Simple Pleated Face Mask with Pocket Pattern & Pleat Template. Bonus: Easiest Filters Ever!
My dear sweet friend Mary Anne started a face book group to help local organizations who needs face masks find people willing to make face masks. There was just one small problem – Mary didn’t even know how to thread a sewing machine. Now folks that’s dedication. With little to no sewing skills Mary started a group, got donations, found people to make masks and headbands with buttons even before she had figured out how to thread her machine.
Last night, in a dream, I developed a way to help Mary sew a mask using her machine.
This pattern has an easy to make inner pocket AND as a bonus the Easiest Filters Ever!!
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by going on and on about how this isn’t an N95 mask and how this isn’t going to protect you as wall as the N95’s. You already know that. Everyone knows that.
The filters in these masks came about because of an article in Business Insider, where 3 clothing designers discovered that 2 Blue Shop Towels make amazing filters. But more on that at the bottom of this article.
You will find the printable PDF templates at the bottom of this article.
Lets Get Started:
First you’re going to need to cut a 19 inch by 7 inch piece of fabric.
Fold each side about 1 cm twice and sew down the sides.
Using the first downloaded template (the 8 inch square) fold the fabric over the top of each end of the template. I used card stock, but 20 pound copy paper will work as well.
Slide the paper template out and iron flat.
Now this is VERY important. You need to sew down the sides, BUT LEAVE A SPACE at the top and the bottom of both sides for the ribbon or elastic.
Pin it to keep it together while you’re sewing and DON’T FORGET to leave a space at the top and bottom of both sides (I forgot … more than once.)
Yes. Seriously. I forget. I made 3 masks – I forgot twice! I had to take out my stitching on all 4 corners – twice!! Pain in the Butt.
This is what it looks like when you sew up both sides and leave spaces at the top and bottom of each side.
Ok, moving on.
Flip Right Side Out and Iron Flat
Lay the second template on the fabric. It’s never going to be perfect. You’re always going to have a little overlap. Just do your best to make it look even.
Fold the fabric to match the template pleats.
It’s best if you fold the paper template first, then put the template on the fabric. That way you know which way everything is going to bend.
Once you have the pleats folded. Carefully slide the template out and iron flat.
It may take 1 or 2 tries to slide out that template on your first mask or two, but by your 3rd mask you won’t have any problem sliding out the template and by your 10th mask you probably won’t even need the template.
Cut 4 pieces of 7 inch ribbon
With your first 2 or 3 masks you may want to cut 8 inch ribbon to give yourself a LOT of extra ribbon to stuff in the sides. Once you get the hang of it 7 inches of ribbon is more than enough, but in the beginning when your trying to keep the ribbon in the openings and sew at the same time, it’s nice to have some extra.
Don’t Start in the corner. Start at the bottom a little off center. Sew close to the edge. As close as you feel comfortable. You’ll get more comfortable as you make more masks.
Optional: When I get to the ribbons, I sew over the ribbon, then reverse sew over the ribbons and then sew over the ribbons again – every corner. Those ribbons aren’t coming out if you sew over them 3 times (:
Remove any remaining pins and you’re done.
My original masks didn’t have filters. The reasoning is a long story but …. THEN! 3 Brilliant clothing designers discovered that by adding two blue shop towels they could make a mask that could block up to 95% of the particles they could test, while the cotton masks blocked 20% to 60% of the particles.
So these masks have a pocket that use Simple Every Day Shop Towels. You find them at Home Depot, Lowes, every large and small hardware store and auto parts place. They Are Cheap. They Are Everywhere!
Take 1 shop towel. Fold it into 4s. Cut along the fold and ta da! Filter!