Fitted Face Mask Tutorial With Filter Pocket

I quite like this fitted face mask with the filter pocket. It’s a modification of the wonderful free pattern and tutorial offered over at Craft Passion, but mainly just a pictorial on how I assembled my version of it.

Head over and download the size you need. I used this one. You will only need the the main fabric piece template, not the lining template piece for my method.

You will also need to make the ties. I’m not doing a tutorial on them. They are cut at 1-7/8 inch, straight of grain, selvedge to selvedge, or width of fabric, and will be approximately 42-44 inches long. Do not trim the selvedge edges off of your strips. After running the strips through a bias tape maker (I use the Clover #464-25), fold the selvedges under at the ends, which will prevent any fraying, then press the strips in half once more. Mark the center of each strip.

All seams are a quarter inch.

You will need to cut six pattern pieces. I’m using Moda Bella Solids, so there’s no right or wrong sides, but if your fabric is a print, then cut with right sides of your fabric together, two of the template below for the front, and 4 of the template below for the back, which is the filter pocket. Do NOT use the image below for your template, it isn’t to size. It’s shown simply to make it plain which pattern piece to cut.

Please go to the link I posted above for the pattern templates.

I found it easiest to cut the two straight sides with a rotary cutter and a ruler, and the two curved sides I traced first, then cut with scissors. Please ignore the pattern template below that says Pocket Lining Fabric. I used it in my first test sew. It is the same piece, and you may use it, but it’s about a quarter inch larger and that mask was slightly too large for me. It however, perfectly fits my husband. I’m using it for me, and the one without the pocket for women.

Right sides together, sew the centers together for each of the three sets.

Typically you would clip these curved seams, but trust me and pink them if you have pinking shears. It’s much faster and works just as well on a slightly curved seam like these. If you don’t have pinking shears, then you’ll need to clip up close (but not through!) to the seam allowance in order for the seam to lay nicely when pressed open. Please don’t serge these seams, they won’t lay well across your face.

Press the front section (in my example, the light green) open, then top stitch on the seam side. Meaning, the side the seam is pressed to.

If you have a sleeve roll or a pressing ham, it will make pressing the curved seam open much easier. Make sure on the two back sections, that you press the seams in opposite directions. You will need the ability to “nest” those seams in the steps ahead.

Take the two back sections (dark green in my example), placing them right sides together, making sure to nest the opposing seams, and pin two inches in from the curved edge, and one and half inch in from the straight edge. This is your pocket for the filter.

It’s important to feel for the seams and keep them butted together, the pins will hold them in place.

Sew to the two inch mark and the one and a half inch mark, make sure to back stitch several times at the stopping point, as the pocket opening will see some abuse. Try and sew directly on the existing seam.

Lay the joined pieces out flat, and fold one side of the piece that’s on top over the seam allowance, wrong sides together.

Flip the sections over and repeat for the other side.

You now have a very sloppy looking filter pocket! Take it over to your iron and give it a good press.

Top stitch down both sides of the filter pocket opening.

Pin the mask back with the filter pocket, right sides together, with the the front of the mask (light green in my example).

Sew a quarter inch seam across the top edge. Pink the seam if you have pinking shears, if not, clip close to the seam line (but not through it!)

Repeat for the bottom edge.

Turn right sides out through the filter pocket opening, and press carefully. Almost done! You can zig zag or serge these edges if you prefer.

Take one of the strips you made, matching the center of it to the center of one side of the mask, and place a pin to hold it.

I used an edge stitch foot to sew the ties together and onto the mask. I started at one edge of the tie, sewing up to the mask, and carefully made sure that the mask was snugly encased in the tie, and sewed to the other end. Repeat for the second tie.

Your mask is finished! Use a disposable filter of your choice. Jim and I use Filtrete™ Healthy Living Air Filters, which we picked up at Lowe’s. It was simple to removed the mesh wire, and then I cut the filter up into pieces for the masks.

I leave the filter pocket empty, and let the recipients choose the filter of their choice. Some are using blue shop towels. Jim and I feel comfortable with our choice of filter. Everyone should do their own research. I make no claims to safety of these filters. I have yet to hear back from 3M on the safety of these filters for masks. Use at your own risk. Here is what their website says.

Can we use the Filtrete™ Air Filter material/media to create handmade masks?

Our filters are designed to be used in HVAC systems, and the filter media has not been tested to be used as a face mask for respiratory protection. Altering any of our 3M Filtrete™ Air Filters is not recommended or supported by 3M or the Filtrete™ Brand. Customer safety is our number one priority.

Don’t try and iron it. It’s fine the way it is. Blue shop towels would also work well, but we have a pretty high confidence with this air filter.

I was recently notified about another filter product you may wish to check into, the Filti Face Mask Material.

I hope I explained this well enough. Enjoy!

CJ Tinkle

DISCLAIMER: I make no warranties, either express or implied that these masks prevent infection or the transmission of viruses or disease.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Maureen Pinwill

    Thank you so much. I will tlry my hand at making these.

    1. tinksquared

      You’re most welcome. I am happy with this mask.

  2. montanaclarks

    Thanks CJ–as an old OR nurse, I never wore a mask that looked like these but I’m going to give it a try.

    1. tinksquared

      I think these are more comfortable than the pleated rectangular style.

  3. Judi Shea-Vaillancourt

    before you pink the top edge ( the part that goes over your nose) if you make a small channel- stitch a parallel line in the seam allowance you can tread a pice of pipe cleaner, un -twisted twist tie wire- I found in my basement a coil of tomato ties which is trim to size twist tie- I thread a piece in-when turned it becomes a way to further mold the top to your face. making this fit even tighter. as a Nurse I can tell you this is a well thought out pattern- love taking the hepa filter apart- instead of searching for hepa vac bags

    1. tinksquared

      That’s an excellent idea Judi. I had originally planned in inserting pipe cleaners, but my pipe cleaner order from Amazon package arrived completely empty! I tried floral wire, but it broke. I’m also not thrilled with the washability of wire, it rusts. I am currently not using wire in my masks.

  4. Kim Zimek

    Be sure not to use HEPA filters with fiberglass in them! You do NOT want to inhale the fiberglass particles. This is why I like the idea of Filtrete filters as they say they don’t have fiberglass.

    1. tinksquared

      I leave the filter pocket empty, and let the recipients choose the filter of their choice. Some are using blue shop towels. Jim and I feel comfortable with our choice of filter. Everyone should do their own research.

  5. Pamela Venneman

    Hi CJ, I probably missed it as your tutorials are comprehensive, but what is the seam allowance?

  6. Clarice Grace

    C. J. Thank you for your tutorial. Do you use the pattern to cut the filter to insert? Do you use just one layer?
    Thanks, Clarice

    1. tinksquared

      I just started making these so I haven’t cut the filters for them yet but yes that is my plan about a half inch smaller all the way around.

  7. Pamela Venneman

    Hi again, I’m still wondering about the seam allowance. I made one with 1/4 and that seems too narrow with pinking etc. Thanks for the tutorial

    1. tinksquared

      Hi Pamela, the pinking replaces clipping to the seam for a curved allowance. A pinked edge will be more stable than a clipped seam as pinked edges don’t fray. Also, a clipped seam goes right up to the stitching line, which in my opinion won’t hold up nearly as well. If you press to one side and top stitch the seam as well, it shouldn’t be an issue ever.

  8. Diane Obernesser

    CJ, Thank you for the pictures. I’m a visual learner & I sunk if there are no pictures. Great help.

  9. Chris P

    Thank you CJ for the clear pictures and tutorial. I read some were using aluminum baking/pie tins from the dollar store, cut and folded over themselves as the “nose bridge” piece, I have some I might try if my pipe cleaner supply runs low and this continues for longer than they are currently estimating.

  10. Elizabeth

    Thank you for all your info, very much appreciated.

    1. tinksquared

      You’re most welcome Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by!

  11. Diane S.

    Hi C J. I wonder if you can offer any tips for my inability to make bias tape with the Clover bias tape maker. My tape constantly turns out with a tuck down the strip. I’m baffled.. Help!

    1. tinksquared

      Hi Diane, if I had to guess, are you cutting your strips too wide? For the clover #25, which makes 1 inch single fold tape or half inch double fold, cut the strips 1-7/8” wide.

  12. Diane S.

    Hi C J. Do you have any tips for using the Clover #25 bias tape maker? I keep getting a tuck down the strip. I have no idea why this is happening.

Your feedback is always welcome! If you have a question, I will respond to it here.