Face Mask Tutorial

This is a video tutorial on how to sew a cotton fabric facemask. As you know, this is not a replacement for healthgrade masks (like surgical or N95s) but is intended for the general public to help provide limited protection when out in public.

You’ll notice there are two “sizes” in the template file. These sizes are arbitrary. The small fits me and the medium fits Jerod. If you find it doesn’t fit your face, trim down the template or make it bigger to see if it fits better.


  • 2 kinds of cotton fabric (one for the outer and inner layers, and a different color for the pocket)
  • 4″ nose wire (can use garden wire, a thick grocery twist-tie, etc.)
  • 2 pony beads (or similar)
  • 1 small safety pin
  • 2 pieces of 1/4″ cotton bias tape, 16″ each. If you don’t have bias tape, thin shoelaces will work too! 
  • Filter paper (optional–or use any nonwoven fabric like a dried baby wipe or Wet One)


  • I used a 3/8″ seam allowance because it was easier to iron down the edges. If you sew 1/4″ the mask will be larger and if you do a 1/2″ it will be smaller…in case you need to adjust and don’t want to redraw a new template.
  • 1/4″ bias tape works the best with the pony beads. If you don’t have bias tape, find something around the house that is about the same width that will fit in the pony bead without the bead falling off.
  • I labeled the top of the mask on each pattern piece. This is important when sewing everything together because my mask pieces are not symmetrical.
  • After you wash your mask, iron it before wearing it or it won’t fit well.

Other comments:

I made about 6 masks from several other online tutorials and while were great, they didn’t work with my face (I have a flat face and small nose) so I ended up designing my own. While there are much simpler designs out there (including just wrapping a scarf around your face) I like this one because it’s compact, adjustable, fitted, and has the option to add a filter.

Here are a few features:

NOSE WIRE: A built-in nose wire at the top allows you to bend the top of the mask around your nose for a better fit.

ADJUSTABLE, REMOVABLE STRAPS: Most other tutorials use elastic around the ears or ties for around the head. The problem with elastic around the ears is that it has to be tight enough to get somewhat of a seal around your face, but when I would smile or laugh, it would fall off. It was also uncomfortable for me. The mask style where you tie the straps around your head, it was nearly impossible to do that without getting my hair caught in the bow. Also, the straps would slide down my head. This new mask design uses beads to hold cotton fabric straps around your ear and I think it works a lot better.

FILTER POCKET: For added protection you can cut a piece of non-woven fabric and put it inside the filter pocket. Please be careful when using a HEPA filter from a product because many contain fiberglass which is harmful. After reading that article I decided to stick to papertowels as my filter. I read you can also use a dried out baby wipe or Wet One wipe.

Sorry the video is kinda long (about 16 min). I’ve never done an online tutorial before. Not sure if I’ll ever do another one either haha!

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