Sew A Face Mask with Filter & Nose Wire Pockets

Photo of a pile of face masks

I've been sewing and sewing face masks to donate to frontline workers and many folks have been asking if I'm selling them to the public. At this time, I am not, but I may be in the future. In the meantime, for those of you with basic sewing skills, feel free to use my specs to sew them for yourself, your family and friends, and to donate! Thank you and stay safe!  ~ Madeleine

- Fits over an N-95 mask
- Pocket for extra filter layer
- Channel for removable wire*
- Straps for adjustable fit & comfort
- Machine wash & dry
- One size fits most adults
* Remove nose wire for washing and/or replacing.
- Tightly Woven 100% Cotton Fabric
- Thread
- Ruler
- Fabric Scissors or Rotary Cutter
- Sewing Machine
- Twist-ties (or pipe cleaner or other) for nose wire


FOR MASK: CUT 2 PIECES OF COTTON* – 8½” x 8” (Width x Length). Use 2 different colors or prints to identify the front from the back easily (so you don’t accidentally put the outside onto your face).
*Note: If your machine doesn’t have a zigzag stitch, you should cut the top and bottom seams with pinking shears if possible, to stop edges from fraying.
(or use 2-36” long pieces of ½” double fold bias tape.)
Note: You can join a couple of shorter 2” strips of fabric to make a 36” long strap if you need to.

FOR WIRE to SHAPE MASK AROUND BRIDGE of NOSE: Twist together 2 or 3 twist ties (fold in ends to prevent wire from poking a hole in the mask). Or cut chenille pipe cleaners to 4.5” lengths. Or get creative.


  • If you didn’t “pink” your top & bottom edges, run a tiny zig zag stich right along the edge of the top & bottom of each piece of cotton. This will keep the seam from fraying after multiple washings and use. If you can’t do either, run a straight stitch as close to the top & bottom edges as possible.
  • Place 2 pieces of fabric together, with right sides facing in.
  • Stitching ½” down from TOP edge, sew the two pieces of fabric together as follows -- Sew 2½” in from each side edge toward center. This will leave a 3½” OPENING, centered along the width, in the top seam. Back-stitch at seam openings to reinforce.
  • Stitching ½” to ¼” from BOTTOM edge, sew the two pieces of fabric together. You now have a “tube”.
  • Press the seams open and flat.
  • Turn tube right-side-out. Roll TOP seam toward back of mask, so the seam with opening is about 5/8” from top of mask and then PRESS entire mask. (You will now see a strip of the front fabric going across the TOP of your mask’s back side, and a strip of the back fabric going across the BOTTOM of your mask’s front side.)
  • Along the top of mask create a channel for a removable wire as follows –Measure 1&3/4” in from each side edge and ½” down from top, leaving 1½” open (not stitched) centered within the 5”. Make sure you sew 3 backstitches at the ends of the stitches that create all the openings. Otherwise the stitches will come out and the seams will come apart.

 Dotted line indicates how top-stitching should look -


  • On BACK SIDE at each edge of SIDES of mask, starting 1” from bottom of mask, make a tiny mark along the edge of each side at 1” intervals. You will have 6 marks (the bottom mark will be about 1” from top edge).
  • With BACK SIDE facing you, pinch UP fabric – place bottom mark on top of the one above it and secure in place with pins or clips. Repeat with the remaining 4 marks to create 3 pleats. (Make sure pleats face down on FRONT of mask). Press pleats. Secure with pins or clips.
  • Carefully holding pleats in place, remove one pin/clip at a time, stitch down the sides of mask, through pleats, 1/8” from edge on each side. 
  • After pleating the sides should measure about 3.5” long and the pleat at the TOP of the mask (on FRONT side) will be about 1&½” from top of mask to bottom of pleat.

    • Fold fabric in half down the 36” length and press (to 1” wide).
    • Open strip and fold each half in toward center fold crease (1 side at a time) and press again.
    • Fold both folds in toward the center fold and fold in half. Press. It will now be about a ½ inch wide with the raw edges folded into the center fold.
    • Slip the sides of the mask into the center fold of the strap. Position strap so it measures 18” from the TOP edge of mask to end of strap on each side. Pin to hold. Note: The strap will be longer from top of mask to top end of strap than from bottom of mask to bottom end of strap.
    • Stitch the little end of strap from folded side toward the open side (backstitch first few stitches), then, with needle down, lift presser foot and rotate fabric to sew the strap closed, lengthwise. Note: Backstitch a few stitches at the 4 points where the strap meets the mask to reinforce! Turn and finish the other end of strap, backstitching at the end. (You can also use a zig-zag stitch on the ends). 
Adult Face Mask Pattern by  
For personal use & donating only, please.



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