For my own production, I optimized the pattern and manufacture of the cloth mask, to make it fit gapless and fog-free around nose, cheeks and chin and reliably stay in place, so it doesn’t slide up the eyes or down the nose. Individual parts such as wire, filter and ties are very easy to replace, plus the mask is quick and simple to sew, wash and iron.
Table of Contents
(1) Introduction: Test Series of Mask Shapes, Features of the Hybrid Cloth Mask and Safer Handling of Cloth Masks
(2) Instructions: Sewing Instructions for the Hybrid Cloth Mask and Adaptations for different Sizes and Shapes
(3) Frequent Questions about Fit (Glasses), Reviews, Ties, Materials, Workmanship, Tests, Tutorial and Mask for Sale
(4) Download of Instructions and Pattern as Printable PDF, Conditions of Use, Rights and Sharing and Thanksgiving
Test Series of Different Mask Shapes
First, I just meant to sew a couple of cloth masks for myself, family and friends, friends of the family and family of friends. To find a suitable shape, I tested all the sewing patterns known at the time, but didn’t like their fit – and then the pattern nerd took over (long ago, I studied fashion design, with focus on historical sports apparel and seemingly impossible patterns… :)). Finally, I combined a hybrid pattern from known features, plus a couple of my own hacks!
Features of my Optimized Hybrid Cloth Mask
My hybrid cloth mask has a reverse pleat for the nose that adapts gaplessly to the face, even without wire. It does not push up to the eyes or down the nose, and it reliably stays in place when you speak, laugh or yawn. The top seam can hold a nose wire, to improve the fit even further and protect glasses from fogging. The wire can be removed through an invisible opening in the seam and runs across the entire width of the mask, so you can hardly injure yourself.
I opted for pleats that give more air to breathe, move along with facial expressions and gently enclose the chin. In addition, straight pleats have the advantage of a flat lay-down shape, which is easier to sew and to iron. The trapezoid pattern corresponds with the anatomy of the face, it fits much more snug and less bulgy on the chin than a rectangle.
The side of the mask has a drawstring channel, which can be slightly creased, so the side does not gape at all and a tight fit can be achieved. Thanks to the casing, elastic ear loops or a head tie 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.
Handling Handmade Cloth Masks
With careful handling, a self-sewn cloth mask can be rather effective for protecting others from its wearer, but the protection for the wearer is extremely limited. Please keep that in mind! If you use this mask, you do so at your own risk, and you should of course still follow the usual safety rules (distance, ventilation, hand hygiene, etc.).
Wash your hands well before putting on the mask and insert a wire to the upper seam. If needed, add a non-woven disposable filter (f.e. NWPP) through the lower opening, and pluck it into the corners. Fold up the reverse pleat, place it on your nose and pull the ties around your ears. Now straighten the reverse pleat on your nose, adjust the nose wire 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 ties 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 can't breathe well!
To take off the mask, grasp the ties 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.
My hybrid cloth mask can be sewn easily and quickly (10-20 min.). To make this mask yourself, you need at least two fabrics (please test in advance whether you can breathe well!) which are washable at 60° C, wire and elastic ties or ribbon, a sewing machine or needle and thread, scissors, pins, chalk or pencils for marking, plus (ideally) a flatiron.
The sewing pattern consists of two parts – the actual pattern you use for cutting the fabric, marking and pleating, and a template for trimming the sides after pleating. The height is determined by the pattern, the width by the template.
Instructions for Sewing the Hybrid Cloth Mask
First of all, please print (or draw) pattern and template! Both are available as a PDF document at the end of this post.
(1) Cut 20 x 20 cm / 8" x 8" of fabrics, plus 2 strips of 5 x 10 cm / 2" x 4". Also cut 16 - 18 cm / 6" - 7" of nose wire and 60 - 80 cm / 24" - 32" elastics or 90 - 120 cm / 36" - 48" textile ribbon or jersey strips for ear loops or head ties.
Variants: To use more than 2 layers, stack fabric in even groups, then treat them as one layer. Added inside layers may make a softer cushion to the nose piece! For thicker combos, cut your fabric strips wider (6 - 7 cm / 2.4" - 2.8").
(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.
Variants: For a neater finish, you can serger and / or stitch down the bottom edges! In order to simplify the filter insert, the bottom edge may be cut slightly longer, stitched down on both layers and left open over the entire width.
(3) Turn your piece inside out, to the right side. Iron the allowance and topstitch a wire tunnel 0,5 cm / 0,2" – 1 cm / 0,4" from the top edge. Mark and fold the pleats (A, B, C) from the outside, according to pattern and illustrations.
There are different ways of folding the pleats: (a) Mark with the pattern, (b) Layer with the pre-folded pattern and use it as a template or (c) First fold and iron the reverse pleat, then fold the rest of the piece in half, quarters, eighths.
(4) Iron the pleats and pin them down. Place the fabric strips right side down on the edges. Angle them, fold in top and bottom to align, then stitch them app. 1 cm / 0,4" from the strips' cutting edge. Cut off excess fabric at the edge.
Variants: For a neater finish, you can fold the seam allowances on the top and bottom of the strip around the mask, and stitch these seam allowances down on the fabric strip, right after sewing that strip on and turning it over.
(5) Fold fabric strips outwards and iron them down. Then fold them in, and around the edge. Pin strips down, overlapping the seam on the back. Stitch from the front, in the ditch. Bend the wire ends and insert into the tunnel.
Variants: If the original size of the pattern pieces seems fiddly, you can add a up to 1 cm / 0.4" to each side, but make sure to still sew in the right places! If you work with stiff fabrics / layers, wider side channels can help the creasing.
(6) Use a bodkin, a bended wire or a safety pin to pull your ties – either elastics for two ear loops or ribbon for a head tie – into the side channels. Adjust ties individually, either knot or sew them and pull seams into the casing. – Done!
Detailed Step by Step Picture Instructions in a Separate Tutorial
Especially for beginners (and anyone else who easily gets lost in patterns!), I've made a very detailed step by step picture tutorial for this mask, to go along with – and complement – the illustrated short instructions. If you'd like to use the photo tutorial, please download and print short instructions and pattern (PDF at the end of this post) first! ➔
Adaptations 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 quite well on most gentlemen and teenagers. Before you start sewing modified sizes and shapes, I recommend to make – and fully understand – the original hybrid mask first, because otherwise it might become overly 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".
With a beard, masks never fit as gapless as on a smooth face. If you are willing to take the risk, I'd recommend keeping the width, adding two segments of length at the bottom and folding a third pleat (pattern see Hybrid Beard Mask)!
For Children's Masks (size S, age 8-12), I cut 1 cm / 0.4" less on each side (fabric 18 x 18 cm / 7.2" x 7.2", strips 5 x 9 cm / 2" x 3.6") and redistribute pleat height (1,8 cm / 0.7"). For a smaller child size (XS, 4-8), I cut 2 cm / 0.8" less on each side (fabric 16 x 16 cm / 6.4" x 6.4", strips 5 x 8 cm / 2" x 3.2", pleats 1.6 cm / 0.6"), and for even smaller children (XXS, 2-4), I cut 3 cm / 1.2" less on each side (fabric 14 x 14 cm / 5.6" x 5.6", strips 5 x 7 cm / 2" x 2.8", pleats 1,4 cm / 0.5").
Most children have triangular faces, so the fit can be improved by slanting the sides further (Hybrid Petite Template). A longer reverse pleat (Hybrid Nose Pattern) may help with big or long noses as well as very small, soft or flat noses. ➔
|XXS||70%||14 x 14 cm / 5.6" x 5.6"||5 x 7 cm / 2" x 2.8"||1,4 cm / 0.5"||5,6 x 14 cm / 2.0" x 5"|
|XS||80%||16 x 16 cm / 6.4" x 6.4"||5 x 8 cm / 2" x 3.2"||1,6 cm / 0.6"||6,4 x 16 cm / 2.4" x 6"|
|S||90%||18 x 18 cm / 7.2" x 7.2"||5 x 9 cm / 2" x 3.6"||1,8 cm / 0.7"||7,2 x 18 cm / 2.8" x 7"|
|M||100%||20 x 20 cm / 8.0" x 8.0"||5 x 10 cm / 2" x 4.0"||2,0 cm / 0,8"||8,0 x 20 cm / 3.2" x 8"|
|L||110%||22 x 22 cm / 8.8" x 8.8"||5 x 11 cm / 2" x 4.4"||2,2 cm / 0.9"||8,8 x 22 cm / 3.6" x 9"|
|XL||120%||24 x 24 cm / 9.6" x 9.6"||5 x 12 cm / 2" x 4.8"||2,4 cm / 1.0"||9,6 x 24 cm / 4.0" x 10"|
|XXL||130%||26 x 26 cm / 10.4" x 10.4"||5 x 13 cm / 2" x 5.2"||2,6 cm / 1.1"||10,4 x 26 cm / 4.4" x 11"|
If your printer allows, you can simply adjust the size there: Size XS is 80%, S is 90%, M is 100%, L is 110% and XL is 120% (and might take two pages!). I highly recommend to write size and percentage on your printout right away :)
If you want, you can also measure, from the top of the ear root to the middle of the nose tip. We call this number X. [X – (X : 3,5)] x 2 = mask width. For example, if you measure 14 cm, you calculate [14 – (14 : 3.5)] x 2 = 20 and should use size M (20 x 20 cm). Due to the pleats, the length is variable and only needs to be adjusted for very long faces. There, you measure from the top of the root of your nose to the crease of your chin and add 1-2 cm, to have air to breathe!
In case of doubt, smaller sizes often offer more space, as they rather protrude to the front than stay flat on the face.
As a cover for one-size FFP2 / KN95 masks, height L and width M usually fit gapless and stay in place. For height L, sew with the pattern printed at 110% (or use the special cover mask pattern I've added to the appendix of my most recent PDF versions!), and after pleating, apply a template printed out at 100% for width M. – If you'd like to know more, I've written separate posts about the science behind masks and how to combine filter and fit with double masking :)
Further Customizations of the Hybrid Mask
Depending on face shapes, length and width of the mask as well as the angle of the sides can be adjusted individually. For further customizations to face shapes, special needs and preferences (e.g. beards, noses or space), please visit my separate post about Customized Hybrid Face Masks, which includes all these patterns as a printable PDF! ➔
After playing through all the customizations of my Hybrid Pleated Mask, I reinvented the 3D / Boxy mask, for those who need even more space. Just like the Hybrid Pleated Mask, my Hybrid Boxy Mask is optimized to seal gaplessly even without nosepiece, and to reliably stay in place. Instructions and patterns can be found in a separate post! ➔
Frequently Asked Questions (+ some little Hacks)
You'll find everything you really need to sew the hybrid mask above and in the PDF, so it is not necessary to read all the questions and answers beforehand. If you want, you can scroll down now, to download the pattern at the bottom of the post! If you run into problems, you can always come back, and possibly you will find your solution here :)
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 fogging up and / or colliding with mask edges were one of the reasons I finally decided to create a hybrid mask. I was actually surprised when I realised how well the nose pleat works – and that it doesn't even need a wire to fit gapless and keep my glasses clear!
Is the pattern suitable for people with special needs?
I guess this depends on their needs! My pattern is well loved by many who have problems with others masks, just like I had myself. Teachers and speakers appreciate it for the talking space it offers (some even call it "teachers mask"), and I've read a couple of times that people wear masks made with my hybrid pattern as a sports or workout mask!
I've also heard surprisingly often that the hybrid mask is the only mask people with HSP / hypersensitivity, sensory issues or on the autism spectrum can bear to wear! Some people with asthma or claustrophobia are also extremely enthusiastic about it, yet others need even more space. To help them (and some others with unique shapes, needs or preferences), I have created several Customized Hybrid Masks and published them in a separate post :)
What do others say about the Hybrid mask?
»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. (...) I’ve found this the best fitting mask. It’s genius!« – CraftFix [IE], May 19th, 2020
»Iris Luckhaus (...) changed the course of emergency mask production throughout the rest of the world.« – »Sewing Change: The Iris Luckhaus Story« (incl. interview) by John Kalil for Open Source Medical Supplies [US], July 13th, 2020
»I tried a few mask patterns before finding my current favourite: the @irisluckhaus hybrid #luckhausmask (...) – a pleated surgeon-style mask with a special inward pleat at the top for perfect positioning over the nose, keeping your eyes clear for seeing.« – Mending icon Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald [AU] on Instagram and in The Australian, July 20th, 2020
»This mask (...) sits up nice and high (...), so that her glasses hold it flat to her face and there’s no warm breath escaping out the top to fog them up. No nose wire. The pattern is by Iris Luckhaus. (...) Iris writes very detailed posts about masks; she includes information on different mask types, ways to tie a mask, why her mask works well, and the instructions and patterns are excellent.« – »Adventures in Mask Making« by Lara Thornberry [AU], July 26th, 2020
»What I love about this mask is that it has an inverted nose pleat with nose bridge wire that helps it fit great and stay put!« – »Masking up the N Club« by Knitwear designer Laura Nelkin at Nelkins Designs Blog [US], Sep 29th, 2020
Does this Pattern have ear Loops or a head tie?
You have all options – and thanks to drawstring channels, you can even switch later! First is two elastic ear loops (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 often donate my masks in double packs, one with ear loops and the other with head ties, and I like to make ties adjustable with sliding knots, pony beads 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 loops back and fasten them behind the 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 16 different mask tying techniques. ➔
Depending on tying techniques, masks can fit differently. Most masks fit well when the ties are pulled straight back, above and below the ear, f.e. with a simple ear loop or head tie – and even better when the lower tie is pulled up, f.e. by crossing ties. If both ties are worn under the ear, the center of gravity shifts and the pattern should be adjusted.
What are the best materials for Ties and wires?
For my own production, I often 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! :)
For ear loops, I've so far used elastic ties, bra straps and jersey or nylon strips (which roll up on their own, even better with spandex!) and for the head tie, I've used textile ribbon or straight binding. Right now, I prefer soft flat 0,5 cm / 0.2" elastics and tshirt yarn (cut 2,5 cm / 1" wide), and I add slip knots (see above) or pony beads for adjustability.
I'm using 0,5 cm / 0.2" width flat aluminum nose pieces with a length of at least 15-16 cm / 6"-6.5" (see above). If those are out, coffee ties should be a good option too. Floral or jewelry wire also bends well, stays in shape and survives accidental cooking :). If you use broader wire, make sure to adapt your nose piece tunnel seam to a suitable width!
What are the safest materials for fabrics and filters?
First of all, please keep in mind that cloth masks are not designed to protect the wearer, but to protect others. If you need reliable protection for yourself, please wear a certified mask – or at least use certified filter materials!
Cloth masks are not all the same though, and quality masks should (a) be gapless (gaps can reduce efficency by up to 60%!), and (b) be made of fabrics with a high filter efficiency. The pattern of my hybrid mask passed an OSHA fit test lately! However, this doesn't mean that it's safe in general, but only that the pattern, if it is worn correctly, fits gapless.
I always use different fabrics for inside and outside, so you can't confuse them. My first masks were made from two layers of cotton, because it is cookable, breathable and available. In general, it's recommended to use very high thread counts (400-600) and no knit, jersey or stretch, as they're not very dense and may even split droplets into aerosols.
Currently, I comply with the guidelines from WHO, CDC and others, who recommend material combinations such as (a) polyester, polycotton or silk as a moisture-repellent outer layer, (b) one or more layer of polypropylene, pellon, chiffon or silk as mechanical filter in the middle and (c) cotton as a moisture-absorbing inner layer. The filter efficiency of specific materials can be looked up in studies, f.e. by MakerMask, Smart Air Filters, Hao et al or Mask FAQ.
FMVIZ even offers an online tool that can calculate the filter eficiency of your chosen materials (3 layers)! Please beware that material efficiency tests are usually only valid for absolutely gapless fitting masks.
Through the filter opening, you can insert a disposable filter like Filti, Halyard, non-woven polypropylene (NWPP) or blue shop towels – or you can quickly staple those materials into an Instant Hybrid Mask and wear it underneath. In high risk situations, you can also wear the hybrid mask over a certified mask, as a sealing cover for a gapless fit!
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.
The distribution of filter materials in all corners and pleats is simplified by Filter Frames.
Another solution are Filter Frames, i.e. the mask is cut larger and folded inwards at top, bottom and sides so that the precut filter material can be placed on the inside of the mask (instead of in between!). This makes is easier to cover the entire surface, and faster to distribute the filter material into all the corners and pleats! The inner frame of the mask holds the filter securely in place, all the way around. You can find instructions and pattern in a separate post! ➔
The stapleable Instant Hybrid Mask can be made from filter materials and used as an undermask.
If you think that's too much effort, you can sew in washable filters (f.e. layer/s of non-woven polypropylen, silk or chiffon), or staple an Instant Hybrid Mask (see picture above) and wear it underneath your Hybrid Cloth Mask. ➔
Can I sew the Hybrid Mask from Non-Woven Polypropylene?
Of course you can sew this mask from non-woven polypropylene! Please note that although spunbond is washable in the laundry, it should better not go in the dryer and even at very low temperatures, ironing can melt the material.
WHO and CDC recommend NWPP as a middle and / or outer layer for homemade masks. The material is not only highly water repellant, efficiently filtering and very breathable, but it also gives masks a nice structure and stand.
When sewing the Hybrid Mask from NWPP, you can replace the ironing with simple finger pressing or use a quilting clapper (replacable by any round-edged piece of natural wood; I use an old wooden spoon! :)) to neatly streak out seams and pleats to the sides, so they lay flatter. If you don't need the filter opening, you can close the bottom seam and topstitch the edge from the right side (like the top seam), to help the layers stay in place and make pleating easier.
Original Hybrid Mask made from non-woven polypropylen with cotton for the side channels
I'd also recommend to make the side channels not from polypropylene, but from woven fabric. Woven fabric is less fiddly to work with, and for the side channels, it scrunches much easier. This helps to give the mask a gapless fit!
Can I wear this mask on top of FFP2 / KN95 / N95 or surgical Masks?
We have potential risk patients in the family, so for the past couple of months, we've been wearing my hybrid masks as covers for our FFP2 / KN95 masks (see photo below) in higher risk situations. The one-size FFP2 / KN95 masks don't fit well on any of us, so double masking with the hybrid as a cover does not only seal dangerous gaps and reliably hold the masks in place, but also ensures that the FFP2 / KN95 mask is better protected and thereby, stays clean longer.
If you completely open the pleats of the Hybrid Mask, fold it right in the middle and lay it over an FFP2 / KN95 type of mask, you can see that they match each other surprisingly perfect – and it wasn't even planned that way! :)
As a cover for the standard one-size FFP2 / KN95 masks, height L and width M fit gapless and slip-free on most – f.e., in my family, the L/M cover masks fit best for the whole range from cloth mask size S to cloth mask size L. For height L, you sew with a pattern printed out to 110% (or simply use the special cover mask pattern I've added to the appendix of my most recent PDF versions!) – and after pleating, you apply the side angle template in width M, printed out to 100%.
For beards or other special features, custom Hybrid Mask patterns can also be worn as a top mask!
On top of surgical masks, the hybrid can be worn in individually fitted sizes with all the customizations desired. Whenf the surgical mask is knotted tightly at the sides, it fits better in general – and it does not peek out on the sides.
For single and double ply masks, sewing an 8" x 1" strip of batting such as Pellon into the inside of the very top part, right between top seam and nose wire seam, can help the nose piece to fit a bit softer and thereby, seal even better.
The Hybrid Cloth Mask can be used as a gaplessly sealing cover on top of FFP2 / KN95 or surgical masks.
You can find out more about the function of all types of masks through (a) filter efficiency, (b) fit and (c) breathability, the problem of gaps and how to solve it, in a separate post about Mask Science. Furthermore, I've written another separate post about our Double Masking which aims to make the practice simpler, safer and more comfortable. ➔
Can I test Masks, Materials and Gapless Fit at Home?
In advance, always make sure to test breathability of materials and masks! If you are unsure, please ask your doctor.
Here’s how you can simply test and compare at home how effectively your material is filtering:
★ Light Test: If you hold your fabrics or your masks up to the light, you can see how densely woven the fabric is.
★ Spray Test: If you spray water through a mask – or layers of fabric – to a mirror, you can well see the permeability.
★ We don't recommend the popular Candle Test, as this only tests breathability of a mask, not the filter efficiency.
This is how you can simply test at home whether – and where exactly – your mask has gaps:
★ Glasses Test: If your glasses fog up with a mask, it tells you that the top of the mask is not completely gapless.
★ Mint Test: If you eat a peppermint (e.g. Tictac) and it stings your eyes, the top of the mask does not fit snug.
★ Puff Test: When you breathe hard, the mask should bulge. All draft or movement along the edges indicate gaps!
★ Hand Test: To feel a draft or movement, place your hands around the edge of the mask while exhaling vigorously.
★ Gill Test: Have someone look at the sides of the mask from behind while you exhale vigorously. Gills show gaps.
★ Smoke Test: If you inhale smoke and exhale it inside the mask, you can clearly see the path of the air flow.
In order to find out whether your mask reliably stays in place, it’s better to not only put it on briefly in advance, but rather try to speak, laugh and yawn in it – and after that, you can run the tests mentioned above once more!
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 :)
If your print size is smaller than the pattern, print one side only, or in portions. The text should help with attaching!
Can I make this mask without a sewing machine, or 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 an Instant Hybrid Mask with the same amazing pattern, which can easily be stapled in less than a minute, from filter materials or fabrics of your choice!
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 channels!) for the visible part of the reverse pleat, 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 reverse pleat backwards and then work my way down, from the front side, mark by mark and pleat by pleat – and once you sew the 3rd or 4th mask, the procedure becomes really fast (seriously!)! :)
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 this process on your paper pattern and fold in those allowances, before using it for pleating!
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 fit like yours in the pictures?
First, you should check whether you have put on the mask correctly and if you have placed the reverse pleat on the bridge of your nose, folded up. Then, you might want to look whether the ties are set to correct length and the drawstring is pushed together, so the sides round nicely to the front. For a good fit, it also helps to iron the pleats!
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 prefer 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!
Another relevant point to the fit is the way you tie your mask. The mask usually fits well when the straps are pulled straight back, above and below the ear, e.g. with simple ear loops or a head tie – and even better if the bottom tie is pulled up, e.g. by crossing the straps (see infographic on Mask Tying Techniques). If the bottom tie fits very low or if both ties are worn under the ear, the center of gravity of the mask shifts and you might want to try adjusting it!
If the mask still doesn't fit, maybe some little error has crept in ... Is your reverse pleat 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!
What does the Hybrid Cloth Mask look like on real people?
I prefer to hide behind the camera :), but in the post introducing my amazing sewing partners, you can see some great photos of the hybrid mask on very different people. In addition, my hybrid mask has its own hashtag – #luckhausmask – on social media, and on Instagram, for example, many fabulous makers are now showing their beautiful masks!
With the hashtag #luckhausmask on Instagram, you will find numerous impressively great Hybrid Cloth Masks sewn according to these instructions! Some also post theirs with the hashtags #hybridmask (hijacked) or #irisluckhaus.
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 :)
With donations, I recommend either folding them in the middle, so that the reverse pleat is visibly looking out on top of the mask, and / or explaining – verbally or with a little note inside the mask, under the pleat – that the reverse pleat is supposed to be folded up and worn on the nose. With children, you can playfully practice to "flip up the flap"!
My sewing partner Reusable Mask Co Australia has made a video that helps really well explaining the reverse pleat.
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! ➔
Can I possibly purchase the Hybrid Cloth mask from you?
For the moment, I sew for friends and family only, because I consider it 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 no time to do much more than answering all questions and continously updating German and English post and instructions.
In the meantime, I've been lucky to find some fabulous sewing partners from all over the world, who sew on a highly professional level, offer beautiful fabrics and very different styles! In August 2021, the following are available:
★ United States: Christina King from Ithaca, New York, is selling as TinaBK on Etsy and also present on Instagram ➔
★ United States: Debbie Baskerville from Ithaca, New York, sells as Hidden Bliss Studio on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram➔
★ United States: Kiri Schultz from Seattle, Washington, is selling as NagaKiriStudio on Etsy and also on Instagram ➔
★ United States: Emily Anne Parrish from New York, New York, sells as Mask Produced on Etsy and on Instagram ➔
★ Great Britain: Orsolya Barcza from Dunstable, UK, is selling as OLLE Sewing on Etsy, Facebook and Instagram ➔
★ Germany: Wollsuse from Fröndenberg / Ruhr, NRW, is selling in her textile studio and on her Website (via mail) ➔
★ Switzerland: Andrea Haydon from Thalwil, Canton Zurich, sells in her own online shop called Schnurpfitante ➔
★ Australia: Sarah Chan from the Gold Coast, Queensland, on Reusable Masks Co, Etsy, Facebook and Instagram ➔
★ Australia: SAMOOK at Slow Handmade Collective, Ulladulla, New South Wales, also on Facebook and Instagram ➔
In a separate post, I am introducing my sewing partners and their unique approach to mask making in detail! ➔
To others who would also like to use any part of my work – the mask design, the pattern and / or the instructions – commercially, I'd be happy to grant the necessary usage rights for a fair fee, and I'm always thrilled to have the option to forward all enquiries from those who would like to buy my mask to someone who actually has the 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, for gifts or donations, and this will definitely remain so.
Is there an overview of all your Mask Patterns and Projects?
Yes, there is! When the multitude of posts started to get confusing, I created a Mask Hub Page, where I enter all the posts that are useful for mask making – and if you want to bookmark, I'd recommend to just bookmark this page :)
I update those questions and hacks annotations continously (last: Jan 13th, 2022)! If you have questions yourself, please feel free comment below (or via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) – or simply send me an email!
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 [V8 | Jan 12th 2022, 7 PM] on 8 pages, in EU Din A4 or US letter format. 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, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube. If you'd like to share my pattern with your friends, feel free to use my posts!
I'm spending a lot of unpaid time on elaborating and explaining those instructions, helping the helpers to help. If you'd like to encourage this, I'd highly appreciate if you could buy me a little time via Paypal (email@example.com)!
If you'd like to use my instructions commercially (i.e. with the intention of making a profit), f.e. by selling masks sewn according to my pattern, please contact me and let me know more about your business, your location and your ideas!
Great thanks to Matthias, Angelika, Reinhard, Bruni, Margot, Rose, Tanni, Eli, Ilia, Chrissi, Henning and Ekke for amazing support from near and far, practical ideas, face measurements, advance reading, trying out and trying on! I am also extremely grateful to the hardworking volunteer seamstresses of several awesome mask groups on Facebook for their clever questions and sparkling enthusiasm for my pattern. Furthermore, I'd like to thank all those who sew, wear and give away this mask (or any other mask!) for their efforts to protect others: To me, you are all heroes!
Take good care of yourself and stay well! ❤