After the Hybrid Pleated Mask, Hybrid Custom Masks and the Hybrid Boxy Mask, I created a Hybrid Mask Frame – as an alternative for all those who cannot breathe well with Double Masks, yet don’t find a gaplessly fitting, slip-free respirator or surgical mask. Due to a reverse pleat, this Mask Frame fits perfectly – even without nose wire!
Introduction of the optimized Hybrid Mask Frame
Just like my Hybrid Pleated Mask and Hybrid Boxy Mask, the Hybrid Mask Frame has a reverse nose pleat that adapts to the nose so tightly that even without wire, the mask fits gapless and secure, and glasses do not fog up!
The upper seam has an invisible opening through which an additional, exchangeable nose piece can be inserted if necessary. This wire runs the full width of the mask, not only optimizing the fit, but also preventing injuries.
Instead of pleats, the Hybrid Mask Frame has an open middle, to be worn on top of respirator masks such as FFP2, N95 or KN95 or surgical masks, to blatantly improve fit without restricting breathability of medical materials. It is also suitable for those who cannot breathe well with double masks, but still want to achieve a gapless, secure fit.
Separate side channels ensure that the undermask is pressed tightly against the face when straps are tightened, therefore minimizing gaps. Through channels, ear loops or head ties can be individually adjusted and replaced.
The mask frame is quick and easy to sew and maintain. If necessary, it can even be stapled!
Handling handmade Mask Frames
This mask frame has the sole purpose of being worn over an – ideally certified – respirator or surgical mask.If you use this frame, you do so at your own risk. Please follow safety protocols (distance, ventilation, hand hygiene, etc.).
Before donning, wash your hands and, if necessary, insert nose piece and ties into the frame. Don the medical mask according to instructions. Make sure that the mask covers your nose and mouth extensively and that the nose clip is adapted to the shape of your face. Now. fold up the reverse pleat, place it on your nose and tighten the ties. Straighten the reverse pleat and adjust the wires. The masks should fit as close to the face as possible, without constricting.
If the masks fit well, stop touching them! Always treat masks as if they were contaminated. If straightening the masks while wearing them is unavoidable, only touch ties and never the fabric, then wash your hands immediately. Do not wear the masks for more than 4 hours, if they becomes dirty or damp, or if you can’t breathe really well!
To doff, grasp the ties and pull them off, without touching the area in front of nose and mouth. Separate medical mask and frame and wash hands thoroughly. The medical mask can possibly be worn again after at least 7 days of storage, whereas the frame should be machine washed at min. 60° C or boiled for 5 mins and dried well after each use.
This frame can be sewn quickly and easily (5-10 minutes). In addition to fabrics, you need 14-16 cm of wire, 50-90 cm ties, sewing machine or needle/thread, scissors, clips, chalk and a pulling tool, e.g. awl, folded wire or safety pin.
Instructions for sewing a Hybrid Mask Frame
(1) For size M and a frame width of 2,5 cm / 1”, cut or tear four pieces of fabric. The top part measures 21 cm x 12 cm / 8.2” x 4.8”, the bottom part 21 cm x 7 cm / 8.2” x 2.8”, and the two separate side channels 6 x 6 cm / 2.4” x 2.4” each.
(2) Fold the two larger pieces in half, right side in, and sew long edges with a 1 cm / 0.4” seam allowance. In the larger top piece, leave an opening for nose wire insertion. Press allowances open, turn strips right side out and press flat.
Depending on your material, you might want to use a wooden spoon or safety pin for turning strips inside out.
(3) Depending on nose wire width, stitch a tunnel 0,5-1 cm / 0.2”-0.4” from the top strip’s sewn edge. Fold piece horizontally to form reverse nose pleat. Slide raw ends of the bottom strip into the reverse pleats, at a 90° angle.
From here on, remember that the side where the nose wire seam is visible will be the inside of your mask frame.
Tipp: The 90° angle fits perfectly well for rather petite faces. With a bigger or softer face, you might want to go with a smaller angle to get your best fit. At this stage, you can clip the sides and test which angle works best for your face!
(4) Place side fabrics, right side down, at 45° angle, centered ca. 2 cm / 0.8” from the far corner. Fold in top and bottom edges 1 cm / 0.4”, so folded edges are flush 1 cm / 0.4” from outer raw edge. Stitch on the side channels right there.
(5) Cut off the now excess very corners of the strips, press side channel allowances apart, then fold large allowance in, so that edge meets edge. Now, fold over to cover edges, and stitch your channels from the front, in the ditch.
(6) Find the opening in the reverse pleat and push the nose wire into that channel. Use an awl, folded wire or safety pin to pull ties into the side channels. Provide ear loops with an adjustable knot, or adjust them individually. – Done! :)
Now, you can wear your new mask frame over a respirator or surgical mask, to achieve a gapless fit! When pdonning, please don’t forget to fold up the reverse pleat, adjust ties individually and pull the channels so that the sides fit tightly.
Sizes and Shape Adjustments for the Hybrid Mask Frame
The dimensions of the Hybrid Mask Frame pattern are designed more or less as a universal women’s mask (European size M, rather on the slim side than loose fitting), which also fits most teenagers and some men relatively well!
Additional sizes can be continuously generated by printing: size XXS (approx. 2-4 year old children) corresponds to 70%, XS (approx. 4-8 yo) corresponds to 80%, size S (approx. 8-12 yo) corresponds to 90%, size M 100%, size L 110%, size XL 120% and size XXL 130%. It is advisable to immediately write the respective size on the printout :)
|Size||Top Strip [Finished / Pleated]
||Bottom Strip [Finished]
||Side Strip [Finished]
|XXS||70%||15 x 8,4 cm [H 3,5 / 1,75 cm]||15 x 4,9 cm [H 1,75 cm]||4,2 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
|XS||80%||17 x 9,6 cm [H 4 / 2 cm]||17 x 5,6 cm [H 2 cm]||4,8 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
|S||90%||19 x 10,8 cm [H 4,5 / 2,25 cm]||19 x 6,3 cm [H 2,25 cm]||5,4 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
|M||100%||21 x 12 cm [H 5 / 2,5 cm]||21 x 7 cm [H 2,5 cm]||6 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
|L||110%||23 x 13,2 cm [H 5,5 / 2,75 cm]||23 x 7,7 cm [H 2,75 cm]||6,6 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
|XL||120%||25 x 14,4 cm [H 6 / 3 cm]||25 x 8,4 cm [H 3 cm]||7,2 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
|XXL||130%||27 x 15,6 cm [H 6,5 / 3,25 cm]||27 x 9,1 cm [H 3,25 cm]||7,8 x 6 cm [4 x 1 cm]|
If you want, you can measure from the top of your ear to the middle of the tip of your nose. We call this number X. Mask width = [X – (X: 3.5)] x 2 + 1. If you measure 14 cm, for example, you calculate [14 – (14: 3.5)] x 2 + 1 = 21 and should be size M (width 21 cm). When in doubt, a smaller size may offer more space, because it protrudes further.
Further Adjustments for the Hybrid Mask Frame
Adjustments to the nose can be made according to the Hybrid Pleated Mask, adjustments to the chin (such as the Hybrid Beard Mask) are difficult here though and I wouldn’t recommend. The 90° angle fits perfectly for rather small or petite faces, faces that are wider or softer around the chin area may require some adjustment of the side angle.
If you’d prefer to have a wider frame (f.e. when your certified mask is too small), you can add frame width by cutting the pattern at its folds. If instead of 2,5 cm, you’d like to go with 3,5 cm (which I’ve successfully tested), cut along both folds of the top strip and add 2 cm to each, them cut the cottom strip in the middle fold and add 2 cm there.
If the Mask Frame doesn’t fit perfectly, the bottom strip can be sewn from elastic material / ribbon (Thanks, Rebecca!)!
I’ve also tested frames for mascne, with separate frame parts for inside and outside the certified mask, but it turned out terribly flimsy, so I wouldn’t recommend – and rather go with a Hybrid Filter Frame, which covers the whole outside of the mask, plus the inside parts where the mask touches the face. For good filtering, use a cut surgical mask.
Simplified Hybrid Mask Frame for Non-Sewists
If the separate channels are too complicated sew for your needs, you can simply cut on a channel width on the very outer part of the upper strip, with approx. 4 cm / 1.6” on both sides, which are folded and sewn or stapled to the inside.
If you prefer to staple, you can tear the strips from fabric or cut NWPP (e.g. old promo bags; the handle can be used as bottom strip!) so that the edges do not fray. Instead of sewing, you can fold the strips so that that the open edges come to rest on the inside, and staple only the side channels. With heavier materials, cut your pieces 4 cm / 1.6” shorter.
This frame can be stapled quickly and easily (5 min). Besides the fabric, you need 50-90 cm (elastic) ties, 14-16 cm of wire if desired, staples and stapler, scissors, sewing clips, chalk and a pulling tool, e.g. awl, folded wire or safety pin.
Instructions for Stapling a Hybrid Mask Frame
(1) For size M and frame width of 2,5 cm / 1”, cut or tear 2 pieces of material, such as fabric or NWPP (f.e. an old promo bag), according to pattern. The top measures 28 – 20 x 14 cm / 11” – 8” x 5,6”, the bottom 22 x 7 cm / 8.6” x 2.8”.
(2) Fold the two pieces in half, right side in, finger press and unfold, so that the middle mark is visible. Now, fold the outermost 2 cm / 0.8” of every long side to the inside of your piece, finger press the pleats and clip if desired.
(3) Fold bottom strip in half, press and clip. Fold the top strip’s outer edges to the middle, press and clip. If you want, insert a nose wire to the inner pleat and staple it in place. Fold top strip horizontally for a reverse nose pleat.
(4) Now, fully insert the raw ends of the bottom strip into the very ends of the top strips’ reverse pleat, at a 90° angle. Fold over the reverse nose pleat and clip ends in place. The outer flaps are going to form the channel for your ties.
(5) Fold piece in half and neatly press all allowances. Then, fold over the flap to the inside, so that cutting edge meets cutting edge. Fold over once more, around the piece’s edge, and use 1-2 staples to attach the side channels in place.
(6) Use an awl, folded wire or safety pin to pull ties into side channels. Provide head ties or ear loops with adjustable knot or individual adjustment. Don’t forget to lift up the reverse nose pleat when donning the mask frame fitter!
Frequently Asked Questions (+ some little Hacks)
Everything you should know in advance about sewing the Hybrid Mask Frame is in the PDF and the article above! If you don’t want to read all questions and answers, you can scroll down to download and come back if needed :)
More tips and tricks for fit, ties, materials, tests, production and a whole lot of other topics that may also be relevant for the production of the Hybrid Mask Frame can be found in the far more detailed FAQ of the Hybrid Pleated Mask! Here, I have only gathered a little basic knowledge and some questions specifically related to my Hybrid Mask Frame.
Who is this Mask Frame suitable for?
The Hybrid Mask Frame is particularly appreciated by those who wear glasses, as it doesn’t necessarily require an extra nose piece to reliably protect glasses from fogging. It is also recommended for everyone whose respirator masks (such as FFP2, N95 or KN95) or surgical masks do not fit gaplessly and slip-free without a frame, brace or fitter.
Is the Hybrid Mask Frame better than the Hybrid Masks?
The Hybrid Mask Frame is no better or worse than the hybrid masks; it just works in an entirely different way.
For anyone who is neither at risk nor has a risk person among their contacts or moves in an area with high case rates, a cloth mask may be enough. For those who are at risk, want to protect them or move in an area with high case rate, I’d definitely recommend certified medical masks and, if necessary, wearing them as a Double Mask or with a frame.
My family and friends still prefer double masking, but for those who cannot breathe well with double masks or need to show their medical mask clearly (f.e. in a hospital setting), I think mask frames are a very viable, easy alternative!
Does this mask have ear loops or a head tie?
Both! Thanks to the channels, ties can easily be exchanged at any given time :) – Personally, I find ear loops easier to put on and therefore, more suitable for short wearing, while for longer wear, I prefer the more comfortable head tie. For donations, I double pack both, and I always make ear loops adjustable with sliding knots (see below).
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 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. I advise against wearing both cords under the ear, as this shifts the center of gravity and creates gaps.
Our currently favored tying technique, which is not only very comfortable but also easy to dress (even one-handed!), is connected ear loops – with extended, adjustable ear loops (approx. 30 cm / 12”) and a paper clip. Paper clips are always at hand, fit in every pocket and if hair gets tangled (which often happens to me), you can bend it open! :)
What are the best materials for Ties and Wires?
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 below) or pony beads for adjustability.
I’m using 0,5 cm / 0.2″ width flat aluminum nose pieces with a length of around 15-16 cm / 6″-6.5″. 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 best materials for the Hybrid Mask Frame?
The Hybrid Mask Frame only ensures a better fit of the medical mask and is not meant to be a filter itself, so materials can be chosen more freely than with more functional filter cloth masks. I’ve sewn all my models from a relatively thin, stable shirting cotton and would rather not use fabrics that are too slippery or too firm, too soft or too thick.
Can I use the Frame over masks that are too big or too small?
This is exactly what the Mask Frame is designed for! With masks that are too small or too large, the edge usually does not fit so gaplessly that optimal filtering is given. In additon, they often slip easily down the nose or up to the eyes. The Hybrid Mask Frame helps to seal those edges and – unless the size is much too small – reliably keep them in place.
Surgical masks are never really a gap-free fit without a frame and can be worn under the frame in two ways – either open at the sides as usual, so that the mask corners look out from under the frame on all sides, or (as shown) with twisted or directly on ear loops knotted on the side of the mask.
Can I test the gapless Fit at Home?
This is how you can simply test at home whether – and where exactly – your masks have 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!
★ 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 masks reliably stay in place, it’s better to not only put them on briefly in advance, but rather try to speak, laugh and yawn in them– and after that, you can run the tests mentioned above once more!
Will you keep masking even when it’s not recommended?
Yes, we will. As long as Covid is still around (not matter if it’s called pandemic or endemic, and if Long Covid is ignored or not) and there’s no sterile vaccine, we do what we can to avoid infecting ourselves or others – and masks are a viable method to help that, no matter if anyone recommends them or not, ot whatever the reasons for those may be.
Can I possibly purchase the Hybrid Boxy Mask somewhere?
The pattern is brand new, so none of my fabulous sewing partners from all over the world is making it yet, but besides being very knowledgeable with my patterns and – unlike me! – sewing on a highly professional level, they’re all just really nice people, so if you’d like to purchase a frame made with this pattern, I’d suggest to ask them kindly! :)
I update those questions and hacks annotations continously (last: March 22nd, 2022)! If you have questions yourself, please feel free comment below (or via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) – or just send me an email via contact form!
Download of Instructions and Pattern as a printable PDF
Here you can download a printable PDF with pattern and instructions for my Hybrid Mask Frame [V2 | March 16th, 2022, 5 PM] on 6 pages, in EU Din A4 or US letter format. Before download, make sure to read 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
If you’d like to use my instructions commercially (i.e. with the intention of making a profit), f.e. by selling masks sewn according to my pattern, please contact me and let me know more about your business, your location and your ideas!
Big thanks to Angelika, Minna, Matthias and Reinhard for all the great support – and particularly for the patient and competent trying out and trying on all these test masks! Furthermore, I’d like to thank the countless volunteer sewists from various mask groups on Facebook – especially Rebecca, Hope, Jocelyn, Ania, Devon and Sophie, to whom I owe a large part of my mask education! – for clever questions and infectious enthusiasm, as well as my fabulous sewing partners and last but not least all those who support my mask patterns with donations! You are so great.
Take good care of yourself and stay well! ❤