DIY Instructions | Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

For my own production, I tried to optimize the pattern and manufacture of the cloth mask, so there’s no need to touch and straighten it out while wearing. To achieve this, the mask is supposed to fit snug and gapless around the nose, cheek and chin and not slide up the eyes or down the nose. Other points I found important were easy replacement of parts such as wire, filter and ties, plus quick and simple sewing, washing and ironing without too much ado.


Test Series of Different Mask Shapes

First, I just meant to sew a couple of cloth masks for myself, my family, some friends, friends of the family and family of friends. To find a suitable shape, I tried all the well-known sewing patterns, but didn’t like their fit – and then the pattern nerd took over (long ago, I studied fashion design, with focus on historical women’s sports apparel and seemingly impossible patterns… :)). Finally, I combined a hybrid pattern from known features, plus a few hacks.

Illustration der Dreifalt-Maske oder OP-Maske
The pleats of the classic three-pleat mask allow the wearer enough air to breathe, but it often protrudes strongly along the nose and in front of the ears. As a result, the mask sometimes slips (even with nose wire!) up into the eyes, which means that you can no longer see anything, or down to the tip of the nose, which causes the gaps right and left of the nose to widen – and at some point, the mask might even fall down from the nose! Plus, variants with bias tape all around and as sewn-on straps seemed too much unnecessary tailoring for hurried me :)

Illustration der Tunnelzug-Maske
The most simple form, the drawstring mask, is just a square of fabric pulled together with straps on the sides. It fits just as badly over the nose as the three-fold mask, but the drawstring on the sides fans out well, makes the mask curve slightly and therefore stay close to the face. Originally, I found horizontal straps more logical because they run directly to the back, but here I noticed that the side of the mask fits much better with vertical straps, and it fits almost perfect if the straps are not sewn on, but run through a tunnel! Plus, this makes the straps easily interchangeable.

Illustration der Form-Maske oder Honkong-Maske
The famous shape mask fits great at first sight, but if you laugh or yawn, it might at some point fall down very suddenly and completely – and then you have to lift and straighten it... In addition, shape masks usually have horizontally sewn-in straps, which means there are huge gaps on the sides. Plus, I don't think a seam in right in front of nose and mouth makes this mask any safer. Unlike pleated or wrinkled masks, you can not even see residual facial expressions here, but you look as smooth as a window dummy with a stocking face, which I find highly irritating :)

Illustration der Tuchtaschen-Maske oder Taschen-Makse
The pouch mask surprised me with a long, but nice nose fit and a sharply pronounced tip of the nose, which almost shows facial features! In addition, this shape is wonderfully easy, clean and quick to sew. When I discovered it, this mask was by far my favorite – until I noticed that unfortunately, it is extremely flat over the mouth, and therefore it hardly offers enough air to breathe. The mask might even get into your mouth and damp up when you speak or laugh, and the shape with horizontally sewn-in straps also protrudes a whole lot on the sides...


Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Features of my Optimized Hybrid Cloth Mask

My hybrid cloth mask has a special pleat for the nose that adapts very well to the face, even without wire. It does not push up the eyes or down the nose, and it enables speech, laughter or yawning without slipping. The upper seam can hold a nose wire to improve the fit even further and protect glasses from fogging. The wire can be removed through a little opening in the seam and runs across the entire width of the mask, so you can hardly injure yourself with it.

I opted for folds that give more air to breathe, move less with facial expressions and gently enclose the chin. In addition, straight folds have the advantage of a flat lay-down shape, which is easier to sew and to iron. The trapezoid shaped pattern corresponds with the anatomy of the face, it fits slim and less bulgy on the chin than a rectangle.

The side of the mask has a drawstring tunnel, which can be slightly creased, so the side does not protrude and a tight fit can be achieved. Thanks to the tunnel, elastic ear straps or a head ties can easily be adjusted and exchanged.

At the bottom of the mask, there is a small opening for the insertion of a disposable filter of your own choice.


DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus


Handling Handmade Cloth Masks

With careful handling, a self-sewn mask can be rather effective for protecting others from its wearer, but the protection for the wearer is extremely limited. If you use this mask, you do so at your own risk, and you should certainly still follow the usual safety rules (hand hygiene, distance, cough / sneeze protocol, etc.)!

Wash your hands well before putting on the mask, insert a wire to the upper seam and a non-woven disposable filter (f.e. paper tissue) through the lower opening, and pluck it into the corners. Fold up the backwards pleat, place it on your nose and pull the ties around your ears. Now straighten the backwards pleat on your nose, adjust the nose piece and slightly crease the drawstrings. The mask should fit as close to the face as possible, without constricting.

If the mask fits well, do not touch it anymore! Always treat the mask as if it were contaminated. If straightening the mask while wearing it is unavoidable,  only touch the ribbon and never the fabric, and wash your hands immediately. Do not wear the mask for more than 4 hours, if it becomes dirty or damp, or if you do not get enough air!

To take off the mask, grasp the straps and remove it without touching the fabric. Store it in a closed container and wash your hands and face thoroughly. The mask should be cleaned after each use. To do this, remove filter and wire, launder at least 60° C (better 95°) in the machine or cook for 5 minutes. Wash your hands. Allow to dry and iron well.


DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus


My hybrid cloth mask can be sewn easily and quickly (10 minutes). To make this mask yourself, you need two fabrics (please test in advance whether you can breathe well!) which are washable at at least 60° C, wire and elastic straps or ribbon, a sewing machine or needle and thread, scissors, pins, chalk or pencils for marking, plus (ideally) a flatiron.

Instructions for Sewing my Hybrid Cloth Mask

(1) Cut 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. Also cut 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.

(2) Layer both fabrics neatly, with the right side inwards. Mark the opening for the wire at the top and the opening for the filter at the bottom. Topstitch both seams 1 cm / 0,4" from the cutting edge. Iron the seam allowances apart.

(3) Turn the piece over to the right side. Iron the allowance out and topstitch the tunnel for the nose piece 0,5 cm / 0,2" from the top edge. Mark and fold pleats from the outside, according to the pattern and the illustration shown above.

(4) Iron the pleats and pin them. Place the strips of fabric with the right side inwards on the edges. Bend, fold in top and bottom and stitch them approx. 1 cm / 0,4" from the cutting edge of the strips. Cut off excess fabric at the edge.

(5) Fold fabric strips over, iron them down, fold them around and in, and pin them down, overlapping the seam on the back. Topstitch cleanly from the front, in the seam shadow. Bend the wire ends and carefully insert it to the tunnel.

(6) Use a safety pin to pull your ties – either elastic for ear holders or ribbon for a long head tie – into the drawstrings on both sides. Adjust elastic straps individually, either knot or sew them and pull seams into the drawstring.

For detailed picture instructions, please visit my pictorial!

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Adaptions for different Sizes and Shapes

The dimensions of my pattern and instructions are designed as a rather universal ladies' mask (size M), which also fits men and teenagers sort of okay-ish. Before you start sewing modified sizes, I very highly recommend to make and fully understand the standard model, because otherwise this will certainly become far too complicated!

For a true men's mask (size L), I cut 1 cm / 0,4" more on each side (fabrics 22 x 22 cm / 8,8" x 8,8", strips 5 x 11 cm / 2" x 4,4") and then redistributed the pleat height (2,2 cm / 0,9"). For a bigger men's mask (size XL), I cut 2 cm / 0,8" more on each side (fabrics 24 x 24 cm / 9,4" x 9,4", strips 5 x 12 cm / 2" x 4,8") and redistributed the pleat height to 2,4 cm / 1".

I've seen people use a bigger L size (9” x 9”) as a cover for FFP / N95 masks, and it looked like it would fit well!

With a beard, masks never fit as tight as on a smooth face. If you want to take the risk, I'd recommend keeping the width, adding 2-3 segments of length, and using excess to fold a third pleat. For a longer beard, end pleats inwards.

For a true teenager's and children's mask (size S) that fits 8-12 year olds, I took 1 cm / 0,4" less on each side (fabrics 18 x 18 cm / 7,2" x 7,2", strips 5 x 9 cm / 2" x 3,6") and redistributed the pleat height (1,8 cm / 0,7"). As far as I read, cloth masks may possibly cause some health risks to younger children, so I decided to better not offer an XS size here.

If your printer allows that, you can very simply adjust the size there: size S ist 90%, M ist 100%,, L is 110% and XL is 120% (which might take two pages). I highly recommend to write size and percentage on your printout right away :)

Lots of further adjustments to face shapes, special needs and personal preferences are now available in a separate blog post about Customized Hybrid Face Masks, which includes all the patterns and templates as a printable PDF!


Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Fresh Picture Tutorial for the Hybrid Cloth Mask

For all the beginners (and everyone else who might get lost in this pattern!), I just (May 3rd, 2020) published a very detailed picture tutorial for this mask in a separate post, to go along with the illustrated instructions. I hope it helps! :)

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus


Frequently Asked Questions (+ some more Hacks)

Does this mask really fit so well that glasses don't fog?

For me and many others, it does! I've tried every pattern available at the time and glasses colliding with mask edges or fogging up were one of the reasons I finally decided to create a hybrid mask. I was actually surprised when I realised how well this nose pleat works – and that it doesn't even need a wire to fit snug and keep my glasses clear!

Is the pattern suitable for people with special needs?

I guess this depends on their needs! So far, I've heard surprisingly often that my hybrid is the only mask people with HSP / hypersensitivity, sensory disorders or on the autism spectrum can bear to wear! Some people with asthma or claustrophobia are also very enthusiastic about the pattern, yet others find it's still too tight. If people tell me this, I tend to recommend a duck bill shape, which also has a snug fit, but offers maximum space in front of the mouth.

Lately, I have also created several Customized Hybrid Mask patterns and templates for different face shapes, special needs and preferences, which can easily be combined with each other, and published those in a separate post.

What do press or reviews say about this mask?

»Die Autorin der Anleitung ist Profi. Und das merkt man. (…) Der Clou bei dieser Maske ist die nach hinten geklappte, separate Nasenfalte (…). Ich war angenehm überrrascht, wie toll die Maske sitzt.« – Birgit S., MaskeZeigen, DE

»I struck gold when I found the Iris Luckhaus DIY cloth mask. This is German engineering at its finest! (...) It has an extra pleat behind the top of the mask which you pull up when putting it on to get a great fit around your nose, even without a wire. The angled sides also help & I’ve found this the best fitting mask (…). It’s genius!« – Janine, CraftFix, IE

»Social media discussions in the mask making community report that this mask is very comfortable to wear and reduces eyeglass fogging due to the unique nose bridge design.«Open Source Medical Supplies, US

Does this model have ear straps or a head tie?

You have all options – and thanks to drawstring tunnels, you can even switch later! First is two elastic ear straps (easy to dress but might hurt the ears, so it's practical for shorter wearing), second is a long textile tie (harder to dress but doesn't hurt the ears, so it's comfortable for longer wearing). I usually donate my masks in a double packs, one with ear bands and the other with head tie. I like to make my ear bands adjustable through sliding knots or cord stoppers.

If you wear glasses or hearing aids, I'd recommend to either go with the long tie or to use some sort of fastening (hair / paper clips or ribbon), pull the ear straps back and fasten them behind your head, to take the pressure off your ears.

At second sight, there are far more ways then the well-known ones to tie a mask to your ears or around your head! That's why I drew a helpful infographic – and published a separate post about 9 different mask tying techniques.

What materials  do you use for Fabrics, wire, ties and filters?

For my own production, I mostly use leftovers and ask for fabrics, wire and ties whenever I'm giving away a mask. So far, this works really well and I'm very happy with the amazing (or funny) materials concidence brought my way! :)

I like thin gardening wire, as it bends well, stays well and even survives accidental cooking :), but binder metal, hat wire, fence wire or pipe cleaners are solid options too. You can even use unfolded paper clips or any thin metal wire! If you are using a broad type of wire, please make sure to adapt your nose piece tunnel seam to a suitable width.

As I didn't find neat rubber cords for ear straps, I use elastic bands, bra straps, jersey or nylon cuts (which roll up by themselves, even better with spandex!). For the head band, I like textile ribbon, gift ribbon or straight grain binding.

I use different fabrics for inside and outside, so you can't confuse them. So far, I've sewn mainly with cotton, because it's cookable, breathable and available, and made sure that at least one layer has a high thread count. I am also testing polyester, silk and chiffon – and I'll probably expand this now, as the WHO lately recommended cotton as a moisture-absorbing inner layer, polypropylene as a mechanical filter layer and moisture-repellent polyester for the outer layer.

I've read great things about filters which aren't available in Germany – so for now, it seems safest to go with materials that were developped to be used near your face, like tissues. To sew in a filter as a middle layer, place it on the thinner layer and treat the two as one. If you prefer to layer masks, the disposable hybrid mask perfectly fits underneath!

Is there some sort of trick on how to insert your filters?

I cut my filter to 16 x 18 cm / 6,3" x 7" and insert it like casing a pillow, (a) pushing top corners of the filter into top corners of the mask, (b) holding them in place with safety pins in the outer top corners next to the wire, and (c) pulling fabric down and straightening the filter into the pleats! In my tutorial, I show detail pictures of the process.

DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus

My printed files are not true size. What can I do?

When I published the first PDF in English, I didn't consider different EU and US formats, so if your download was before April 23rd, you may have the wrong format! After I heard about this causing problems, I added a US file alongside the EU one. If this doesn't solve your problem, make sure that pages are printed at 100% – and measure whether 2 cm / 0,8" on the print correspond to a ruler. For some printers, it can help to activate frameless printing!

Can I sew this mask without a sewing machine or somewhat simpler?

To sew this mask on a serger, you proceed as instructed until folding and pinning the pleats. Then, take the strips of fabric, fold top and bottom to 8 cm / 3,2” length and fold them in half so the right side is facing out. Lay the folded strips on your piece, with all cut edges facing the same direction. Then stitch the tunnel with one seam instead of the usual two! When you wear the mask, the tunnel folds out, so that you can't even see the overlocked edges :)

If you don't have a sewing machine, you can skip the inserts, cut only one rectangular piece (38 x 20 cm / 15" x 8") instead of two squares, sew the full upper seam and skip the wire tunnel. This only takes 40 cm / 16" of stitching!

It's also possible to sew on the ties directly, without tunnels. It doesn't fit as great, but can be a practical solution! To do this, either proceed as described and stitch on long ties in place of the strips in step (4), or instead of stitching the upper and lower seam from the wrong side in step (2), place an inwards facing tie in each corner of your fabrics, then stitch all sides except for the filter opening, turn to the right and fix the pleats with a simple side seam.

If you can't or don't want to sew, you might like to try my instructions for a disposable hybrid paper mask with the same amazing pattern, which can easily be stapled in less than a minute, from paper napkins and paper towels!

Are there ways to manufacture this mask a little neater?

Of course you can manufacture the mask much neater – and f.e. overlock all the edges (I just tore the fabric and pre-frayed 2-3 threads; so far, it holds great! :)) and / or neatly sew down the open edges at the bottom, all around the filter insert. If you want to do that, I recommend 1 cm / 0,4" more seam allowance in the lower part (i.e. 20 x 21 cm / 8" x 8,4" instead of 20 x 20 cm / 8" x 8"). In step (2), first topstitch the two parts of the lower seam at 2 cm / 0,8" distance, then iron out the seam allowances. When you're done with that, fold the allowances in individually, iron them again and topstitch over the entire lengths on both sides. Close the upper seam last and continue according to instructions.

For a different look, you can attach another fabric (f.e. the same fabric you use for tunnels!) for the visible part of the backwards fold, which is the top 2 cm / 0,8” (or 3 cm / 12” incl allowance) of the outside of the mask, in advance.

Help, I'm completely confused! WHat am I doing wrong?

For everyone who might get confused when folding the pleats, I have drawn the folding scheme from a side view. I always start with quickly ironing the top fold backwards and then work my way down, from the front side, mark by mark and fold by fold – and once you sew the 3rd or 4th mask, the procedure becomes really fast (seriously!)! :)

Folding scheme of the optimized hybrid mask

In the paper pattern, the top 1 cm / 0,4” and the bottom 1 cm / 0,4” are seam allowances. After your first two seams from the wrong side, you iron out the allowances in the fabric and turn your piece inside out, so the right side is visible. Repeat the process on your paper pattern and fold in those allowances, before making pleats!

For the pleats, it might also help to look for white areas in the paper pattern. Those white areas are visible in the finished mask! Grey areas are pleats facing down, and light grey areas are facing up, but covered by a pleat.

If you've accidentally closed the wire opening in the seam, you can carefully open 2-3 stitches later, with a seam ripper or scissors. This is not an elegant solution, but there is no pull on the seam, so it's unlikely that it will open much more.

If anything is still unclear, you will most likely find answers in the detailed picture tutorial in a separate post.

Why doesn't my mask look like yours in the pictures?

First, you should check whether you have put on the mask correctly and if you have placed the backwards pleat on the bridge of your nose, folded up. Then, you might want to see whether the ties are set to correct length and whether the drawstring is pushed together so it rounds nicely. For a good fit, it is also essential to iron the pleats well!

Depending on face shape and preferences, the lower pleats can be worn differently! For me, the mask fits best when the pleats remain closed, so the bottom of the mask ends at the chin, but others perfer to open the pleats completely and wear the bottom under their chin, close to the neck. Both variants should fit snug around the edge of the chin!

If the mask still doesn't fit, maybe some evil little error has crept in ... Is your back fold 2 cm / 0,8” deep? Are your pleats pointing down? If you can definitely rule out all mistakes, you might just want to try a different size!

Is there a PDF insert I could use for donating my masks?

For my own donations, I simply enclose the first page of the instruction PDF; it contains pretty much everything you need to know about masks, usage and care. A more sophisticated insert for non-sewing mask recipients will follow!

will you publish a video tutorial and more pictures?

I've just published an extremely detailed picture tutorial in a separate post, and a video will follow at some point as well (if I have 2-3 quiet days – and ideas how to shoot that without any cutting and a camera holder!)... let's see how and when this works! Meanwhile, I've seen quite a lot of video-preferring total beginners make absolutely beautiful masks with my pictorial instructions – so even if you're a visual learner, I'd highly recommend to just give it a try!

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhalter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Can I possibly purchase this fantastic mask from you?

For the moment, I stopped my own sewing because it seemed more important to publish instructions and pattern of my hybrid mask, in order help others to help those in need – and besides my daily work, there's simply no time to do much more than answering all questions and continously updating German and English post and instructions.

However, if you would like to use any part of my work – the mask design, the pattern and/or the instructions – commercially, I would be happy to grant the necessary usage rights for a fair fee, and I'd be thrilled if it was possible to forward all enquiries from those who would like to buy my mask to someone who actually has time to sew it!

But no matter how this journey might continue: Instructions and patterns are always free for anyone who just wants to non-commercially sew some masks for themselves, donations or gifts, and this will definitely remain so.


I update those frequently asked questions and hacks annotations every now and then (last: June 17th)! If you have questions yourself, please feel free comment below (or via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or simply send me an email!


DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus

Download of Instructions and Pattern as a printable PDF

Here you can download a printable PDF with introduction, instructions and pattern for my Hybrid Cloth Mask [V5 | June 17th, 2020] on 3 pages (EU Din A4) oder 4 pages (US letter). Before download, please read the conditions below!


* 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, LinkedInPinterest 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 (post@irisluckhaus)!

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!


Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Acknowledgements

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: To me, you are all heroes!


Take good care of yourself and stay well! ❤

80 Responses to DIY Instructions | Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask

    • You‘re welcome, Linda! I wish you all the best for sewing, and that your mask fits perfectly! :)

  1. I absolutely love this design and the way it fits and works. I just wish I understood more of it so I could make some for my clinic. I am too much of an amateur to figure this out right now. Any additional pictures or video would be amazing so I could figure this out and make some of these for at work. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you for your kind comment, dear Casy! I feel honoured that a medical worker is considering my design :) – Pictures and video are coming, it just takes some advance preparation… In the meantime, there are pictures on Maskezeigen.de. I’ve seen some video-preferring total beginners make beautiful masks with my illustrated instructions, so I’d recommend to just give it a try! The “Tipps + Tricks” section should cover most questions. If you don’t want to miss updates, you may follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube! ❤

  2. Need a video.Am a beginner sewing person. I have already broken one needle on my machine, sewed my fingers! But I wear glasses & have yet to find a mask that didn’t leave my glasses fogged. There’s lots of things I can do, but sewing doesn’t seem to by my forte.

    • Broken needles and sewn fingers happen to all of us, Diana! It just means that you’re sewing with your heart’s blood :) – I’ve had the same foggy glasses problem with all other masks types, and this was one of the reasons I decided to just design my own – and for me, this one even works without a wire! Pictures and video are coming, it just takes some advance preparation… In the meantime, I’ve seen some total beginners make beautiful masks with my illustrated instructions, so I’d recommend to just give it a try! The “Tipps + Tricks” section should cover most questions. If you don’t want to miss updates, you may follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube! ❤

  3. Thank you for being so dedicated and sharing precise instructions! I am anxious to try this also. It is close to what I am making. I like your nose fit on the pattern and the ability to remove the nose wire. With the shortage of elastic, I am using 1″x 7.5″ strips of t-shirt knit that rolls and works so well!

    • Thank you for your appreciation, Debbie! I like jersey noodles too, and all those discoveries you make along the way… did you know that strips of nylon stockings also make pretty good elastics?!? I’m wondering if your current mask is what I called the “pouch mask” in my test, because then the fit of my hybrid may be a pleasant surprise :) – All the best for trying! ❤

  4. Do you have a video of you doing this? As a visual learner, it would help me get going. Thank you for considering.

    • The video is coming, Sherri, it just take some advance preparation… In the meantime, I’ve seen some video-preferring total beginners make beautiful masks with my pictorial instructions, so I’d recommend to just give it a try! The “Tipps + Tricks” section should cover most questions. If you don’t want to miss updates, you may follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube! ❤

  5. Such a wonderful design! Would you kindly make the pattern pdf (above) in true size to print off? My computer skills are apparently lacking to enlarge. So very excited to sew this!

    • Thank you for your appreciation, Karen! After a kind remark from a seamstress who ran into problems with printing the original EU Din A4 PDF (true size, 3 pages) on a US printer, I added the US letter PDF (true size, 4 pages with pattern/template on seperate pages) last night. I wonder if you maybe downloaded the EU version of the PDF, or if you tried to print the JPGs? ❤

  6. My mom and dad wear both glasses AND hearing aids. I think this will be a great option for them. Thanks for sharing this pattern with us.

    • You’re very welcome, dear Monica! Thank you for your kind appreciation. A friend of mine also wears both glasses and hearing aids, and the version with a headband seems to work really well for her! I only wear glasses, but the way they fogged up and moved around with the other shapes I tried were part of the reason why I decided to try making my pattern – and for me, it works like a charm! I hope it suits the needs of your parents too! ❤

  7. This is a lovely idea! Hope you can make a video soon. I am still making mask on my serger, but I would love this option for people with glasses! I donate all my mask!

    • Thank you very much, dear Sandra! Video is coming, I just need a quiet day to figure it out and shoot it – and as quiet days are extremely rare right now, I’m thinking about at least making a more detailed photo tutorial inbetween :). You can easily make most of this mask on a serger, except for that last seam (closing the drawstring tunnel)… if you don’t care too much about the looks, you could possibly work with two strips of fabric instead of one (so, four in total), attach them to the pleated piece from both sides, then fold them over and stitch them together… ? ❤

    • Yes iris that does make sense. Right now I am sewing these for speed, as a mask is required if we are in public, so mass production is preferred. However, the seamstress in me is screaming for neatness and attention to detail Hope you get some quiet time soon!

    • Thank you, Sandra! I can relate to your inner seamstress screaming for neatness, it’s the same for me with both sewing and instructions (it can be hard at times to tame my perfectionism :)), but I think it’s also good to see what you’re capable of, when doing things differently, especially during times like these. The great thing about speed-sewing masks for donations is that after donation, you don’t see them (and what you might consider flaws) much anymore – and I assume that the lucky recipients will consider your masks perfect, just the way they are! ❤

    • Hej Sandra! It took a while, but I’ve finally had an idea for how to (possibly) make this mask look neat on a serger! If you proceed as instructed, until the point where you layer that strip on the sides of the pleated mask, then lay the strip double (cutting edge on cutting edge), so the right side is facing up and the overlapping fabric folded inwards, then stitch/overlock the sides, I assume that drawstring tunnel will sit really neatly once it is dressed up and pulled from the sides, so the serger seams actually become invisible! Does that make any sense to you? :)

  8. This looks like a great pattern but I’m having trouble printing it to the correct scale is there anyway that you can email me a PDF of this pattern?

    • Thank you, Bridget! – Have you see that there’s a PDF for download, at the end of the article (underneath the picture with all three pages :)), which is true size for EU Din A4 and US Letter? ❤

  9. would love to see a video tutorial, with a sewing machine and or a serger I have both. Want to try but do much better with a video. Love this pattern will definitely have to try.

    • Hello Ann! Just scroll the post and you’ll find the downloadable PDF (in 2 versions, for EU and US paper sizes) at the bottom, right under the picture which shows all three pages! :)

  10. A big thank you for this brilliant pattern Iris. I’m a beginner sewer and have experimented with lots of different patterns and finally struck gold with yours. I really appreciate all the effort you have gone to in documenting it, especially the clever printed pattern format.

    I have written up what I have learned making face masks so far on my blog and have featured your pattern there.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, dear Janine, for featuring my mask in your lovely blog – and for those kind words (»German engineering at its finest«?! – Woo-hoo! :)) which totally brightened my day! ❤

  11. I love this pattern. Thank you so much. It stays put when we talk!

    I have been using Filti as an insert but am wondering whether it would be as safe to make the mask with three layers, using silk in the middle, and two different kinds of cotton. It is a bit of a chore to insert the Filti. The fabric testing seems to indicate that silk is good. https://pubs.acs.org/

    And thank you so much for the pattern. Literally a life-saver.

    • Thank you so much for your kind appreciation, dear Jill!

      As you might have read, I’ve had similar problems with other masks (and at first, I wondered if there’s sth wrong with my face or the way it moves… :)). Filti sounds great, but unfortunately it seems never heard of in Germany, and I wasn’t able to find ath similar, so I make do with paper towels. I agree that inserting is a chore, but at least it gets faster with time!

      I’ve read about the negative (and thereby virus-repellant?) charge of silk, chiffon and polyester and I’ve just sewn some two-layer tests with an outer shell made from poly / silk. I’m curious how they’ll hold up! I’m also working on instructions for a disposable no-sew mask, which will enable us to freely combine and tests fabrics and can also be worn inside a nice cloth mask.

      Did you see that the WHO now recommends three different layers: water-absorbent cotton on the inside, polypropylen as a mechanical middle filter and water-repellant polyester on the outside? I don’t have prolypropylen, but combining the features of different fabrics seems to make sense!

      If I’d sew three layers (which I haven’t done yet, but will try soon! :)), I’d add the middle layer to the thinner side and then treat them as one. It’s not a great difference with the hybrid pattern though, as the only place where you have to consider layers is when you turn the piece inside out!

      I think I’ll write a paragraph about all this when I next update the article, but this might take another couple of days.

      Take care and stay safe! ❤

  12. Thanks for the info about the new WHO recommendations which I am now trying to understand. It’s so frustrating. I’d love to just be told what to use. For example, here’s a comment I found about the new WHO info: “The filtration efficiencies they report on table 3 are also dramatically different than https://pubs.acs.org/… WHO has cotton values up to 26%, but the article I linked gives values up to 82%. That might be due to looking at different materials, it’s clear that t-shirt fabric is not optimal and the WHO does not give values for high thread count cotton fabrics. But if their assumptions about mask construction are based on those low values. The pressure drop reported in the two is also wildly divergent.” It’s from this: https://arstechnica.com/

    I have a social science background and an struggling! At least I have your pattern to use, whenever the perfect guidance for fabric comes along. Thanks!

    • I’m struggling with the new information too, and I’ve already seen extremely different % for the same, but mostly unspecified fabrics in studies before… I try to handle this with common sense: (a) a well-cleaned and gap-free mask is most certainly safer than no mask at all, (b) homemade masks are mainly for protecting others and not for protecting oneself, so the best thing to do is to make as many people as possible wear them (this is pretty much the reason why I’m publishing my patterns!), and (c) collect as much information as available at the time (because learning always goes on, for all of us, and I don’t think the one perfect guidance will ever exist!). F.e., water-absorbent cotton for the inside and water-repellant polyester or silk for the outside (or as a sewn-in middle layer) make sense to me. High thread counts make sense to me. Using polypropylene (or at least some other non-woven material) as a physical barrier for the filter layer makes sense to me. Overall, I guess the only thing we can do about all this is either buy certified masks (at least if we really need to be safe!), or just use whatever we’ve got (like, cotton + poly or silk) and hope for the best… :)

  13. Great advice! So glad I found you and your mask pattern. Thank you from Northern California.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation! I’m sorry I couldn’t give you that perfect material guidance we all long for, but at least you have wonderful things such as Filti available over there… Take good care of yourself and stay well!

  14. I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for publishing your pattern. I’m in the US and had been searching and searching for something that would work well for our family of full-time glasses-wearers. Your original pattern is lovely and well-constructed!

    I made some modifications to work with our personal preferences (even more room inside for air) and a lady who tried my modifications on the Craft Passion Facebook encouraged me to share them with you. This might help anyone who is very sensitive to feeling suffocated by a mask close to the nose/mouth and creates an even larger air pocket in front of the nose for breathing.

    1) I cut the outside fabric wider (25 cm) and longer (22 cm) and cut the lining fabric shorter: 25 cm wide by 20 cm long; I made the nose wire channel wider (1.5 cm) in order to accommodate a coffee bag tie (a double wire encased in plastic used to seal foil coffee bags), and also made the entrance for the nose wire channel farther from the edge of the fabric (4.5 cm) so that the entry point is wider for easier wire insertion; 2) I hem the bottom edge of both lining and outside fabric so that the raw edge is encased (2 folds, 0.5 cm hem); 3) I made the backwards nose pleat wider (3-4 cm) and for the remaining 2 forwards pleats, I fold them “by feel” without measuring, just making sure I get 2 little pleats in; 4) I leave the entire bottom width of the mask open for easier pocket insertion but I fold the extra 2 cm of outside fabric in as a backwards 1-ply pleat – it both secures the filter pocket and for large faces it can be flipped out for a bit of extra room to cup the chin; 5) I exaggerate the trapezoid so that the sides taper in more steeply towards the chin – when combined with the longer width at the nose (top) of the mask, this helped to give a larger air pocket to breathe, which also helps with glasses fogging – For the side casings, I line them up as you instruct, but I angle them inwards toward the chin so that the bottom (chin) of the mask measures 16-17 cm from seam to seam. I try to keep the finished side casings 8-9 cm in in length (sometimes I have to fiddle with and compress the pleats to get within this range but keeping the side casings from being too long helps with gaping at the sides), and finally 7) I flip the nose piece up and tack it in place.

    The longer nose pleat and tacking it in place pushes the fabric of the mask out and away from the nose, by using the bridge of the nose as a “keystone”, while still letting the sides of the mask sit firmly on the face. I make sure I follow the nose wire seam for tacking so I don’t block the channel and just sew 1.5cm on either side to secure in place. I’ve found that this is flexible enough in size to fit my petite face and DH’s large round head and the tacked nose piece makes this possible…on DH’s face the side casings simply lie farther away from his ears but still form a tight seal with good round space inside the mask to breathe. For my kids I made the fabric dimensions 2-3 cm smaller. I like to insert a stiffer filter material, as that helps the mask to hold its rounded shape. Bonus is that this also fit nicely over an N95 if you use the larger of the range of dimensions I mention. Of course the drawback is that the mask does not really store flat with these modifications.

    Your instructions are very clear after I studied them closely (kudos on an excellent English version!). I love that your design requires very simple cutting (straight lines!) but that you still get a contoured shape. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    • Thank you so much for your kind appreciation and for introducing your modifications to me, dear Jamie! How exciting :) – I’ve already made some altered patterns for seamstresses who wanted to (a) accomodate bigger noses and (b) longer beards and who prefer to (c) wear the mask pleatless (drawn down all the way, which makes the chin gap), and I’ve been thinking about dedicating a special post to those altered hybrids… The only interesting problem I haven’t fully solved yet is (d) a more spacious version, because I prefer when thing fit nice and tight (which is more or less the reason why this pattern exists! :)). I also figured out that the longer nose fold gives more space :), and I’m working on chubbying up my trapezoid sides, but I’d love to see pictures of your version! Could you either send me the link to your post (isn’t Craft Passion dedicated to another pattern?) or send me an email, please? :)

  15. Thought this would be of interest from Harvard Business Review:https://hbr.org/2020/06/we-need-better-masks

    Also, the Craft Passion Facebook group may have started out on the one pattern but now includes discussions of all types of masks and sewing issues. It’s a generally supportive forum for people just try to help in this horrible time.

    My 680 threadcount sheet just arrived for my inner layer. Chiffon is on order. Now to figure out the rest!

    • Thank you so much for that article, dear Jill! I adore that idea of stopping the pandemic with the right masks – and while I assume I have a design which, if worn correctly (= gapless), is as safe as a cloth mask could possibly be (I’d love to know how it scores in an official fit test!), I’m a still quite lost at the fabric front, because it doesn’t look like good filter material (such as Filti) is available in Germany (or even Europe?) – and the German mask making groups mostly fell asleep when reasonably priced masks started to appear in stores around April / May, so the whole filter discussion never really happened. We’re stuck in cotton age! I really like the Craft Passion group, and it’s great to see how much is still happening there! The only other group I know which is still so active and interesting is Open Source Medical Supplies, which made a huge impact on the evolution of making my instructions more approachable. Anyways, I hope your enjoy your fabrics and that your masks-in-the-making will keep you perfectly safe!

    • Oh, now I noticed your name, I just meant to send you an email! Thank you so much, dear Marsha, I appreciate your kind donation greatly – and you really brightened my day! ❤

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Iris! I have been making shaped masks for family members but have had to resize them and add all kinds of darts and pleats and tucks to make them contour to each individual face, which has been taking forever!!! Your pattern is so much faster to make, and much easier to achieve a perfect fit. Very well done! I really appreciated your pictorial instructions as well. With love from Canada…

    • Thank you so much for your kind appreciation, dear Lindsey! As you’ve probably read, I’ve been through the shaped masks phase as well – which didn’t last long (literally), because they kept dropping down my nose or pushing up my eyes and I didn’t find a way to stop them (except for avoiding all facial mocements, which isn’t a solution either!)! If any of these masks plus some simple tweak or two had at least halfways worked for me, my hybrid mask pattern probably wouldn’t exist :)

  17. Hi Iris,

    Thanks so much for sharing your innovative pattern! I have a few tips on clean finishing the mask that sewers might find helpful:

    1. To make it easier to insert the filter, (a) Stitch with right sides together the top and bottom openings, then turn mask so that the right sides face outward; (b) Press Pleat A backward as depicted in step 4 of the instructions, but press Pleats B and C of the front and back/lining separately (fold the back/lining pleats in the opposite direction of the front pleats) so that the front and back pleats lay one on top of the other; (c) Baste pleats in place and then attach the side strips.

    2. To make sure the edges of openings for the nose wire and the filter are flush with the edge of the stitched seams (a) Stitch the seam to the beginning of the opening, back tack, then increase the stitch length to 4–4.5 mm and stitch to the end of the opening. Set the stitch length back to 2–2.5 mm, back tack, then stitch the remainder of the seam; (b) Press seam open; (c) Topstitch either side of the opening 1/8″ in; (d) Carefully snip the first and last of the machine-basted stitches; (e) Turn mask right side out and press the seam; (e) When the mask is complete, carefully remove the machine-basted stitches with a seam ripper and tweezers, then insert the nose wire and filter.

    3. To enclose the side seam allowances of the mask, (a) Change the seam allowances on the top, bottom, and 1 side of the side strip pattern piece from 3/8″ to 1/2″ BEFORE cutting the strips out. Mark the cut strips’ seam allowances lightly with chalk or a fabric marking pen. (b) Press top and bottom seam allowances and the side with the 1/2″ seam allowance, towards the wrong side; (c) Angle and stitch the side of the strip with the original 3/8″ seam allowance to mask side WITHOUT folding in the top and bottom seam allowances. Trim excess; (d) Clean finish the unattached side of the side strip (i.e. the side with the 1/2″ seam allowance) by making single fold mitered corners (for instructions see, https://youtu.be/OmHo5uJN_1U); (d) Fold the top and bottom seam allowances of the side strip OVER the top and bottom of the mask’s angled side seam allowance (see step c) and hand tack them in place; (e) Optional: top stitch the top and bottom edges of the side strip 1/8″ in, then fold the clean-finished side to the back/lining of the mask, stitch in the ditch to secure.

    • @Mary McLave – I get frustrated trying to get the filter into the mask and getting it to fit evenly, etc. I’m very interested in trying what you suggest. I can’t quite grasp how your method helps; any more detail you can offer?

      Other than dealing with the filter insert, which is the case with all pleated masks in particular, this is my favorite pattern after making several different ones. Thank you, Iris!

    • Thank you for your appreciation for my pattern, dear Peggy!

      In the process of trying out different patterns, I became unexpectedly fond of pleats, because they allow so much better breathing and talking, while the mask stays well in place! To make a pattern that fits both the closed mouth and the mouth, I don‘t see any alternatives. The only problem with pleats is, as you say, the filter insertion :)

      I think what Mary means here is folding the pleats separately on the outside and on the inside layer of the mask, so the center is easier to reach into. I considered the option too when I first started, but then realized that (a) you‘ll need to cut your filter to a special shape before inserting it, (b) for a good fit, the pleats should move along with the jaw freely, which they don’t when you insert a flat filter, and (c) the pleats keep the filter in place.

      Did you try the safety pin method I‘m showing in the tutorial? It helps a lot, and getting used to the insertion helps too; I think it‘s a little easier every day. Other things your could possibly try are:

      (1) Use the chin pattern and leave the whole bottom open, so you can reach inside a little easier or even turn the mask inside out, while the upwards pleat should keep your filter from slipping out when it‘s inserted.

      (2) Just skip the insertion altogether, take your filter material/s, staple (or sew) a simple instant mask with the same shape and wear this underneath your pretty mask! You only need slightly more material and you can easily just make a bunch of them, so they‘re always ready to go!

      I hope this helps? <3

    • Thank you very much for your kind and detailed suggestions, dear Mary! When I first published my pattern, masks were desperately needed everywhere, so I’ve concentrated on making the process as easy and fast as I possibly could, but I‘ve been planning on adding a pictorial for some more elaborate detail solutions ever since.

      I‘ve just explained to Peggy that I actually considered (1) separating the pleats right from the start, and why I decided not to. I‘ve also tried (2) sewing and snipping the openings earlyon, but found that simply ironing was much faster and just as neat. For (3) cleaner sides, I have a process that seems quite similar to yours but can hardly be explained to novices without pictures, so I decided to go with the most simple and explainable way here :)

      Even though I decided against these detail solutions, they may be helpful to some sewers – and I really enjoy to see and read how different others work, and in how many ways my hybrid pattern can be sewn! <3

    • Thank you, Iris, for your kind and generous offer of your pattern and continued advice. I agree with you that pleats have many advantages. I am making some of your masks with one layer of Filti and one layer of cotton either against the face for comfort or on the outside to keep the filter cleaner and looked nicer. However, they lose a lot of effectiveness once washed so I need some with insertable filters as well.

      You offer good suggestions. I’ve started to use the chin pattern which helps the bottom. I have also used safety pins in the top corners, which helps, but it’s hard to keep the filter up at the top center and at the sides. (I made a mask of Filti with a layer of very lightweight cotton on the outside so I could actually see what was going on; it was helpful.) I have since used two-sided hemming tape to tack the filter in. That seems to work well for me but I can’t imagine most people having that tape or be willing to deal with it.

      I’ll have to take a look at the instant mask. That’s another great option.

      I can’t grasp your reasons for not doing the pleats separately (which I haven’t tried yet) but I admire your engineering skills so I’d like to understand. a) Why would you need to cut the filter to a special shape? b) I’m using a flat filter any way I do it; are you saying with the separate pleats they wouldn’t move as freely? c) Do you think with the pleats done together, they better keep the filter in place?

      Again, thank you so much.

    • You‘re welcome, dear Peggy! Thank you for appreciating :)

      Have you tried using tiny safety pins and keeping them in their corners while wearing the mask? If your material isn‘t to slippery and the lengths of mask and filter match well, the safety pins should make sure that the filter stays in place all the way, including the nose part, as there is a pull from the sides which keeps it straightened. Other options to fix these corners would be stapling or 2-3 rough hand stitches.

      I don‘t know for sure how Filti behaves as a fabric (unfortunately, it‘s unavailable in Europe!), but in studies I’ve seen that it looses the very most of its filter efficiency when washed, so I‘d rather use it as a filter than as a fabric.

      As a seamstress, I‘m usually either hurried or lazy, which means that all extra work has to be really worth the effort :). I don‘t see much use in separating the pleats, but you never know – different people like different things, and maybe this works as well for you as it did for Mary? If you‘re interested, I’d encourage to just try it!

      (a) When both layers are pleated at once (as instructed) and you want your filter to fill the whole of the inside (which is the safest way to wear a filter), it will be cut like a rectangle or, even better, a trapezoid. When both layer are pleated separately and you don‘t distribute your filter into the pleats, the middle length of the inside is much longer than the side lengths. F.e., if you use size M, your filter will need a length of about 17.5 cm in the middle and 8.5 cm on the sides, and some sort of curve connecting those measurements. The pleats are supposed to support movement (closed mouth and open mouth), but a filter without pleats can‘t do that.

      (b) I’m not sure what you mean with a flat filter… if your filter is pre-cut and you can‘t distribute it into the pleats anyway, I guess separating the pleats may be worth trying, even though the mask fits much better when the pleats can move freely!

      (c) If you have a filter fabric that‘s not to slippery and can be cut to measure (like Filti), you can also try to pre-pleat it slightly before insertion, which might make insertion a little easier. If distributed well, all the way into the corners and pleats to make it a neat third layer, the layers indeed support each other and hold up nicely.

      Please let me know how this works for you! Filter insertion is a strange form of art :)

    • It’s me again with some private comment. I reread your latest comments to me and now I understand what you meant and it make perfect sense. Sometimes, that’s what it takes. Thank you for patience in explaining.

      From the beginning, I wondered if it didn’t make sense to pre-pleat the insertable filter. I may try that sometime.

      The Filti material is pretty great in terms of efficiency with results of 85% in filtration per tests done by TSI, but yes, the tests also show it loses about 40% of that with washing. ( https://www.maskfaq.com/test-results. ) For masks I may with one layer of Filti and one layer of cotton, I tell recipients that it might be OK to wash once and still be better than many masks, but it’s a throwaway after that. It’s similar to an N95 in that respect; it cannot be washed. I have enough Filti, and don’t wear masks that often or for long, so I’m OK with that.

      Kind regards, and you take care, Peggy

    • Does „private“ mean I‘m not supposed to publish your comment, dear Peggy? I think it could actually be helpful for others reading this thread! If you‘d like to write it again for public, I‘ll copypaste my comment to a new reply (without this paragraph), so it’s the right order, okay?

      I haven’t been really happy with filter insertion either, so I think it‘s an interesting question, and those often lead me to think in different directions and come up with better detail solutions :). Unfortunately, we don’t have Filti in Germany, but I have some NWPP (bag) material I’d like to use as a filter but dislike to sew in as it melts when ironed (even lukewarm and covered – and I don’t really want to skip the hot ironing, as it helps fight germs!), so using the NWPP as an insert might work better… Right now, I wonder if a detailed pattern (including pleats) could help. I‘ll probably try this in the upcoming days and if the results are worth the effort of cutting and pleating a filter to shape, I‘ll add a filter pattern to the PDF!

      All my best wishes, take care and stay safe! <3

  18. Iris: Your pattern is the best one for face masks! Today, I came up with a way to insert the ear loops and the cord lock that is so much faster and easier than using a safety pin. I explain the technique at the bottom of this post: http://bennettplanet.com/posts/400

    • Thank you, Steven, for your kind appreciation of my pattern, and for your idea! I’ve just been thinking about bending a long piece of wire for insertion, but as my ear straps are usually rather thick in comparison, I’m afraid I’ll have to continue using a method that doesn’t double them. But I’m sure others that use thinner elastics will be very happy with the method too! Plus, your masks look really great and I adore that fabric! Happy birthday to your sister :)

    • Steven – I saw your post about inserting cord into the teeny cord locks. I was wondering why you inserted them through the small hole rather than the larger hole first (I always insert through the larger hole, I think that’s the way some instructions showed). Also, a tip: knot your doubled thread, insert your needle through the cords near their tips and pull the needle through the space between the doubled thread so that it closes around the ends of both cords. Then pull through the cord lock (I use upholstery thread or other sturdier thread that I can grab and yank without much fear of it breaking). Loosen the thread, cut the knot off and remove the thread, and you’re done. :-)

    • I haven’t posted this yet (there’s a long lost of revisions piling up right now…), but I started using very thin copper wire (about 24 cm long, folded double to 12 cm) for the insertion of ties to the side channels and into pony beads (those are awesome with 2.5 cm jersey or nylon ties!), and it works just like a charm! It’s much faster and more direct than safety pins or needled threads, and also makes it much easier to work around dead ends in the side channels. I haven‘t tried cord locks yet, but I imagine the method is great with those too! <3

  19. Iris, your pattern is wonderful…thank you so much! I can finally wear a mask and still breathe, talk, and see out of my glasses. I will be making your design for all my family and friends.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, dear Ruth, and also for your kind and generous donation! It always makes me so happy to hear that my pattern works reall well for others who had the same problems as me with other designs! <3

  20. I love your design Iris,. I tried other designs before discovering yours, yours is just the best fit, & in my experience it fits all face shapes well. I’ve made over 100 of your masks for family & friends, & then their families & friends. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, Mags! I‘m still astonished too how my little hack seems to work really well for very different face shapes; I think this has to do with the pulling which happens in different places, and as there are different kinds of pulling (unlike patterns where top and bottom are the same), they play so well together that they seem to be able to adapt! <3

  21. Just want to thank you again for this fantastic mask design. I realized that the first ones I made were with the EU pattern.. Just made a couple of new ones. Love them!!

    • That‘s awesome, thank you very much for your kind appreciation! As far as I can tell by requests, you‘re lucky the EU file worked for printing out :)

  22. Iris, you are a genius! I am so thrilled to have found your incredible mask! I must have purchased 20 masks that were supposed to not fog up my glasses when I exhale, but yours are truly the only ones that have worked for me! I’m so impressed, I will be ordering more! All my old, “fogging” masks will be washed and donated to folks who still need one, but perhaps don’t have to worry about the fogging issue. So you have helped a LOT of people by creating the world’s best mask!
    God bless you!

    • Thank you so much, dear Elizabeth! I‘m happy to hear that my little hack works so well for you too, especially after you’ve searched for so long, and I love the idea of washing and donating the masks you don’t use! Someone without glasses might actually be very happy with them. All my best wishes for you, take care and stay safe! <3

  23. I just can not understand the nose part for some reason but Love how it fits. Maybe later I will have time to think it thru. Thanks for your creative hard work.

    • Thank you very much for your kind appreciation, Dianne! If you already made the mask and it fits right, it looks like you did understand that the nose part is just a very simple reverse pleat (which fits in just the right places with the help of some pulling via side channels and trapezoid form), didn’t you? :)

  24. I came across your website and mask pattern today and promptly printed the instructions and got sewing! You instructions were easy to follow and the mask is comfortable to wear. I had been internet searching for the best mask pattern and from your test/comparison of different mask styles it looks like I wasn’t the only one! I also appreciate how the comparison of styles led to your great design. I will be making many more of these now for family and friends! Nerise – Sydney, Australia

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, Nerise! When I first started, I just meant to sew a couple of masks, tried all the patterns I could find (about 20-30 back then, plus a whole box of minor tweaks), only to find out that none of them worked for me… On the bright side, I‘ve experienced all the problems one could possibly have with a mask :), could clearly tell which details worked and which didn’t, rediscovered my old love for patternmaking – and at some point, things just fell into place. I‘m glad you enjoy my little hack too, and I wish you happy sewing! <3

  25. I love the simplicity of the design, straight cuts etc, but I just made one for my 8yr old at the 18cm size and its far too small. It fits fine over the nose and mouth but its not wide enough and I’d have to use a lot of elastic. So I measured his face from cheek to cheek and need to make them so the finished size is 23cm wide.

    • I‘m sorry the measurements didn’t work out for your son, Evie! I‘ve seen the sizes on hundreds (maybe thousands) of people now… 22-24 cm width fits most men, 20 cm fits most women, 18 cm fits most school kids and 16 cm fits most younger children well. On all the 8 year olds I‘ve seen, the 18 cm were a bit on the large side, so I wondered:

      (1) Are you sure your ruler is correct? Could you possibly have used the cm/inch ruler from the PDF but printed it at 90%, or something like that? :)
      (2) Compared to his classmates, does your son possibly have a rather big head?
      (3) There might have been a misunderstanding on how the mask is supposed to fit. It shouldn‘t reach all the way to the ears, because in order to avoid gaps, the drawstring tunnels need some space, to round smoothly. For example, when I make masks for myself and some female friends, I am using the M pattern with 20 cm width, then cut around 20 cm of elastics per ear, which I insert and knot to 16-18 cm. For most people, the ratio here seems to be around 1 (mask width) : 0.6 – 1.2 (elastics length).

      But after all, the only thing that counts is that you have a comfortable, gapless mask, no matter if it‘s exactly as described! :)

      I hope this helps? If not, please feel free to send me some pictures <3

  26. Thank you for sharing this well put together tutorial
    I wear glasses and I been trying different patterns I can’t wait to try it.
    I learn a lot from your tutorial it is full of great information I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to put it together and share it with everyone.

    Thank you very much

  27. I’m an Early Childhood Education teacher who has been looking for a mask design to fit my needs. I wanted a mask that fits snug enough and doesn’t move around on my face, that doesn’t fog up my glasses, and looks stylish on my face (some look boxy and odd). Iris, I found all this and more form your design. I am happily sewing new masks for myself and fellow teachers at my school. Thank you again for your simplisticly detailed design and instructions. You truly thought of everything. I am a new found fan of you & your designs! Sincerely, Stacey McG

    • Thank you very much for your kind appreciation, Stacey! I‘ve been teaching as well for a while (fashion illustration at university) and many of my friends are teachers too, so I‘m well aware of the challenges of teaching with a mask – and particularly happy that my little hack seems to work so well there. After testing 20-30 different patterns (and a whole box of minor tweaks…) and getting none of them to fit right on me, I was quite determined to find a solution where every little detail has a reason and works together as a whole! :) I wish you happy sewing, and all the best for you, your collegues and your students <3

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DIY Instructions | Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

For my own production, I tried to optimize the pattern and manufacture of the cloth mask, so there’s no need to touch and straighten it out while wearing. To achieve this, the mask is supposed to fit snug and gapless around the nose, cheek and chin and not slide up the eyes or down the nose. Other points I found important were easy replacement of parts such as wire, filter and ties, plus quick and simple sewing, washing and ironing without too much ado.


Test Series of Different Mask Shapes

First, I just meant to sew a couple of cloth masks for myself, my family, some friends, friends of the family and family of friends. To find a suitable shape, I tried all the well-known sewing patterns, but didn’t like their fit – and then the pattern nerd took over (long ago, I studied fashion design, with focus on historical women’s sports apparel and seemingly impossible patterns… :)). Finally, I combined a hybrid pattern from known features, plus a few hacks.

Illustration der Dreifalt-Maske oder OP-Maske
The pleats of the classic three-pleat mask allow the wearer enough air to breathe, but it often protrudes strongly along the nose and in front of the ears. As a result, the mask sometimes slips (even with nose wire!) up into the eyes, which means that you can no longer see anything, or down to the tip of the nose, which causes the gaps right and left of the nose to widen – and at some point, the mask might even fall down from the nose! Plus, variants with bias tape all around and as sewn-on straps seemed too much unnecessary tailoring for hurried me :)

Illustration der Tunnelzug-Maske
The most simple form, the drawstring mask, is just a square of fabric pulled together with straps on the sides. It fits just as badly over the nose as the three-fold mask, but the drawstring on the sides fans out well, makes the mask curve slightly and therefore stay close to the face. Originally, I found horizontal straps more logical because they run directly to the back, but here I noticed that the side of the mask fits much better with vertical straps, and it fits almost perfect if the straps are not sewn on, but run through a tunnel! Plus, this makes the straps easily interchangeable.

Illustration der Form-Maske oder Honkong-Maske
The famous shape mask fits great at first sight, but if you laugh or yawn, it might at some point fall down very suddenly and completely – and then you have to lift and straighten it... In addition, shape masks usually have horizontally sewn-in straps, which means there are huge gaps on the sides. Plus, I don't think a seam in right in front of nose and mouth makes this mask any safer. Unlike pleated or wrinkled masks, you can not even see residual facial expressions here, but you look as smooth as a window dummy with a stocking face, which I find highly irritating :)

Illustration der Tuchtaschen-Maske oder Taschen-Makse
The pouch mask surprised me with a long, but nice nose fit and a sharply pronounced tip of the nose, which almost shows facial features! In addition, this shape is wonderfully easy, clean and quick to sew. When I discovered it, this mask was by far my favorite – until I noticed that unfortunately, it is extremely flat over the mouth, and therefore it hardly offers enough air to breathe. The mask might even get into your mouth and damp up when you speak or laugh, and the shape with horizontally sewn-in straps also protrudes a whole lot on the sides...


Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Features of my Optimized Hybrid Cloth Mask

My hybrid cloth mask has a special pleat for the nose that adapts very well to the face, even without wire. It does not push up the eyes or down the nose, and it enables speech, laughter or yawning without slipping. The upper seam can hold a nose wire to improve the fit even further and protect glasses from fogging. The wire can be removed through a little opening in the seam and runs across the entire width of the mask, so you can hardly injure yourself with it.

I opted for folds that give more air to breathe, move less with facial expressions and gently enclose the chin. In addition, straight folds have the advantage of a flat lay-down shape, which is easier to sew and to iron. The trapezoid shaped pattern corresponds with the anatomy of the face, it fits slim and less bulgy on the chin than a rectangle.

The side of the mask has a drawstring tunnel, which can be slightly creased, so the side does not protrude and a tight fit can be achieved. Thanks to the tunnel, elastic ear straps or a head ties can easily be adjusted and exchanged.

At the bottom of the mask, there is a small opening for the insertion of a disposable filter of your own choice.


DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus


Handling Handmade Cloth Masks

With careful handling, a self-sewn mask can be rather effective for protecting others from its wearer, but the protection for the wearer is extremely limited. If you use this mask, you do so at your own risk, and you should certainly still follow the usual safety rules (hand hygiene, distance, cough / sneeze protocol, etc.)!

Wash your hands well before putting on the mask, insert a wire to the upper seam and a non-woven disposable filter (f.e. paper tissue) through the lower opening, and pluck it into the corners. Fold up the backwards pleat, place it on your nose and pull the ties around your ears. Now straighten the backwards pleat on your nose, adjust the nose piece and slightly crease the drawstrings. The mask should fit as close to the face as possible, without constricting.

If the mask fits well, do not touch it anymore! Always treat the mask as if it were contaminated. If straightening the mask while wearing it is unavoidable,  only touch the ribbon and never the fabric, and wash your hands immediately. Do not wear the mask for more than 4 hours, if it becomes dirty or damp, or if you do not get enough air!

To take off the mask, grasp the straps and remove it without touching the fabric. Store it in a closed container and wash your hands and face thoroughly. The mask should be cleaned after each use. To do this, remove filter and wire, launder at least 60° C (better 95°) in the machine or cook for 5 minutes. Wash your hands. Allow to dry and iron well.


DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus


My hybrid cloth mask can be sewn easily and quickly (10 minutes). To make this mask yourself, you need two fabrics (please test in advance whether you can breathe well!) which are washable at at least 60° C, wire and elastic straps or ribbon, a sewing machine or needle and thread, scissors, pins, chalk or pencils for marking, plus (ideally) a flatiron.

Instructions for Sewing my Hybrid Cloth Mask

(1) Cut 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. Also cut 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.

(2) Layer both fabrics neatly, with the right side inwards. Mark the opening for the wire at the top and the opening for the filter at the bottom. Topstitch both seams 1 cm / 0,4" from the cutting edge. Iron the seam allowances apart.

(3) Turn the piece over to the right side. Iron the allowance out and topstitch the tunnel for the nose piece 0,5 cm / 0,2" from the top edge. Mark and fold pleats from the outside, according to the pattern and the illustration shown above.

(4) Iron the pleats and pin them. Place the strips of fabric with the right side inwards on the edges. Bend, fold in top and bottom and stitch them approx. 1 cm / 0,4" from the cutting edge of the strips. Cut off excess fabric at the edge.

(5) Fold fabric strips over, iron them down, fold them around and in, and pin them down, overlapping the seam on the back. Topstitch cleanly from the front, in the seam shadow. Bend the wire ends and carefully insert it to the tunnel.

(6) Use a safety pin to pull your ties – either elastic for ear holders or ribbon for a long head tie – into the drawstrings on both sides. Adjust elastic straps individually, either knot or sew them and pull seams into the drawstring.

For detailed picture instructions, please visit my pictorial!

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Adaptions for different Sizes and Shapes

The dimensions of my pattern and instructions are designed as a rather universal ladies' mask (size M), which also fits men and teenagers sort of okay-ish. Before you start sewing modified sizes, I very highly recommend to make and fully understand the standard model, because otherwise this will certainly become far too complicated!

For a true men's mask (size L), I cut 1 cm / 0,4" more on each side (fabrics 22 x 22 cm / 8,8" x 8,8", strips 5 x 11 cm / 2" x 4,4") and then redistributed the pleat height (2,2 cm / 0,9"). For a bigger men's mask (size XL), I cut 2 cm / 0,8" more on each side (fabrics 24 x 24 cm / 9,4" x 9,4", strips 5 x 12 cm / 2" x 4,8") and redistributed the pleat height to 2,4 cm / 1".

I've seen people use a bigger L size (9” x 9”) as a cover for FFP / N95 masks, and it looked like it would fit well!

With a beard, masks never fit as tight as on a smooth face. If you want to take the risk, I'd recommend keeping the width, adding 2-3 segments of length, and using excess to fold a third pleat. For a longer beard, end pleats inwards.

For a true teenager's and children's mask (size S) that fits 8-12 year olds, I took 1 cm / 0,4" less on each side (fabrics 18 x 18 cm / 7,2" x 7,2", strips 5 x 9 cm / 2" x 3,6") and redistributed the pleat height (1,8 cm / 0,7"). As far as I read, cloth masks may possibly cause some health risks to younger children, so I decided to better not offer an XS size here.

If your printer allows that, you can very simply adjust the size there: size S ist 90%, M ist 100%,, L is 110% and XL is 120% (which might take two pages). I highly recommend to write size and percentage on your printout right away :)

Lots of further adjustments to face shapes, special needs and personal preferences are now available in a separate blog post about Customized Hybrid Face Masks, which includes all the patterns and templates as a printable PDF!


Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Fresh Picture Tutorial for the Hybrid Cloth Mask

For all the beginners (and everyone else who might get lost in this pattern!), I just (May 3rd, 2020) published a very detailed picture tutorial for this mask in a separate post, to go along with the illustrated instructions. I hope it helps! :)

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus


Frequently Asked Questions (+ some more Hacks)

Does this mask really fit so well that glasses don't fog?

For me and many others, it does! I've tried every pattern available at the time and glasses colliding with mask edges or fogging up were one of the reasons I finally decided to create a hybrid mask. I was actually surprised when I realised how well this nose pleat works – and that it doesn't even need a wire to fit snug and keep my glasses clear!

Is the pattern suitable for people with special needs?

I guess this depends on their needs! So far, I've heard surprisingly often that my hybrid is the only mask people with HSP / hypersensitivity, sensory disorders or on the autism spectrum can bear to wear! Some people with asthma or claustrophobia are also very enthusiastic about the pattern, yet others find it's still too tight. If people tell me this, I tend to recommend a duck bill shape, which also has a snug fit, but offers maximum space in front of the mouth.

Lately, I have also created several Customized Hybrid Mask patterns and templates for different face shapes, special needs and preferences, which can easily be combined with each other, and published those in a separate post.

What do press or reviews say about this mask?

»Die Autorin der Anleitung ist Profi. Und das merkt man. (…) Der Clou bei dieser Maske ist die nach hinten geklappte, separate Nasenfalte (…). Ich war angenehm überrrascht, wie toll die Maske sitzt.« – Birgit S., MaskeZeigen, DE

»I struck gold when I found the Iris Luckhaus DIY cloth mask. This is German engineering at its finest! (...) It has an extra pleat behind the top of the mask which you pull up when putting it on to get a great fit around your nose, even without a wire. The angled sides also help & I’ve found this the best fitting mask (…). It’s genius!« – Janine, CraftFix, IE

»Social media discussions in the mask making community report that this mask is very comfortable to wear and reduces eyeglass fogging due to the unique nose bridge design.«Open Source Medical Supplies, US

Does this model have ear straps or a head tie?

You have all options – and thanks to drawstring tunnels, you can even switch later! First is two elastic ear straps (easy to dress but might hurt the ears, so it's practical for shorter wearing), second is a long textile tie (harder to dress but doesn't hurt the ears, so it's comfortable for longer wearing). I usually donate my masks in a double packs, one with ear bands and the other with head tie. I like to make my ear bands adjustable through sliding knots or cord stoppers.

If you wear glasses or hearing aids, I'd recommend to either go with the long tie or to use some sort of fastening (hair / paper clips or ribbon), pull the ear straps back and fasten them behind your head, to take the pressure off your ears.

At second sight, there are far more ways then the well-known ones to tie a mask to your ears or around your head! That's why I drew a helpful infographic – and published a separate post about 9 different mask tying techniques.

What materials  do you use for Fabrics, wire, ties and filters?

For my own production, I mostly use leftovers and ask for fabrics, wire and ties whenever I'm giving away a mask. So far, this works really well and I'm very happy with the amazing (or funny) materials concidence brought my way! :)

I like thin gardening wire, as it bends well, stays well and even survives accidental cooking :), but binder metal, hat wire, fence wire or pipe cleaners are solid options too. You can even use unfolded paper clips or any thin metal wire! If you are using a broad type of wire, please make sure to adapt your nose piece tunnel seam to a suitable width.

As I didn't find neat rubber cords for ear straps, I use elastic bands, bra straps, jersey or nylon cuts (which roll up by themselves, even better with spandex!). For the head band, I like textile ribbon, gift ribbon or straight grain binding.

I use different fabrics for inside and outside, so you can't confuse them. So far, I've sewn mainly with cotton, because it's cookable, breathable and available, and made sure that at least one layer has a high thread count. I am also testing polyester, silk and chiffon – and I'll probably expand this now, as the WHO lately recommended cotton as a moisture-absorbing inner layer, polypropylene as a mechanical filter layer and moisture-repellent polyester for the outer layer.

I've read great things about filters which aren't available in Germany – so for now, it seems safest to go with materials that were developped to be used near your face, like tissues. To sew in a filter as a middle layer, place it on the thinner layer and treat the two as one. If you prefer to layer masks, the disposable hybrid mask perfectly fits underneath!

Is there some sort of trick on how to insert your filters?

I cut my filter to 16 x 18 cm / 6,3" x 7" and insert it like casing a pillow, (a) pushing top corners of the filter into top corners of the mask, (b) holding them in place with safety pins in the outer top corners next to the wire, and (c) pulling fabric down and straightening the filter into the pleats! In my tutorial, I show detail pictures of the process.

DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus

My printed files are not true size. What can I do?

When I published the first PDF in English, I didn't consider different EU and US formats, so if your download was before April 23rd, you may have the wrong format! After I heard about this causing problems, I added a US file alongside the EU one. If this doesn't solve your problem, make sure that pages are printed at 100% – and measure whether 2 cm / 0,8" on the print correspond to a ruler. For some printers, it can help to activate frameless printing!

Can I sew this mask without a sewing machine or somewhat simpler?

To sew this mask on a serger, you proceed as instructed until folding and pinning the pleats. Then, take the strips of fabric, fold top and bottom to 8 cm / 3,2” length and fold them in half so the right side is facing out. Lay the folded strips on your piece, with all cut edges facing the same direction. Then stitch the tunnel with one seam instead of the usual two! When you wear the mask, the tunnel folds out, so that you can't even see the overlocked edges :)

If you don't have a sewing machine, you can skip the inserts, cut only one rectangular piece (38 x 20 cm / 15" x 8") instead of two squares, sew the full upper seam and skip the wire tunnel. This only takes 40 cm / 16" of stitching!

It's also possible to sew on the ties directly, without tunnels. It doesn't fit as great, but can be a practical solution! To do this, either proceed as described and stitch on long ties in place of the strips in step (4), or instead of stitching the upper and lower seam from the wrong side in step (2), place an inwards facing tie in each corner of your fabrics, then stitch all sides except for the filter opening, turn to the right and fix the pleats with a simple side seam.

If you can't or don't want to sew, you might like to try my instructions for a disposable hybrid paper mask with the same amazing pattern, which can easily be stapled in less than a minute, from paper napkins and paper towels!

Are there ways to manufacture this mask a little neater?

Of course you can manufacture the mask much neater – and f.e. overlock all the edges (I just tore the fabric and pre-frayed 2-3 threads; so far, it holds great! :)) and / or neatly sew down the open edges at the bottom, all around the filter insert. If you want to do that, I recommend 1 cm / 0,4" more seam allowance in the lower part (i.e. 20 x 21 cm / 8" x 8,4" instead of 20 x 20 cm / 8" x 8"). In step (2), first topstitch the two parts of the lower seam at 2 cm / 0,8" distance, then iron out the seam allowances. When you're done with that, fold the allowances in individually, iron them again and topstitch over the entire lengths on both sides. Close the upper seam last and continue according to instructions.

For a different look, you can attach another fabric (f.e. the same fabric you use for tunnels!) for the visible part of the backwards fold, which is the top 2 cm / 0,8” (or 3 cm / 12” incl allowance) of the outside of the mask, in advance.

Help, I'm completely confused! WHat am I doing wrong?

For everyone who might get confused when folding the pleats, I have drawn the folding scheme from a side view. I always start with quickly ironing the top fold backwards and then work my way down, from the front side, mark by mark and fold by fold – and once you sew the 3rd or 4th mask, the procedure becomes really fast (seriously!)! :)

Folding scheme of the optimized hybrid mask

In the paper pattern, the top 1 cm / 0,4” and the bottom 1 cm / 0,4” are seam allowances. After your first two seams from the wrong side, you iron out the allowances in the fabric and turn your piece inside out, so the right side is visible. Repeat the process on your paper pattern and fold in those allowances, before making pleats!

For the pleats, it might also help to look for white areas in the paper pattern. Those white areas are visible in the finished mask! Grey areas are pleats facing down, and light grey areas are facing up, but covered by a pleat.

If you've accidentally closed the wire opening in the seam, you can carefully open 2-3 stitches later, with a seam ripper or scissors. This is not an elegant solution, but there is no pull on the seam, so it's unlikely that it will open much more.

If anything is still unclear, you will most likely find answers in the detailed picture tutorial in a separate post.

Why doesn't my mask look like yours in the pictures?

First, you should check whether you have put on the mask correctly and if you have placed the backwards pleat on the bridge of your nose, folded up. Then, you might want to see whether the ties are set to correct length and whether the drawstring is pushed together so it rounds nicely. For a good fit, it is also essential to iron the pleats well!

Depending on face shape and preferences, the lower pleats can be worn differently! For me, the mask fits best when the pleats remain closed, so the bottom of the mask ends at the chin, but others perfer to open the pleats completely and wear the bottom under their chin, close to the neck. Both variants should fit snug around the edge of the chin!

If the mask still doesn't fit, maybe some evil little error has crept in ... Is your back fold 2 cm / 0,8” deep? Are your pleats pointing down? If you can definitely rule out all mistakes, you might just want to try a different size!

Is there a PDF insert I could use for donating my masks?

For my own donations, I simply enclose the first page of the instruction PDF; it contains pretty much everything you need to know about masks, usage and care. A more sophisticated insert for non-sewing mask recipients will follow!

will you publish a video tutorial and more pictures?

I've just published an extremely detailed picture tutorial in a separate post, and a video will follow at some point as well (if I have 2-3 quiet days – and ideas how to shoot that without any cutting and a camera holder!)... let's see how and when this works! Meanwhile, I've seen quite a lot of video-preferring total beginners make absolutely beautiful masks with my pictorial instructions – so even if you're a visual learner, I'd highly recommend to just give it a try!

Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhalter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Can I possibly purchase this fantastic mask from you?

For the moment, I stopped my own sewing because it seemed more important to publish instructions and pattern of my hybrid mask, in order help others to help those in need – and besides my daily work, there's simply no time to do much more than answering all questions and continously updating German and English post and instructions.

However, if you would like to use any part of my work – the mask design, the pattern and/or the instructions – commercially, I would be happy to grant the necessary usage rights for a fair fee, and I'd be thrilled if it was possible to forward all enquiries from those who would like to buy my mask to someone who actually has time to sew it!

But no matter how this journey might continue: Instructions and patterns are always free for anyone who just wants to non-commercially sew some masks for themselves, donations or gifts, and this will definitely remain so.


I update those frequently asked questions and hacks annotations every now and then (last: June 17th)! If you have questions yourself, please feel free comment below (or via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or simply send me an email!


DIY Instructions, Pattern and Template for Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask or Face Mask by Iris Luckhaus

Download of Instructions and Pattern as a printable PDF

Here you can download a printable PDF with introduction, instructions and pattern for my Hybrid Cloth Mask [V5 | June 17th, 2020] on 3 pages (EU Din A4) oder 4 pages (US letter). Before download, please read the conditions below!


* 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, LinkedInPinterest 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 (post@irisluckhaus)!

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!


Optimierte Hybrid-Maske, Behelfsmaske, Alltagsmaske, Mundmaske, Mund-Nase-Maske oder Mund-Nase-Bedeckung zum Selbstnähen mit Anleitung, Schnittmuster und Schablone auf Stoff mit Nasenbügel, Filteröffnung und Tunnelzug für Ohrhaöter und Kopfbändel von Iris Luckhaus

Acknowledgements

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: To me, you are all heroes!


Take good care of yourself and stay well! ❤

DIY Instructions | Customized Hybrid Face Masks
Infographic | Mask Tying Techniques for Face Masks
DIY Instructions | Making a Hybrid Instant Mask
Press | Recommendations for the Hybrid Mask
DIY Tutorial | Hybrid Cloth Mask Pictorial
DIY Instructions | Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask
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80 Responses to DIY Instructions | Sewing a Hybrid Cloth Mask

    • You‘re welcome, Linda! I wish you all the best for sewing, and that your mask fits perfectly! :)

  1. I absolutely love this design and the way it fits and works. I just wish I understood more of it so I could make some for my clinic. I am too much of an amateur to figure this out right now. Any additional pictures or video would be amazing so I could figure this out and make some of these for at work. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you for your kind comment, dear Casy! I feel honoured that a medical worker is considering my design :) – Pictures and video are coming, it just takes some advance preparation… In the meantime, there are pictures on Maskezeigen.de. I’ve seen some video-preferring total beginners make beautiful masks with my illustrated instructions, so I’d recommend to just give it a try! The “Tipps + Tricks” section should cover most questions. If you don’t want to miss updates, you may follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube! ❤

  2. Need a video.Am a beginner sewing person. I have already broken one needle on my machine, sewed my fingers! But I wear glasses & have yet to find a mask that didn’t leave my glasses fogged. There’s lots of things I can do, but sewing doesn’t seem to by my forte.

    • Broken needles and sewn fingers happen to all of us, Diana! It just means that you’re sewing with your heart’s blood :) – I’ve had the same foggy glasses problem with all other masks types, and this was one of the reasons I decided to just design my own – and for me, this one even works without a wire! Pictures and video are coming, it just takes some advance preparation… In the meantime, I’ve seen some total beginners make beautiful masks with my illustrated instructions, so I’d recommend to just give it a try! The “Tipps + Tricks” section should cover most questions. If you don’t want to miss updates, you may follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube! ❤

  3. Thank you for being so dedicated and sharing precise instructions! I am anxious to try this also. It is close to what I am making. I like your nose fit on the pattern and the ability to remove the nose wire. With the shortage of elastic, I am using 1″x 7.5″ strips of t-shirt knit that rolls and works so well!

    • Thank you for your appreciation, Debbie! I like jersey noodles too, and all those discoveries you make along the way… did you know that strips of nylon stockings also make pretty good elastics?!? I’m wondering if your current mask is what I called the “pouch mask” in my test, because then the fit of my hybrid may be a pleasant surprise :) – All the best for trying! ❤

  4. Do you have a video of you doing this? As a visual learner, it would help me get going. Thank you for considering.

    • The video is coming, Sherri, it just take some advance preparation… In the meantime, I’ve seen some video-preferring total beginners make beautiful masks with my pictorial instructions, so I’d recommend to just give it a try! The “Tipps + Tricks” section should cover most questions. If you don’t want to miss updates, you may follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube! ❤

  5. Such a wonderful design! Would you kindly make the pattern pdf (above) in true size to print off? My computer skills are apparently lacking to enlarge. So very excited to sew this!

    • Thank you for your appreciation, Karen! After a kind remark from a seamstress who ran into problems with printing the original EU Din A4 PDF (true size, 3 pages) on a US printer, I added the US letter PDF (true size, 4 pages with pattern/template on seperate pages) last night. I wonder if you maybe downloaded the EU version of the PDF, or if you tried to print the JPGs? ❤

  6. My mom and dad wear both glasses AND hearing aids. I think this will be a great option for them. Thanks for sharing this pattern with us.

    • You’re very welcome, dear Monica! Thank you for your kind appreciation. A friend of mine also wears both glasses and hearing aids, and the version with a headband seems to work really well for her! I only wear glasses, but the way they fogged up and moved around with the other shapes I tried were part of the reason why I decided to try making my pattern – and for me, it works like a charm! I hope it suits the needs of your parents too! ❤

  7. This is a lovely idea! Hope you can make a video soon. I am still making mask on my serger, but I would love this option for people with glasses! I donate all my mask!

    • Thank you very much, dear Sandra! Video is coming, I just need a quiet day to figure it out and shoot it – and as quiet days are extremely rare right now, I’m thinking about at least making a more detailed photo tutorial inbetween :). You can easily make most of this mask on a serger, except for that last seam (closing the drawstring tunnel)… if you don’t care too much about the looks, you could possibly work with two strips of fabric instead of one (so, four in total), attach them to the pleated piece from both sides, then fold them over and stitch them together… ? ❤

    • Yes iris that does make sense. Right now I am sewing these for speed, as a mask is required if we are in public, so mass production is preferred. However, the seamstress in me is screaming for neatness and attention to detail Hope you get some quiet time soon!

    • Thank you, Sandra! I can relate to your inner seamstress screaming for neatness, it’s the same for me with both sewing and instructions (it can be hard at times to tame my perfectionism :)), but I think it’s also good to see what you’re capable of, when doing things differently, especially during times like these. The great thing about speed-sewing masks for donations is that after donation, you don’t see them (and what you might consider flaws) much anymore – and I assume that the lucky recipients will consider your masks perfect, just the way they are! ❤

    • Hej Sandra! It took a while, but I’ve finally had an idea for how to (possibly) make this mask look neat on a serger! If you proceed as instructed, until the point where you layer that strip on the sides of the pleated mask, then lay the strip double (cutting edge on cutting edge), so the right side is facing up and the overlapping fabric folded inwards, then stitch/overlock the sides, I assume that drawstring tunnel will sit really neatly once it is dressed up and pulled from the sides, so the serger seams actually become invisible! Does that make any sense to you? :)

  8. This looks like a great pattern but I’m having trouble printing it to the correct scale is there anyway that you can email me a PDF of this pattern?

    • Thank you, Bridget! – Have you see that there’s a PDF for download, at the end of the article (underneath the picture with all three pages :)), which is true size for EU Din A4 and US Letter? ❤

  9. would love to see a video tutorial, with a sewing machine and or a serger I have both. Want to try but do much better with a video. Love this pattern will definitely have to try.

    • Hello Ann! Just scroll the post and you’ll find the downloadable PDF (in 2 versions, for EU and US paper sizes) at the bottom, right under the picture which shows all three pages! :)

  10. A big thank you for this brilliant pattern Iris. I’m a beginner sewer and have experimented with lots of different patterns and finally struck gold with yours. I really appreciate all the effort you have gone to in documenting it, especially the clever printed pattern format.

    I have written up what I have learned making face masks so far on my blog and have featured your pattern there.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, dear Janine, for featuring my mask in your lovely blog – and for those kind words (»German engineering at its finest«?! – Woo-hoo! :)) which totally brightened my day! ❤

  11. I love this pattern. Thank you so much. It stays put when we talk!

    I have been using Filti as an insert but am wondering whether it would be as safe to make the mask with three layers, using silk in the middle, and two different kinds of cotton. It is a bit of a chore to insert the Filti. The fabric testing seems to indicate that silk is good. https://pubs.acs.org/

    And thank you so much for the pattern. Literally a life-saver.

    • Thank you so much for your kind appreciation, dear Jill!

      As you might have read, I’ve had similar problems with other masks (and at first, I wondered if there’s sth wrong with my face or the way it moves… :)). Filti sounds great, but unfortunately it seems never heard of in Germany, and I wasn’t able to find ath similar, so I make do with paper towels. I agree that inserting is a chore, but at least it gets faster with time!

      I’ve read about the negative (and thereby virus-repellant?) charge of silk, chiffon and polyester and I’ve just sewn some two-layer tests with an outer shell made from poly / silk. I’m curious how they’ll hold up! I’m also working on instructions for a disposable no-sew mask, which will enable us to freely combine and tests fabrics and can also be worn inside a nice cloth mask.

      Did you see that the WHO now recommends three different layers: water-absorbent cotton on the inside, polypropylen as a mechanical middle filter and water-repellant polyester on the outside? I don’t have prolypropylen, but combining the features of different fabrics seems to make sense!

      If I’d sew three layers (which I haven’t done yet, but will try soon! :)), I’d add the middle layer to the thinner side and then treat them as one. It’s not a great difference with the hybrid pattern though, as the only place where you have to consider layers is when you turn the piece inside out!

      I think I’ll write a paragraph about all this when I next update the article, but this might take another couple of days.

      Take care and stay safe! ❤

  12. Thanks for the info about the new WHO recommendations which I am now trying to understand. It’s so frustrating. I’d love to just be told what to use. For example, here’s a comment I found about the new WHO info: “The filtration efficiencies they report on table 3 are also dramatically different than https://pubs.acs.org/… WHO has cotton values up to 26%, but the article I linked gives values up to 82%. That might be due to looking at different materials, it’s clear that t-shirt fabric is not optimal and the WHO does not give values for high thread count cotton fabrics. But if their assumptions about mask construction are based on those low values. The pressure drop reported in the two is also wildly divergent.” It’s from this: https://arstechnica.com/

    I have a social science background and an struggling! At least I have your pattern to use, whenever the perfect guidance for fabric comes along. Thanks!

    • I’m struggling with the new information too, and I’ve already seen extremely different % for the same, but mostly unspecified fabrics in studies before… I try to handle this with common sense: (a) a well-cleaned and gap-free mask is most certainly safer than no mask at all, (b) homemade masks are mainly for protecting others and not for protecting oneself, so the best thing to do is to make as many people as possible wear them (this is pretty much the reason why I’m publishing my patterns!), and (c) collect as much information as available at the time (because learning always goes on, for all of us, and I don’t think the one perfect guidance will ever exist!). F.e., water-absorbent cotton for the inside and water-repellant polyester or silk for the outside (or as a sewn-in middle layer) make sense to me. High thread counts make sense to me. Using polypropylene (or at least some other non-woven material) as a physical barrier for the filter layer makes sense to me. Overall, I guess the only thing we can do about all this is either buy certified masks (at least if we really need to be safe!), or just use whatever we’ve got (like, cotton + poly or silk) and hope for the best… :)

  13. Great advice! So glad I found you and your mask pattern. Thank you from Northern California.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation! I’m sorry I couldn’t give you that perfect material guidance we all long for, but at least you have wonderful things such as Filti available over there… Take good care of yourself and stay well!

  14. I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for publishing your pattern. I’m in the US and had been searching and searching for something that would work well for our family of full-time glasses-wearers. Your original pattern is lovely and well-constructed!

    I made some modifications to work with our personal preferences (even more room inside for air) and a lady who tried my modifications on the Craft Passion Facebook encouraged me to share them with you. This might help anyone who is very sensitive to feeling suffocated by a mask close to the nose/mouth and creates an even larger air pocket in front of the nose for breathing.

    1) I cut the outside fabric wider (25 cm) and longer (22 cm) and cut the lining fabric shorter: 25 cm wide by 20 cm long; I made the nose wire channel wider (1.5 cm) in order to accommodate a coffee bag tie (a double wire encased in plastic used to seal foil coffee bags), and also made the entrance for the nose wire channel farther from the edge of the fabric (4.5 cm) so that the entry point is wider for easier wire insertion; 2) I hem the bottom edge of both lining and outside fabric so that the raw edge is encased (2 folds, 0.5 cm hem); 3) I made the backwards nose pleat wider (3-4 cm) and for the remaining 2 forwards pleats, I fold them “by feel” without measuring, just making sure I get 2 little pleats in; 4) I leave the entire bottom width of the mask open for easier pocket insertion but I fold the extra 2 cm of outside fabric in as a backwards 1-ply pleat – it both secures the filter pocket and for large faces it can be flipped out for a bit of extra room to cup the chin; 5) I exaggerate the trapezoid so that the sides taper in more steeply towards the chin – when combined with the longer width at the nose (top) of the mask, this helped to give a larger air pocket to breathe, which also helps with glasses fogging – For the side casings, I line them up as you instruct, but I angle them inwards toward the chin so that the bottom (chin) of the mask measures 16-17 cm from seam to seam. I try to keep the finished side casings 8-9 cm in in length (sometimes I have to fiddle with and compress the pleats to get within this range but keeping the side casings from being too long helps with gaping at the sides), and finally 7) I flip the nose piece up and tack it in place.

    The longer nose pleat and tacking it in place pushes the fabric of the mask out and away from the nose, by using the bridge of the nose as a “keystone”, while still letting the sides of the mask sit firmly on the face. I make sure I follow the nose wire seam for tacking so I don’t block the channel and just sew 1.5cm on either side to secure in place. I’ve found that this is flexible enough in size to fit my petite face and DH’s large round head and the tacked nose piece makes this possible…on DH’s face the side casings simply lie farther away from his ears but still form a tight seal with good round space inside the mask to breathe. For my kids I made the fabric dimensions 2-3 cm smaller. I like to insert a stiffer filter material, as that helps the mask to hold its rounded shape. Bonus is that this also fit nicely over an N95 if you use the larger of the range of dimensions I mention. Of course the drawback is that the mask does not really store flat with these modifications.

    Your instructions are very clear after I studied them closely (kudos on an excellent English version!). I love that your design requires very simple cutting (straight lines!) but that you still get a contoured shape. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    • Thank you so much for your kind appreciation and for introducing your modifications to me, dear Jamie! How exciting :) – I’ve already made some altered patterns for seamstresses who wanted to (a) accomodate bigger noses and (b) longer beards and who prefer to (c) wear the mask pleatless (drawn down all the way, which makes the chin gap), and I’ve been thinking about dedicating a special post to those altered hybrids… The only interesting problem I haven’t fully solved yet is (d) a more spacious version, because I prefer when thing fit nice and tight (which is more or less the reason why this pattern exists! :)). I also figured out that the longer nose fold gives more space :), and I’m working on chubbying up my trapezoid sides, but I’d love to see pictures of your version! Could you either send me the link to your post (isn’t Craft Passion dedicated to another pattern?) or send me an email, please? :)

  15. Thought this would be of interest from Harvard Business Review:https://hbr.org/2020/06/we-need-better-masks

    Also, the Craft Passion Facebook group may have started out on the one pattern but now includes discussions of all types of masks and sewing issues. It’s a generally supportive forum for people just try to help in this horrible time.

    My 680 threadcount sheet just arrived for my inner layer. Chiffon is on order. Now to figure out the rest!

    • Thank you so much for that article, dear Jill! I adore that idea of stopping the pandemic with the right masks – and while I assume I have a design which, if worn correctly (= gapless), is as safe as a cloth mask could possibly be (I’d love to know how it scores in an official fit test!), I’m a still quite lost at the fabric front, because it doesn’t look like good filter material (such as Filti) is available in Germany (or even Europe?) – and the German mask making groups mostly fell asleep when reasonably priced masks started to appear in stores around April / May, so the whole filter discussion never really happened. We’re stuck in cotton age! I really like the Craft Passion group, and it’s great to see how much is still happening there! The only other group I know which is still so active and interesting is Open Source Medical Supplies, which made a huge impact on the evolution of making my instructions more approachable. Anyways, I hope your enjoy your fabrics and that your masks-in-the-making will keep you perfectly safe!

    • Oh, now I noticed your name, I just meant to send you an email! Thank you so much, dear Marsha, I appreciate your kind donation greatly – and you really brightened my day! ❤

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Iris! I have been making shaped masks for family members but have had to resize them and add all kinds of darts and pleats and tucks to make them contour to each individual face, which has been taking forever!!! Your pattern is so much faster to make, and much easier to achieve a perfect fit. Very well done! I really appreciated your pictorial instructions as well. With love from Canada…

    • Thank you so much for your kind appreciation, dear Lindsey! As you’ve probably read, I’ve been through the shaped masks phase as well – which didn’t last long (literally), because they kept dropping down my nose or pushing up my eyes and I didn’t find a way to stop them (except for avoiding all facial mocements, which isn’t a solution either!)! If any of these masks plus some simple tweak or two had at least halfways worked for me, my hybrid mask pattern probably wouldn’t exist :)

  17. Hi Iris,

    Thanks so much for sharing your innovative pattern! I have a few tips on clean finishing the mask that sewers might find helpful:

    1. To make it easier to insert the filter, (a) Stitch with right sides together the top and bottom openings, then turn mask so that the right sides face outward; (b) Press Pleat A backward as depicted in step 4 of the instructions, but press Pleats B and C of the front and back/lining separately (fold the back/lining pleats in the opposite direction of the front pleats) so that the front and back pleats lay one on top of the other; (c) Baste pleats in place and then attach the side strips.

    2. To make sure the edges of openings for the nose wire and the filter are flush with the edge of the stitched seams (a) Stitch the seam to the beginning of the opening, back tack, then increase the stitch length to 4–4.5 mm and stitch to the end of the opening. Set the stitch length back to 2–2.5 mm, back tack, then stitch the remainder of the seam; (b) Press seam open; (c) Topstitch either side of the opening 1/8″ in; (d) Carefully snip the first and last of the machine-basted stitches; (e) Turn mask right side out and press the seam; (e) When the mask is complete, carefully remove the machine-basted stitches with a seam ripper and tweezers, then insert the nose wire and filter.

    3. To enclose the side seam allowances of the mask, (a) Change the seam allowances on the top, bottom, and 1 side of the side strip pattern piece from 3/8″ to 1/2″ BEFORE cutting the strips out. Mark the cut strips’ seam allowances lightly with chalk or a fabric marking pen. (b) Press top and bottom seam allowances and the side with the 1/2″ seam allowance, towards the wrong side; (c) Angle and stitch the side of the strip with the original 3/8″ seam allowance to mask side WITHOUT folding in the top and bottom seam allowances. Trim excess; (d) Clean finish the unattached side of the side strip (i.e. the side with the 1/2″ seam allowance) by making single fold mitered corners (for instructions see, https://youtu.be/OmHo5uJN_1U); (d) Fold the top and bottom seam allowances of the side strip OVER the top and bottom of the mask’s angled side seam allowance (see step c) and hand tack them in place; (e) Optional: top stitch the top and bottom edges of the side strip 1/8″ in, then fold the clean-finished side to the back/lining of the mask, stitch in the ditch to secure.

    • @Mary McLave – I get frustrated trying to get the filter into the mask and getting it to fit evenly, etc. I’m very interested in trying what you suggest. I can’t quite grasp how your method helps; any more detail you can offer?

      Other than dealing with the filter insert, which is the case with all pleated masks in particular, this is my favorite pattern after making several different ones. Thank you, Iris!

    • Thank you for your appreciation for my pattern, dear Peggy!

      In the process of trying out different patterns, I became unexpectedly fond of pleats, because they allow so much better breathing and talking, while the mask stays well in place! To make a pattern that fits both the closed mouth and the mouth, I don‘t see any alternatives. The only problem with pleats is, as you say, the filter insertion :)

      I think what Mary means here is folding the pleats separately on the outside and on the inside layer of the mask, so the center is easier to reach into. I considered the option too when I first started, but then realized that (a) you‘ll need to cut your filter to a special shape before inserting it, (b) for a good fit, the pleats should move along with the jaw freely, which they don’t when you insert a flat filter, and (c) the pleats keep the filter in place.

      Did you try the safety pin method I‘m showing in the tutorial? It helps a lot, and getting used to the insertion helps too; I think it‘s a little easier every day. Other things your could possibly try are:

      (1) Use the chin pattern and leave the whole bottom open, so you can reach inside a little easier or even turn the mask inside out, while the upwards pleat should keep your filter from slipping out when it‘s inserted.

      (2) Just skip the insertion altogether, take your filter material/s, staple (or sew) a simple instant mask with the same shape and wear this underneath your pretty mask! You only need slightly more material and you can easily just make a bunch of them, so they‘re always ready to go!

      I hope this helps? <3

    • Thank you very much for your kind and detailed suggestions, dear Mary! When I first published my pattern, masks were desperately needed everywhere, so I’ve concentrated on making the process as easy and fast as I possibly could, but I‘ve been planning on adding a pictorial for some more elaborate detail solutions ever since.

      I‘ve just explained to Peggy that I actually considered (1) separating the pleats right from the start, and why I decided not to. I‘ve also tried (2) sewing and snipping the openings earlyon, but found that simply ironing was much faster and just as neat. For (3) cleaner sides, I have a process that seems quite similar to yours but can hardly be explained to novices without pictures, so I decided to go with the most simple and explainable way here :)

      Even though I decided against these detail solutions, they may be helpful to some sewers – and I really enjoy to see and read how different others work, and in how many ways my hybrid pattern can be sewn! <3

    • Thank you, Iris, for your kind and generous offer of your pattern and continued advice. I agree with you that pleats have many advantages. I am making some of your masks with one layer of Filti and one layer of cotton either against the face for comfort or on the outside to keep the filter cleaner and looked nicer. However, they lose a lot of effectiveness once washed so I need some with insertable filters as well.

      You offer good suggestions. I’ve started to use the chin pattern which helps the bottom. I have also used safety pins in the top corners, which helps, but it’s hard to keep the filter up at the top center and at the sides. (I made a mask of Filti with a layer of very lightweight cotton on the outside so I could actually see what was going on; it was helpful.) I have since used two-sided hemming tape to tack the filter in. That seems to work well for me but I can’t imagine most people having that tape or be willing to deal with it.

      I’ll have to take a look at the instant mask. That’s another great option.

      I can’t grasp your reasons for not doing the pleats separately (which I haven’t tried yet) but I admire your engineering skills so I’d like to understand. a) Why would you need to cut the filter to a special shape? b) I’m using a flat filter any way I do it; are you saying with the separate pleats they wouldn’t move as freely? c) Do you think with the pleats done together, they better keep the filter in place?

      Again, thank you so much.

    • You‘re welcome, dear Peggy! Thank you for appreciating :)

      Have you tried using tiny safety pins and keeping them in their corners while wearing the mask? If your material isn‘t to slippery and the lengths of mask and filter match well, the safety pins should make sure that the filter stays in place all the way, including the nose part, as there is a pull from the sides which keeps it straightened. Other options to fix these corners would be stapling or 2-3 rough hand stitches.

      I don‘t know for sure how Filti behaves as a fabric (unfortunately, it‘s unavailable in Europe!), but in studies I’ve seen that it looses the very most of its filter efficiency when washed, so I‘d rather use it as a filter than as a fabric.

      As a seamstress, I‘m usually either hurried or lazy, which means that all extra work has to be really worth the effort :). I don‘t see much use in separating the pleats, but you never know – different people like different things, and maybe this works as well for you as it did for Mary? If you‘re interested, I’d encourage to just try it!

      (a) When both layers are pleated at once (as instructed) and you want your filter to fill the whole of the inside (which is the safest way to wear a filter), it will be cut like a rectangle or, even better, a trapezoid. When both layer are pleated separately and you don‘t distribute your filter into the pleats, the middle length of the inside is much longer than the side lengths. F.e., if you use size M, your filter will need a length of about 17.5 cm in the middle and 8.5 cm on the sides, and some sort of curve connecting those measurements. The pleats are supposed to support movement (closed mouth and open mouth), but a filter without pleats can‘t do that.

      (b) I’m not sure what you mean with a flat filter… if your filter is pre-cut and you can‘t distribute it into the pleats anyway, I guess separating the pleats may be worth trying, even though the mask fits much better when the pleats can move freely!

      (c) If you have a filter fabric that‘s not to slippery and can be cut to measure (like Filti), you can also try to pre-pleat it slightly before insertion, which might make insertion a little easier. If distributed well, all the way into the corners and pleats to make it a neat third layer, the layers indeed support each other and hold up nicely.

      Please let me know how this works for you! Filter insertion is a strange form of art :)

    • It’s me again with some private comment. I reread your latest comments to me and now I understand what you meant and it make perfect sense. Sometimes, that’s what it takes. Thank you for patience in explaining.

      From the beginning, I wondered if it didn’t make sense to pre-pleat the insertable filter. I may try that sometime.

      The Filti material is pretty great in terms of efficiency with results of 85% in filtration per tests done by TSI, but yes, the tests also show it loses about 40% of that with washing. ( https://www.maskfaq.com/test-results. ) For masks I may with one layer of Filti and one layer of cotton, I tell recipients that it might be OK to wash once and still be better than many masks, but it’s a throwaway after that. It’s similar to an N95 in that respect; it cannot be washed. I have enough Filti, and don’t wear masks that often or for long, so I’m OK with that.

      Kind regards, and you take care, Peggy

    • Does „private“ mean I‘m not supposed to publish your comment, dear Peggy? I think it could actually be helpful for others reading this thread! If you‘d like to write it again for public, I‘ll copypaste my comment to a new reply (without this paragraph), so it’s the right order, okay?

      I haven’t been really happy with filter insertion either, so I think it‘s an interesting question, and those often lead me to think in different directions and come up with better detail solutions :). Unfortunately, we don’t have Filti in Germany, but I have some NWPP (bag) material I’d like to use as a filter but dislike to sew in as it melts when ironed (even lukewarm and covered – and I don’t really want to skip the hot ironing, as it helps fight germs!), so using the NWPP as an insert might work better… Right now, I wonder if a detailed pattern (including pleats) could help. I‘ll probably try this in the upcoming days and if the results are worth the effort of cutting and pleating a filter to shape, I‘ll add a filter pattern to the PDF!

      All my best wishes, take care and stay safe! <3

  18. Iris: Your pattern is the best one for face masks! Today, I came up with a way to insert the ear loops and the cord lock that is so much faster and easier than using a safety pin. I explain the technique at the bottom of this post: http://bennettplanet.com/posts/400

    • Thank you, Steven, for your kind appreciation of my pattern, and for your idea! I’ve just been thinking about bending a long piece of wire for insertion, but as my ear straps are usually rather thick in comparison, I’m afraid I’ll have to continue using a method that doesn’t double them. But I’m sure others that use thinner elastics will be very happy with the method too! Plus, your masks look really great and I adore that fabric! Happy birthday to your sister :)

    • Steven – I saw your post about inserting cord into the teeny cord locks. I was wondering why you inserted them through the small hole rather than the larger hole first (I always insert through the larger hole, I think that’s the way some instructions showed). Also, a tip: knot your doubled thread, insert your needle through the cords near their tips and pull the needle through the space between the doubled thread so that it closes around the ends of both cords. Then pull through the cord lock (I use upholstery thread or other sturdier thread that I can grab and yank without much fear of it breaking). Loosen the thread, cut the knot off and remove the thread, and you’re done. :-)

    • I haven’t posted this yet (there’s a long lost of revisions piling up right now…), but I started using very thin copper wire (about 24 cm long, folded double to 12 cm) for the insertion of ties to the side channels and into pony beads (those are awesome with 2.5 cm jersey or nylon ties!), and it works just like a charm! It’s much faster and more direct than safety pins or needled threads, and also makes it much easier to work around dead ends in the side channels. I haven‘t tried cord locks yet, but I imagine the method is great with those too! <3

  19. Iris, your pattern is wonderful…thank you so much! I can finally wear a mask and still breathe, talk, and see out of my glasses. I will be making your design for all my family and friends.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, dear Ruth, and also for your kind and generous donation! It always makes me so happy to hear that my pattern works reall well for others who had the same problems as me with other designs! <3

  20. I love your design Iris,. I tried other designs before discovering yours, yours is just the best fit, & in my experience it fits all face shapes well. I’ve made over 100 of your masks for family & friends, & then their families & friends. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, Mags! I‘m still astonished too how my little hack seems to work really well for very different face shapes; I think this has to do with the pulling which happens in different places, and as there are different kinds of pulling (unlike patterns where top and bottom are the same), they play so well together that they seem to be able to adapt! <3

  21. Just want to thank you again for this fantastic mask design. I realized that the first ones I made were with the EU pattern.. Just made a couple of new ones. Love them!!

    • That‘s awesome, thank you very much for your kind appreciation! As far as I can tell by requests, you‘re lucky the EU file worked for printing out :)

  22. Iris, you are a genius! I am so thrilled to have found your incredible mask! I must have purchased 20 masks that were supposed to not fog up my glasses when I exhale, but yours are truly the only ones that have worked for me! I’m so impressed, I will be ordering more! All my old, “fogging” masks will be washed and donated to folks who still need one, but perhaps don’t have to worry about the fogging issue. So you have helped a LOT of people by creating the world’s best mask!
    God bless you!

    • Thank you so much, dear Elizabeth! I‘m happy to hear that my little hack works so well for you too, especially after you’ve searched for so long, and I love the idea of washing and donating the masks you don’t use! Someone without glasses might actually be very happy with them. All my best wishes for you, take care and stay safe! <3

  23. I just can not understand the nose part for some reason but Love how it fits. Maybe later I will have time to think it thru. Thanks for your creative hard work.

    • Thank you very much for your kind appreciation, Dianne! If you already made the mask and it fits right, it looks like you did understand that the nose part is just a very simple reverse pleat (which fits in just the right places with the help of some pulling via side channels and trapezoid form), didn’t you? :)

  24. I came across your website and mask pattern today and promptly printed the instructions and got sewing! You instructions were easy to follow and the mask is comfortable to wear. I had been internet searching for the best mask pattern and from your test/comparison of different mask styles it looks like I wasn’t the only one! I also appreciate how the comparison of styles led to your great design. I will be making many more of these now for family and friends! Nerise – Sydney, Australia

    • Thank you so much for your appreciation, Nerise! When I first started, I just meant to sew a couple of masks, tried all the patterns I could find (about 20-30 back then, plus a whole box of minor tweaks), only to find out that none of them worked for me… On the bright side, I‘ve experienced all the problems one could possibly have with a mask :), could clearly tell which details worked and which didn’t, rediscovered my old love for patternmaking – and at some point, things just fell into place. I‘m glad you enjoy my little hack too, and I wish you happy sewing! <3

  25. I love the simplicity of the design, straight cuts etc, but I just made one for my 8yr old at the 18cm size and its far too small. It fits fine over the nose and mouth but its not wide enough and I’d have to use a lot of elastic. So I measured his face from cheek to cheek and need to make them so the finished size is 23cm wide.

    • I‘m sorry the measurements didn’t work out for your son, Evie! I‘ve seen the sizes on hundreds (maybe thousands) of people now… 22-24 cm width fits most men, 20 cm fits most women, 18 cm fits most school kids and 16 cm fits most younger children well. On all the 8 year olds I‘ve seen, the 18 cm were a bit on the large side, so I wondered:

      (1) Are you sure your ruler is correct? Could you possibly have used the cm/inch ruler from the PDF but printed it at 90%, or something like that? :)
      (2) Compared to his classmates, does your son possibly have a rather big head?
      (3) There might have been a misunderstanding on how the mask is supposed to fit. It shouldn‘t reach all the way to the ears, because in order to avoid gaps, the drawstring tunnels need some space, to round smoothly. For example, when I make masks for myself and some female friends, I am using the M pattern with 20 cm width, then cut around 20 cm of elastics per ear, which I insert and knot to 16-18 cm. For most people, the ratio here seems to be around 1 (mask width) : 0.6 – 1.2 (elastics length).

      But after all, the only thing that counts is that you have a comfortable, gapless mask, no matter if it‘s exactly as described! :)

      I hope this helps? If not, please feel free to send me some pictures <3

  26. Thank you for sharing this well put together tutorial
    I wear glasses and I been trying different patterns I can’t wait to try it.
    I learn a lot from your tutorial it is full of great information I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to put it together and share it with everyone.

    Thank you very much

  27. I’m an Early Childhood Education teacher who has been looking for a mask design to fit my needs. I wanted a mask that fits snug enough and doesn’t move around on my face, that doesn’t fog up my glasses, and looks stylish on my face (some look boxy and odd). Iris, I found all this and more form your design. I am happily sewing new masks for myself and fellow teachers at my school. Thank you again for your simplisticly detailed design and instructions. You truly thought of everything. I am a new found fan of you & your designs! Sincerely, Stacey McG

    • Thank you very much for your kind appreciation, Stacey! I‘ve been teaching as well for a while (fashion illustration at university) and many of my friends are teachers too, so I‘m well aware of the challenges of teaching with a mask – and particularly happy that my little hack seems to work so well there. After testing 20-30 different patterns (and a whole box of minor tweaks…) and getting none of them to fit right on me, I was quite determined to find a solution where every little detail has a reason and works together as a whole! :) I wish you happy sewing, and all the best for you, your collegues and your students <3

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