett!) But, despite our love of coffee, we didn’t have an endless supply of bags. And I could only make two nose clips from each bag tie.
Luckily, I MacGuyver’ed another solution that is nearly identical to the coffee bag ties using:
Simple cut a piece of electrical tape 3 inches long. Lay two 2.5″ pieces of wire onto half the tape and fold over the other half to seal the wire inside the tape. Trim off the ends, leaving a small amount of tape to cover the wires.
Less Successful Nose Clip Materials:
These items will work, but they either didn’t have enough of a “memory” in the bend, or they weren’t as comfortable. But, if it’s all you have, use it!
- Doubled Twisty Ties
- Pipe Cleaners
- Floral Wire
- Electrical Wire
- Triple-Layered cut outs from foil take out containers
Adjustable Strap Materials:
I know the other materials that are hard to find are elastic, so here are a few acceptable alternatives.
- 1/8″ round shock or paracord (cut two 12 inch lengths per mask)
- 1″ cut strips of t-shirt material (cut 6-8 inch lengths and stretch to 12 inches long)
- Flat ribbon hair bands (untie the knot and use one per side)
The key to the Best Fit Face Mask fitting so well is the adjustable straps. Using a craft bead on the straps allows the user to adjust the mask to their face. The paracord is the hardest to thread, but I found a great way to thread the strap material through the beads. Use fishing line folded in half. Thread the loop through the bead. Thread the strap material through the loop. Then pull the fishing line back through the bead.
The t-shirt material and flat ribbon elastic is much easier to thread through (especially when using the fishing line technique.) If you don’t have any of the above mentioned strap material, you can use any cord or straps, but it’s crucial that the material can move freely in the sides so the side can gather at the back of your cheek. Stationary sewn straps will cause the material to push out away from your face.
No matter what material you use for the straps, be sure to tie the ends of your straps to prevent the bead from coming off.
If you don’t have craft beads, a button with some craft twine can work well as a strap adjuster. Finally, a jump ring can work too, but it’s a bit harder to adjust.
Face Mask Templates:
There are downloadable instructions and templates for both a medium and large size mask. Download by clicking on the images below which will take you to the full-size templates. Make sure your printer window is set to print actual size. Do not fit to paper size. Double-check your print out by measuring the one inch box on the template.
Let’s get busy making the Best Fit Face Mask and be sure to share this tutorial with your friends and family so we can kick Coronavirus’s butt!
Watching the video tutorial is the easiest way to learn how to make the Best Fit Facemask. Enjoy!
Print these instructions with the templates at the end. Make sure to print at actual size and check the size with the one inch box on the template.
1. Cut out the templates. Gently score along the dotted lines and fold.
2. Trace the outside face mask template on your fabric. I designed the templates so you can get maximum use out of your fabric when making multiple masks. It helps to fold over the fabric and cut with the long sides of the template on the fold. But, you can rotate the template to fit more cuts out of the fabric. You’ll just have to seam together the pieces on the long side.
Lay your inside liner template onto your liner material. Trace and cut out fabric. (Important note: Hospitals are asking for masks with different fabrics for the outside and liner so they can visually see a difference.)
If you are making a filter pocket, you’ll need two liners (but only one outside piece.) If you need to connect two pieces of fabric together on the long side, do that now making sure right sides are together. I used a very small seam allowance.
3. Fold the corners of your template and mark a line onto your fabric at the fold. Repeat this on all pieces you cut out. Stitch along all the marked corners. If your fabric is printed, be sure your right sides are together. Now trim off the excess material at the corners making sure to cut close to the stitching.
4. Turn your outside mask material right sides out and press it with the iron. Lay the liner on top of the mask making sure the angled corners match for the nose and chin. Insert the liner fabric into the outside material and align the points and angles.
5. Then center the liner so there is an equal border of outside material around it.
6. Fold over the outside material 1/2 inch to touch the edge of the liner. Press and then fold over the material a second time this time over the liner.
Adding the Filter Pocket
This next step is only for those wanting to add a filter pocket. Just know that the more fabric you add, the harder the mask is to breathe through. Fold over ½ an inch of the material twice at the ends of the second liner. Press it with the iron. Now stitch over both sides along this the edge to tack the fold over in place. After stitching, insert the filter pocket on top of the liner (right side up), matching all the corner points. Then tuck it under the pre-ironed edges. If you need to, iron the edges again.
7. Locate the nose portion of the mask. Remember this is where you’ll be inserting the nose clip. Flatten the nose clip and tuck it under the binding of the nose. Use a clip or pin to hold the clip in place, but be careful not to put the pin all the way through the outside fabric layer so as not to add any large holes in the mask.
8. Stitch along the edge of the fold, being careful to avoid stitching onto the nose clip. Rotate the mask and stitch along the chin side of the mask.
Flip the mask over and feel for the nose clip. Sew a few stitches to the left and right of the nose clip to keep it from sliding around in the mask.
9. Double fold the ends of your mask about 3/4” twice to create a pocket for the ear straps. Be sure to avoid the filter pocket if you have one.
10. Time to grab the adjustable straps you made earlier. Take one strap and tuck it under the fold on the end. Stitch along the edge of the fold taking care not to stitch over the elastic. Repeat for the other side.
Make sure your straps still move freely in the fold. This allows the mask to cinch behind your cheek and not pucker.
This concludes your tutorial to make the Best Fit Face Mask.
Attention Makers: If you end up making these to sell, please send me an email so I can add you to the database I’ll share with the public. In your email, answer these four questions: (1. Your Name 2. City, State, and Country 3. How People Can Contact You? 4. How Much You Want to Charge per Mask?)
Want to buy a face mask instead? This is a list of people who are selling the Best Fit Face Mask.
Everyone, please share this tutorial! Pin it, Tweet it, Facebook Share it, or Email it! Everyone should have a good fitting face mask for protection. After the Coronavirus is gone, these masks are great for woodworking or protection from seasonal pollen and allergens.
Stay kind, stay safe!
I appreciate all the comments, but I’m spending two hours a day replying to comments and emails. PLEASE READ THESE FAQs and check the COMMENTS below for answers to most asked questions before asking.
I also hope others can help answer questions if you see one. Thank you and take care.
• Where is the template? All the instructions and templates are on this page. If you can’t find it, please check again it’s linked under the Instruction section.
• Need Dimensions? They are included on this page. Look for the “Don’t have a printer?” link under Instructions.
• What size are the craft beads I used? The hole on my beads is 4mm.
• If I don’t have a bead, what can I use? Use a button and feed twine through the holes then tie them around your ear straps tight enough to hold the strap, but loose enough to be able to move the button.
• Can I skip the liner if using a filter pocket? At your own risk. I like to have two layers of fabric between me and the world. The filter pocket doesn’t extend all the way to the sides of the mask.
• What filter material should I use? Do your own research. Here’s a good article on options for filters.
• What material did you use for the liner? I used sheet material or a cotton curtain.
• Don’t have a particular material for this mask? I listed a variety of alternative materials on this page. There are plenty of other substitutes, but these are the ones I tried and can recommend.
• Are these washable? Absolutely. I wash mine before donating. The electric tape protects the wire from water. Frankly the wire will break from repeated bending before it will rust.
• Is there a small or child size template? Do you have an X-Large size? No. Children’s face sizes are varied. I recommend trying to reduce the medium template when printing by 10-15% for a child size. We found a 12% reduction fit a four year old well but was still too big for a two year old. You’ll have to play with printing the template larger for an extra large size. I have no way of testing sizes as we are doing our part by staying home. You can do your part by commenting if you find an enlargement or reduction size fit your person.
• Can’t thread your straps through the bead? Try using fishing line folded in half and feed through the bead loop first. Put strap material through the fishing line loop and pull it back through the bead. You can see a video of this process at the end of my Instagram stories here
• Video too fast? Don’t like the music? Keep your thoughts to yourself and download the instructions on this page. (Then you can play your own music and you can read it at your own pace.)
P.s. If you got to the end of this tutorial and still have questions, please read the comment section as many questions have been answered. I am receiving numerous questions and comments via email, YouTube, and the blog. It is impossible for me to answer all of them.