Here it is, your free surgical mask pattern. This mask contains a wire for adjusting around the nose bridge and a pocket to insert an optional additional filter. A quick disclaimer that this is NOT an N-95 mask, which is preferred by healthcare workers. N-95 masks cannot be made at home. However, surgical masks can, and are a good alternative when an N-95 mask is not available.*

Some important words about this specific surgical mask pattern: Although not the fastest mask style to sew, I’ve settled on doing a pleated mask because this is the style that healthcare workers currently use and are therefore more likely to be comfortable with. It is also the most adjustable around any face and nose size (it includes a wire that you can mold to your nose shape), and allows for a little bit of extra space between the mouth and the mask for better breathing.

The most important thing when making your mask is choosing the correct fabric. You’ll want something that is densely woven, yet lightweight enough to comfortably breathe through (either natural or synthetic fiber will do). To test before sewing, hold your fabric up to the light to make sure that you can’t see direct light through the fabric. You may also test by placing a layer of the fabric over your mouth and nose and trying to breathe normally (obviously, do this AFTER you’ve bought the fabric, not at the store!) This mask pattern also includes a layer of synthetic fusible interfacing. Don’t skip this layer, since it will add to the mask’s impermeability, stopping moisture droplets from moving through the mask.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your mask:

-1 panel of fabric, 15”x7.5”
-2 panels of fabric, 2”x7”
-1 panel of lightweight fusible interfacing (the synthetic, weblike kind): 15”x7.5”
-1 twist tie or flexible wire (about 6”-7”)
-2 pieces of elastic (1/8” is best but 1/4” will do): 10”
-A safety pin

Prep main panel

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric, letting the iron sit on each section of fabric for 10-15 seconds. Surge or zigzag over the two short sides.

Sew short sides of panel together.

Fold the panel in half so that the short sides match up, and stitch at 3/8″, leaving a gap of 2-3″ in the middle.

Press.

Press the seam allowance open.

Fold and topstitch.

Flip the panel so the right sides are facing out. Press flat into a rectangle, with the gapped seam 1/2″ down from the top. Topstitch around all four edges at 1/8″. (Your panel now consists of two layers of fabric and two layers of interfacing).

Insert twist tie.

Insert the twist tie through the slit into the top channel.

Close twist tie channel.

Topstitch the channel down to enclose the tie. This creates the flexible nose bridge (the slit below the channel is still open to create a pocket. This is for an optional filter insert).

Pleat.

Create three pleats on the sides of the panel and pin. These pleats can be as big or small as your prefer. I made mine 1/2″. Topstitch down the sides to secure the pleats.

Press bindings.

Fold in the long sides of the binding panels 1/4″ and press (my panels were cut on the bias but this is not necessary. They can be cut on the grain or crossgrain).

Pin bindings to main panel.

Pin the binding to the panel as shown in the photo, folding the top of the binding over the main panel and down about 3/8″. Trim the bottom of the binding to be 3/8″ longer than your main panel and fold that under as well. Repeat with the other side.

Sew bindings part 1:

Stitch the bindings to the main panel on the binding fold lines, at 1/4″ (as seen on left side). Flip and turn the binding to the other side of the panel (as seen on right side).

Sew bindings part 2:

After flipping the bias panels to the other side, pin and topstitch, creating a channel.

Insert the elastic:

Attach a safety pin to the elastic and thread it through the channel created by the binding.

Knot the elastic.

Knot the elastic, pulling tightly to secure, and feed the knot into the channel.

Make more and send them to hospitals and immunocompromised friends and family!

*DISCLAIMER: Neither Pamut Apparel nor any Pamut Apparel employees can be held responsible for health issues that may arise due to masks constructed using this pattern. This mask has not been professionally tested, and we recommend using N-95 or store bought masks if they are available.

Written by Katherine Williford