Fabric Filter Mask (with nose piece and T-shirt ties)

If I can do this, YOU CAN TOO!

I am a big believer in DIY and use what you already have before buying more. I wanted to create a face mask with resources that I already have, instead of going out to buy more. As well as, creating a nose sleeve/piece where a paper clip or twist tie, etc. could be removed prior to the wash, so you could BLAST the fabric with hot water to help kill any (Corona) viruses.

Secondly, let me start off by saying, I am a self-taught sewer and not the best at it either. Even with watching LOTS of tutorials, I still had prototypes that DIED in the making of this pattern as I was trying to figure out the easiest method.

Once getting all the materials, this project should take 30mins or less. Like most sewing projects, the time is really spent in ironing the fabrics, measuring, and getting organized.

Total Materials Needed:

  • 1 – Outer fabric piece 9″x 6″ for adults (7″ x 5″ for child masks)
  • 2 – Inner fabric pieces (same adult or child size as above)
  • 1 – 4.5″ x 1″ Nose fabric piece
  • 4 – 15-18″ x 1″ strips from an old t-shirt
  • Coordinating thread
  • Twist Tie – I preferred the plastic coated, but whatever you have; even a paper clip will do

The best tutorial (video & post) that I found, was from Melanie Ham. I started with this tutorial as a foundation; however, I have made modifications. Her tutorials are great and just want to give credit where credit is due!

My modifications:

  • I added T-shirt material for the ties, as I already had that.
  • Added a different nose piece, which was easier for me.
  • I also made different pleats in order to make a more accordion style mask.
Written instructions for her mask, can be found here

After cutting your adult/child size Inner and Outer fabrics, it is time to make your t-shirt strips. I cut 1″ strips approximately 15″ in length for a child and would probably do 18″ for an adult. It is pretty easy to create this and it less sewing 🙂 (be aware of the stretch of your shirt)

Using a rotary cutter and ruler make it easier

When you stretch out the strip, you will notice that it will curl towards one side. Make sure the curls faces the same side when sandwiching into your Inner and Outer fabric:

When sewing your pieces together, make sure the t-shirt strips are not laying close to the outer border, you will accidentally sew them on 2 sides of the mask. Not that I did that or anything….:-(

Next, the nose piece. To make this, you would do this the same way if you were making a bias strip/tape. Some people have a bias strip maker (available on amazon and other sewing stores) but I don’t, so I did it the old fashion way:

Bias tape by ironing
  1. Folding the strip in half and then pressing it with the iron
  2. Open the strip and fold one side to that ironed, creased, middle line
  3. Do the same to the other side, and press

Once the strip is pressed, fold the raw edges/ends over by about 0.25″ before placing on the inner fabric of the mask. I centered this by eye-balling before pinning it. Then, sew along the edges (only the top and bottom of the strip) onto the mask.

Next, the pleats. For a child’s mask, I did 2 pleats while for an adult mask, I would do 3 pleats. I eye-balled the pleats after trying to measure and trying different versions. Honestly, it is your mask – Go For It!

*Besides using pins to tack your pleats, you can also use binder clips to home them in place. 😉

Once, you have your 2-3 pleats on your mask, press them.

Since the pleats make the fabric very thick, I needed to change my pressure foot setting to 0, from the normal 2 setting – Just FYI. I also have to lift my pressure foot on some pleats and help “walk” my stitches forward by lifting the foot and very slighting moving the fabric forward so my machine would grip the fabric.

You could also try making your seam not as close to the edge as I did and see if that helps. I just didn’t like the look further in and for 2 seams, it was not a big deal.

SIDE NOTE: If you don’t have a t-shirt to spare for strips, you can also make bias tape/strips (36″ adult/24″ child in length). I used 1.75″ (open) strips and did the same as above to make the below mask:

Hope this helped with using resources that you already have on hand along with maybe a different method to help you sew your own fabric masks.

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