Since I first published pattern and instructions for my Hybrid Cloth Mask, which fits gapless yet roomy and reliably stays in place, I’ve been asked about making a detail tutorial for beginners and visual learners, but as a video needs at least 2-3 quiet days and a picture tutorial was possible to just make inbetween, I decided to go with that for now!
Table of Contents
Brief Introduction to the Special Features of the Hybrid Cloth Mask, and How to use the Tutorial alongside Instructions
Chapter (1) Preparation of Pattern, Material, Supplies | Chapter (2) Marking, Stiching and Ironing on the Wrong Side
Chapter (3) Stitching, Marking and Pleating on the Right Side | Chapter (4) Arranging and Sewing the Outer Channel
Chapter (5) Ironing and Stitching the Inner Part of the Tunnel | Chapter (6) Inserting Wire, Ties and Filter | Rights
Short introduction to my hybrid cloth mask
I have optimized pattern and manufacture of the cloth mask, by making it fit snug around nose, cheek and chin of the wearer, but at the same time allowing them to breathe, speak and laugh without the mask moving around or glasses fogging up. Thanks to a backwards pleat, it doesn’t even need a wire! Plus, all individual parts (wire, ribbons, filter) are simply replaceable and once you’ve figured out how the mask is made, it’s easy and quick to sew, wash and iron.
To follow this tutorial, you’ll need to download the PDF with pattern and instructions from the original post. There, you can also read about my personal mask test, the special features of my pattern and the general handling of cloth masks. Furthermore, I wrote an extended FAQ section you might want to look at while making the mask! ➔
Besides a printout of pattern and instructions (or just a ruler, if you don’t have a printer!) and bookmark for the FAQ, you’ll need (at least) two fabrics (please test in advance whether you can breathe well!), some wire, elastic straps or textile ties, a sewing machine or simply a needle, scissors, pins, chalk or pencils for marking, plus (ideally) a flatiron.
Picture Tutorial for Sewing the Hybrid Cloth Mask
The chapter numbers (1) – (6) in this pictorial step-by-step tutorial relate to the numbers in the illustrated instructions you just printed out from the PDF. I highly recommend to look at both simultaneously, in order to not get lost! :)
Chapter (1) Preparation of Pattern, Material and Supplies
(1a) Visit the original post, read it and keep the tab open or bookmark for the FAQ (in case you might need them later :)). Download instructions in your paper size [EU or US], print the PDF* and cut out both pattern and template.
*If you don’t have a printer, you could just use a ruler and look for measurements in pattern and instructions!
(1b) Once you’re ready, collect your materials and start cutting! Cut or rip* 20 x 20 cm / 8″ x 8″ of the back and front fabric and 2 strips of 5 x 10 cm / 2″ x 4″ each. Put the strips aside for the moment. Later, you will also need 18 cm / 7″ of wire for the nose holder and 60 cm / 24″ elastic band for the earbands or 120 cm / 48″ textile ribbon for a headband.
* Personally, I think ripping the fabric (as shown in my pictures) and pre-fringing 2-3 threads to prevent further fringing is the fastest solution. If you prefer to work more neat, you can cut your fabrics and / or overlock all edges!
Variation: To use more than 2 layers of fabric, arrange them to 2 even packages, pin them if necessary to avoid confusion, and use packages as one layer. By reinforcing inner layers, the nose wire fits softer, but maybe less tight.
Variation: To make the Hybrid Mask from NWPP (spunbond polypropylene), which can be washed but not ironed, you can finger press and streak out the seams and pleats. If you don’t need a filter opening, closing the bottom seam and topstitching the edge from the right will make pleating easier. For side channels, you can replace the NWPP with woven fabric, as it is easier to work with and also scrunches better, which helps the mask to fit gapless.
Chapter (2) Marking, Stiching and Ironing on the wrong side
(2a) Layer your fabrics with the wrong side out. Place the paper pattern on top and use chalk or crayon in a contrast colour to mark the opening for the wire at the top and both sides of the opening for the filter at the bottom.
In case you’re afraid to mess up your seam, you can now pin or clip your fabrics to each other, but they’re square and probably won’t slide too much… if you’re a little careful and hold them when sewing, it should work fine without!
(2b) Start stitching at the top, right after the mark for the wire opening. Your seam allowance is 1 cm / 0,4″ from the cutting edge, which is most likely indicated on your machine. Stitch all the way down to the edge of the fabric. Now, turn your piece 180° around. Start stitching the bottom seam right from the edge, then interrupt the seam when you meet the first marking, pull the fabric away from you and stitch on after the second marking, up to the edge.
(2c) If you did everything right, you’ll have stitched two seams, one with a small side opening for the wire in the top part, and one with a larger center opening for the filter in the bottom part, just like shown the pictures above.
If you don’t intend to insert a wire or a filter, you can just stitch a simple edge-to-edge seam at top and bottom.
(2d) Iron the seam allowances apart. A sleeve board works great for this, but you can also do this flat! Start with the top seam on the opposite side of the wire opening, iron all the way down and help the opening to fold into place. Do the same with the bottom seam. Now, you’re ready to turn your piece over to the right side! Once you’ve done that, lay it flat down and iron it. Be careful that your edges look neat and that the inside fabric doesn’t stick out!
Variation: If you want to work particularly neat, you can (a) serger the edges first or (b) cut a little longer, sew the bottom as first seam, fold in allowances, stitch down on both sides, then sew the upper seam! For a filter opening over the full width of the mask, cut the bottom slightly longer, fold in allowances and stitch down each side individually.
Chapter (3) Stitching, marking and pleating on the right side
(3a) First, find your top side by looking for the wire opening. Once you’ve found it, stitch the wire tunnel about 0,5 cm / 0,2″ – 1 cm / 0,4″ from the top edge. You can use the side of your sewing foot as a measure! Now, your piece should look like shown above, and you can iron it again. This makes the layers stay together and helps folding the pleats.
(3b) Get your paper pattern and fold over the seam allowance on top and bottom (as you have already sewn and ironed them in the fabric!), so you can use the pattern without the allowances. Place it on top of your piece, with the top line of the paper on the top line (indicated by the wire seam) of your piece. Now, mark your pleats on both sides.
* You can also fold the pleats with your pattern (instructions see pattern!), but as some of you might not have a printer, I’m showing the traditional pleating method here. If you’re using a ruler, the distances from top are 2 cm / 0,4” (backwards pleat 1), 4 cm / 0,8” , 4 cm / 0,8″ (inside of pleat 2), 2 cm / 0,4” , 4 cm / 0,8″ (inside of pleat 3), 2 cm / 0,4” .
(3c) Now, you’re ready to fold your pleats! Start with the first mark from the top edge and fold the edge backwards from there, to the inside of your piece (to the line indicated by a little A in the pattern!), on both sides. Iron, pin or clip it down. Then, pinch the fabric at the second mark on both sides and fold it down to meet the third mark (line B). Iron, pin or clip down the second pleat as well. Top edge and pleat should meet at the back (line A), without overlapping.
(3d) Now, fold the third pleat the same way, by pinching the fabric at the fourth mark and folding it down to meet the fifth mark (line C). Iron, pin or clip down the third pleat as well. Take a good look at your piece and make sure that both sides have the same length, and that you don’t have more than 6 layers of fabric folded in any place.
You can iron the pleats down either while folding (I prefer to do that, but for the pictures, I wanted to show you a clearer side view :)) or after pinning. Ironing helps with the sewing of all the layers, so I highly recommend!
Variation: To use the paper pattern as a folding template, print it out, fold it in advance, place it on top of your piece and fold all layers together. You can also use two paper patterns, over and under your piece, for neater pleating.
Another method I call eighths is most suitable for advanced hybrid mask makers, who already know what the pleats are supposed to look like. First fold back and pin the 2 cm of the reverse pleat at the top, and then you’ll fold your workpiece in half several times. You begin on the front of your piece, fold the bottom edge onto the top edge (half), hold these edges, turn your piece and fold the bottom edge onto the top edge (quarter). Finger press the folds, open them, and you will see the upper pleat! Now, pin it down on the marked line. For the lower pleat, fold the bottom edge of the workpiece back up to the bottom edge of the upper pleat (quarter), turn your workpiece and fold the bottom edge to the center line (eighth). Finger press, open and find your lower pleat, then pin it and proceed as instructed!
Chapter (4) Arranging and sewing the outer part of the tunnel
(4a) Place the strips of fabric with the right side inwards on the outer edges of your piece. Center the strips in relation to the piece and bend them to an angle of ca. 8° from top, to achieve a trapezoid shape*. Pin or clip the strips down.
* For finding the right angle for your trapezoid shape, you can either use the printed template or simply hold the top part of your strip at the top edge of your piece and move the bottom part of the strip app. 1 cm / 0,4” inwards.
(4b) Before you start sewing the first strip, fold its top overlap down towards you, from the place where it will attach to the piece. Stitch the strip down approx. 1 cm / 0,4″ from its cutting edge. Carefully stitch* your way to the bottom – and before your foot reaches the edge, fold up the bottom overlap of the strip, from the place where it will attach to the piece, and then finish your seam. Stitched overlaps will help you later, when inserting ties into the mask.
* If your machine can’t handle the layers, it can help to sew very slow but steady, to pull out the pins while sewing (I often do that :)) and to work the machine rather by hand on the wheel than by foot on the gas, or both at once.
(4c) After finishing your seams on both sides, remove all the pins and cut off the excess fabric of your piece right behind the cutting edges of the strips, approx. 1 cm / 0,4″ from the seams (if you’ve sewn according to instructions :)).
Variant: If you want to work particularly neat, you can fold the seam allowances on the top and bottom of the strip around the mask, and stitch the allowances down on the strip, right after sewing it on and turning it over.
Chapter (5) Ironing and stitching the inner part of the tunnel
(5a) Fold both your strips over and out, iron them down neatly and turn your piece around, so you look at its inside. Fold the strips over, and fold their cutting edges inwards. Pin the edges down, slightly overlapping the seam.
(5b) Turn your piece around again, so that you look at the outside, and stitch your tunnel down from the front, in the ditch – as precisely as you possibly can, because that part will be visible in the finished mask. When your seams are ready, take a good look at the back, if all edges are properly sewn down. Your mask is almost ready now!
Chapter (6) Inserting wire, ties and filter
(6a) If your wire is rather thin, please bend the edges before inserting, to minimize the risk of hurting yourself. Move over the edges of the seam with the end of the wire, to search for your opening. Once you’ve found it, carefully insert the wire all the way to the other side, and slightly bend the visible end, to hide it in the seam. If you like, you can pre-shape the wire now by bending it right in the middle. With that preparation, your mask will be easier to dress.
If you’re not comfortable with the wire, you don’t necessarily have to use it here! This pattern doesn’t need the help of a wire to stay put, or to stop foggy glasses. It’s just a tiny little bit better with a wire, so it’s up to you if you use it or not!
(6b) Use a safety pin, a bodkin or a homemade tool (approx. 30 – 40 cm / 12″ – 16″ thin wire folded in half, so that an eyelet is created at the end :)) to pull your ties through the channel. Secure elastics with a safety pin until you (or the recipient) can adjust them, knot or sew and pull them into the casings, so they are invisible from the outside.
Alternatively, you can make all sorts of ties easily adjustable with the help of sliding knots, pony beads or cord stoppers – and you can even combine ear loops and head ties (see infographics on mask tying techniques).
(6c) For your filter, cut a non-woven fabric (f.e. spunbond NWPP, paper towel or tissue) to 16 cm / 6,4” x 18 cm / 7”. Lay that filter flat, grab one of the upper corners with two fingers and insert it, as if you’d dress a cover on a pillow, into the outmost corner of your mask and fix it there with a safety pin, on the inside of the reverse pleat. Do the same on the other side, then straighten your mask down and distribute your filter evenly into the pleats on the sides.
(6d) Congratulations, you’re done! When putting on your mask, don’t forget to adjust ties to individual fit and pull the drawstring channels, so that the shape will round gaplessly on the sides, arch to the front and fit better overall.
Depending on questions, I update parts of this post sometimes (last: February 14th, 2021). If you think that something is missing or unclear, please feel free comment below (or via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or send me an email!
* Conditions of Use, Rights and Sharing
This design, pattern and instructions are protected by German copyright laws (© Iris Luckhaus | All rights reserved). I hereby agree to a non-commercial use of my design, which means that you may sew masks for yourself, your family and friends or for donating them to others for free, given that my copyright, name and website are always included!
Without my prior written permission, you may not reproduce, distribute or commercially use any of this material in any way. This means that you are not authorized to present this design (or modifications of it) as your own, and that you may not publish your own photo or video tutorials with my pattern! As long as it’s not a tutorial though, I enjoy seeing your pictures with my mask, and thank you very much for tagging @irisluckhaus and #luckhausmask! :)
For updates and further developments (which are sure to come!), please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Xing, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube. If you’d like to share my pattern with your friends, feel free to use my posts!
I’m spending a lot of unpaid time on elaborating and explaining those instructions, helping the helpers to help. If you’d like to encourage this, I’d highly appreciate if you could buy me a little time via Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
If you’d like to use my instructions commercially (i.e. with the intention of making a profit), f.e. by selling masks sewn according to my pattern, please contact me and let me know more about your business, your location and your ideas!
Great thanks to Matthias, Angelika, Reinhard, Bruni, Margot, Rose, Tanni, Eli, Ilia, Chrissi, Henning and Ekke for amazing support from near and far, practical ideas, face measurements, advance reading, trying out and trying on! I am also extremely grateful to the hardworking volunteer seamstresses of several awesome mask groups on Facebook for their clever questions and sparkling enthusiasm for my pattern. Furthermore, I’d like to thank all those who sew, wear and give away this mask (or any other mask!) for their efforts to protect others: You are all heroes!
Take good care of yourself and stay well! ❤
If you’d like to find out more about all my mask projects, you’re welcome to visit my new Mask Hub Page! ➔
You have done what I tried to do. Make a mask with all the best features, but I couldn’t quite get it perfect. Bravo to you! I have one suggestion, sew the ends together on the ear loops and place in the channel of the casing. Make sure the loop seam is going to be hidden. Now, stitch the casing in place. No need to thread loop or ties through the casing.
Thank you for your kind appreciation, Vivian! :)) – I tried this method too, but as (a) I prefer a tight fit in all details, (b) my ties had to be interchangeable and (c) my sewing machine is a little sensitive, I got along much better with closing the channel first and threading the ties second! But it’s great to read that the ties first, channel second method works so well for you, I’m sure others will read this here and – depending on their needs and preferences – try it as well. Thank you very much for your suggestion! ❤
Thank You. This takes my mask making to another level! How generous of you to share.
That’s great, Janet! Thank you so much for your appreciation. I’m actually happy to be able to help the helpers, in my own sort of way, in these strange times.
I’ve tried about 3 different masks too Iris, combining the best of all of them. the flat ones i made, i ended up putting a little tuck in the center of the bottom edge so it would cup under the chin a little better.
elastic’s in short supply so i make half with elastic and half with ties. have You seen the you tube video about making T-shirt “yarn” to use as ties? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-UOc9RHdAY you get an amazing amount of yarn out of one shirt! it’s what i use for masks with ties!
thank You for Your pattern and instructions Iris! i make masks for my youngest Sister, who works in the kitchen of our local hospital.they are so appreciative! and it’s nice to know i can at least make them the masks they desperately need.
You take care, stay safe and stay healthy!
God Bless You and Your Family!
Thank you for your kind suggestions, Stephanie! Elastic is short in Germany as well and I’ve tried the tshirt method too (I even recommend it in the original post, https://www.irisluckhaus.de/en/2020/diy-cloth-mask/ :)), it’s truly amazing!!! I also enjoy being able to help the helpers, in my own sort of way, very much these days! Take good care of yourself too, stay safe, and I wish all the best to you and your family (especially your youngest sister!)!
In this tutorial are you using the word Bobby pin instead of safety pin? At least in the U.S. a Bobby pin has no sharp edges and is used primarily to hold hair and a safety pin has a pointed end like a needle and is used to join two things by piercing both items and then tucking the sharp end into the metal piece on the end to secure it.
Thank you very much, Cheryl! My native language is German, and there’s always something lost in translation (in this case, I actually know the word and used it before, conveniently it’s a very direct translation of the German Sicherheitsnadel, but I must have confused it here) – and I really appreciate the help! I just changed that :)
Thank you for this pattern and instructions. I posted to facebook how this is absolutely my favorite design to date! I’ve made a second one now and would like to make two more for my daughters who are 6 and 8. Would you be able to give me an idea of how I can use this pattern to make a smaller size. I was thinking of reducing the print size but not sure to what.. Did you take a measurement from nose to chin for example to get your size? Thanks for your help!
Thank you very much for your kind appreciation, Randall! For sizes, please look at the original post (https://www.irisluckhaus.de/en/2020/diy-cloth-mask/). Underneath the picture of the pattern, you’ll find a section dedicated to all sorts of adaptions! For 8-12 year olds, I cut 18 x 18 cm / 7,2” x 7,2” (90% in print). It’s a little large on my 8 year old friend (yet the only mask she would wear :)), so if you’d like to cover 6-8 year olds with one pattern, I’d suggest to cut 17 x 17 cm / 6,7” x 6,7” (85% in print) and maybe bend the side angles a little bit more! Please don’t use heavy or super-tight-woven materials for children, watch carefully that they breathe well and that they handle their masks with caution, okay? All my best wishes for you and your family, and stay safe!
Thank you for posting your pattern! I am not a sewer and have basic abilities with my machine (inherited). I had about a 90% success with my first attempt :) I missed the step where the small pieces (at the angles for the strap tunnel) were folded over at the top and bottom, which explains the extra bit I had there. And I also sewed the wire tunnel closed. Overall, very happy with the work and will be trying again tomorrow evening.
Thank you very much for your kind feedback, Matt! If you’re able to sew a seam, that makes you a sewer in my book :) – And 90% isn’t bad at all, I’m sure your next ones will be a perfect 100%! I’m afraid I don’t have a great solution for those extra bits on the strips (except for either unraveling and trying again or simply cutting the excess off and letting the edges fringe – either way, it’s a usable mask, and that’s great!), but if you really need that wire tunnel (the mask should fit fine without), you can carefully pick apart 2-3 stitches on the very sides of the top seam and insert your wire from there… it happened to me as well :), and the seam holds up pretty well despite the unpicked part, as there’s no tension there. All the best for your next try, and stay safe!
Hi! Thank You for the wonderful pattern! I would just like to check how much elastic to use? 24 inches seems like a lot?
Thank you very much for your appreciation, Eve! Every head is different and ears are sensitive, so people have very different (but strong!) preferences for their earbands. Some like them tight, some like them loose, some tie them behind their heads, sew the ends, make a knot, add cord stoppers, … variations are endless! When I tried out patterns before starting my own, I wasn’t pleased at all with the „one size fits all“ earband lengths, and I wanted to find a better way. So when I sew masks for friends and family, I ask them to measure all the way around both ears, then substract the mask widths, add min. 5 cm / 2“ per side and leave the ends open / pinned, or I ask them for the exact length they used in the first mask I gave them. When making masks for strangers, I simply take 30 cm / 12“ per side (biggest measure I‘ve heard of so far) and leave the ends open / pinned, to make sure it‘s not too short (because that could make the mask unwearable, which would be a pity!) and there‘s enough space for a knot. Does it make more sense that way? :)
I’ve been using the shape mask pattern, but yours are great and fog my safety glasses less while I am working. Also, I have one person in my circle who has sensory issues and doesn’t like the feeling of the shape mask on her chin–she likes both the anti-fog quality and the fit of your design, and says that she appreciates not having to adjust the mask and then disinfect her hands multiple times daily. As for the wire–I like to sew the wire channel slightly larger and curl over the ends of each wire with a pair of needle-nose pliers before inserting. Thank you for your design and prototyping efforts, it makes the uncomfortable necessity of wearing a mask better!
Thank you so much for your kind appreciation, dear Rex! I‘ve had similar problems with other masks (especially the shaped types), which were not only uncomfortable but also fogged my glasses and slided up into my eyes or dropped straight down my nose, so I am particularly happy when my pattern helps others with the same issues! For my next revision, I’ve started making a list and I intend to include some modifications for wider and shorter wires as well; when I created my pattern in March, thin wire was the only type of wire available in Germany. And I just learnt the word pliers :)
I like the design but I don’t see where they are reversible? Will the top pleat work correctly if used on reversed side?
My pattern isn‘t reversible; the reverse pleat necessarily has to be on the top of the inside of the mask. I am not fond of reversible masks in general, because you have to so careful about not messing with a possibly contaminated outside! I recommend to make clear choices for outside and inside fabrics, because safety is what matters most. And my pattern is sewn real quick (after figuring out the first one), so instead of making an elaborate reversible, you can just sew two of them :)
Dear Iris, thank you so much for such a brilliantly thought out fabulous pattern. I have realy enjoyed making lots of mask’s for my friends. Best wishes Emma :D
Thank you very much for your kind appreciation, dear Emma, and also for your generous donation, which really brightened my day! I really enjoyed seeing your beautiful masks on Instagram. All my best wishes, take care and stay safe! <3
[…] showed detailed instructions that looked slightly complicated although she had already added a new page showing an awesome tutorial with tons of photos by the time I came across it so once I justified jumping in and sewing it the pattern was super […]
A couple of things I’ve learned in making these:
– I make a slightly wider channel piece–5 cm instead of 4–because I’m not using elastic; I find the ribbon I use goes through much easier with a wider channel.
– Speaking of ribbon, grosgrain works best for the ties; smooth ribbon tends to slip more, making it harder to tie tight to the face.
– instead of cutting two 24″ ties and having to tie them both behind the neck and at the back of the head, I just keep the length of ribbon intact (grosgrain works best IMHO) and thread it through the channels, forming a U shape on one side (I prefer the U to go behind the neck, my daughter prefers it to go at the back of the head). Either way, once I have it tied the way I like it, I just leave it tied and slide the mask along the ribbon on both sides to make room for my head to come back through. I never have to re-fit it, and I can leave it hanging around my neck for quick access and re-masking. This also allows me to use a somewhat shorter piece of ribbon, which maximizes my supplies.
Thank you very much for your comment and letting us know about your adjustments, dear Holly!
– I’ve actually changed the channel piece width from 4 cm to 5 cm around April / May, as I found it easier for sewing and insertion as well! Sometimes, with thicker fabric or more layers, I go with 6 cm now. You’re using one of my earliest versions, aren’t you? :) – Have you seen my (quite) new, homemade bend-wire tool for insertion yet? It’s so much faster than the safety pin!
– At this point, I like to work with either soft, flat elastics for ear loops or jersey strips for head ties (a few of my recipients / testers prefer it the other way round though!). Apron strings worked well too, but everyone I know prefers elastic :) – What exactly do you meant with “smooth ribbon”? I haven’t tested grosgrain yet, but I may have some left from my milliner days, so I’ll try!
– For head ties, I keep the length intact too! I thought I instructed this right from the first version?
– Letting a used, potentially contaminated mask hang onto your chest is not a very safe practice; you’re not even supposed to touch the front of the mask while / after wearing it! If there’s virus on your mask, it may spread from there. We don’t like the tediousness of changing masks every time we take them off (after potential exposure) either, but it’s safer that way!
Please take good care of yourself, and stay well! <3
[…] posted an instructions page with frequently asked questions and the pattern linked at the bottom, detailed instructions with photos which I appreciate every time I sew more masks, and she’s listed different […]