Sewing Masks – Step by Step Directions

Fit for Art Pattern’s has teamed up with Pam Damour to bring you what we think is the best personal use mask pattern available. We have also created extended sizing by adding a large man’s mask pattern and a child size mask pattern to Pam’s original work based on a Japanese design owned by her husband, a nurse.  Watch her video if you have not done so already.


Print the free pattern for the Original size mask at this link, or off Pam Damour’s websiteFit for Art’s Pam Damour pattern includes the extended seam allowance at the nose for adding an interior wire casing and dots, in red, to help you correctly assemble the pattern.  If you want to make a Large Man or Child size mask print those patterns here.  Make sure you print each download on 100% with no or minimized margins and check the 2″ line to see that is printed the correct size.

Cut out the pattern pieces, or copy them onto pattern tissue, depending on how you plan to cut out the fabric.  If you will draw the pattern onto the fabric before cutting, simply cut it out of copy paper or card stock.  You may also order a template ruler for the original size mask from Pam Damour’s website so it is easy to cut with your rotary cutter.

Pam Damour Mask Template Ruler

If you want to pin the pattern to fabric and cut around it, tissue patterns are the best.  Order pattern tissue by the roll in the Fit for Art store if you need good pattern tissue.  The pattern drafting kit provides paper, rulers and other tools for successful pattern work.


Plan for the wire insertion around the nose.  This 3” wire addition to the mask really shapes it to fit well on any person’s face.  Light weight wire like jewelry wire, florist wire or picture hanging wire work fine.  Twist two layers together if it seems too light weight to form the nose curve effectively.  Make sure to turn the ends into small circles so the rough edges of the wire cannot pop through the fabric.

Two different wires

For a removable wire treatment, such as a twist tie or pipe cleaner, follow the direction appendix to learn how to add an open-ended casing.  Purchase Pam Damour’s permanent stick tape if you want to use Pam’s direction in her video.

Create the ties.  Twill tape, narrow grosgrain ribbon, narrow seam binding, flat cord, stable hem tape and elastic are all good choices.  We think the best fit is achieved with ties that extend around the back of the head.

A variety of tie choices

Elastic is quite movable and gets tiresome to wear as tightly as it needs to be for a safe fit.  Plus, elastic will not survive as well after many washings.  If you want 2 separate ties, cut them 30” each as directed by Pam Damour.  If you want a tie that curves through the casings with one continuous end and one tied end, cut the tie 50”.  Ties can be strictly utilitarian or can be made to match the mask, or match your hair color.

Choose Fabric such as tightly woven quilting cottons and batiks for the mask and the mask lining.  Two to three layers of pre-washed fabric are recommended. Make sure everything is washable so the mask can be washed often in hot water and dried on high heat to keep it germ free. This pattern is perfect for fussy cutting a fabric’s design to create a beautiful mask.  Using a tissue paper pattern will allow for achieving the ideal pattern placement.

Fussy Cutting the mask so there is no white flowers in the center.

Add a Filter Pocket For more thorough particulate filtering add a pocket so you can insert a filter into the mask.  Scroll down to the Appendix 2 section to create the pattern for and insert a filter pocket into this mask.

There is so much written about mask materials and what ones are best.  Be sure to look for online advice related to personal masks; these are not medical grade masks.

Choose an interfacing that supports the fabric.  Interfacing gives your mask more structure so it will not collapse into your face when being worn. It also provides a 3rd layer of fabric to keep out the germs.  Our French Fuse or Weft Insertion are good choices. Order a sampler or by the yard and test before using.  The interfacing is not necessary if you are using stiff HEPA fabric as your backing.

Well Fitting Masks are best.  Visit the Sew News Blog to read Rae’s post about adjusting your pattern for an improved fit.

Cutting and preparing the Fabric  You can cut several at a time if making a number of masks.

Cut out:

All the pieces marked for the dart and chin connection
  • one mask and one chin piece in chosen fabric
  • one mask in chosen interfacing
  • one mask and one chin piece in chosen lining fabric

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the mask fabric, use a press cloth to keep your iron clean.

Interfacing the mask

Mark the dart and the chin joining connections.

Construction  Use a ¼” seam allowance and a narrow stitch length (2.5) unless directed otherwise.

Sew the dart at the top of the interfaced mask and the mask lining.

Attach the curved side of the chin piece to the bottom of the mask.  Match the dots on each pattern to center the chin piece easily.

Press with an iron or finger press the darts and seams to one side.  If you press the lining seams one direction and the fabric seams to the other direction, the bulk in the seams will be lessened.   (For removable wire casings, move now to the direction appendix and insert the casing before sewing the mask together.)

Pressed seams and darts

Stack and pin the fabric mask, right sides together, with the lining mask.

Sew the seam along the bottom of the mask with a ¼” seam allowance.  Backstitch securely at each end.  Clip the seam along each curve.

Sew the seam along the top of the mask.  Begin with a ¼” seam and expand to a 5/8” inch seam along the slope of the nose.  Return to ¼” as the seam flattens toward the side.

Stitch a 4” long wire casing into the wider seam allowance across the slope of the nose.  Start along the seam line and backstitch.

Backstitch along seam line to begin casing

Turn the fabric and stitch ¼” toward the top of the mask to create one end of the wire casing, and backstitch completely.

Stitch end of casing 1/4″

Turn the fabric and stitch across the seam allowance, paralleling the seam line approximately ¼” away.

Step three, stitch the casing line 1/4″ from seam line

Backstitch securely.  Leave this second end open to insert the wire.

Casing stitched and wire ready.

Slide the prepared wire between the 2 layers of fabric and into the casing.

Insert wire into casing

Stitch the other end of the wire casing closed using the seam backstitch method above, to ensure the wire does not pop through the casing.

Stitch casing end closed securely

Turn the mask through one open end.

Press the edges carefully for a neat appearance.  Straighten out the wire and position it close to the seam for easier topstitching.

While at the iron, fold and press in the casings that will hold the ties.  First press all layers ¼” inch to the lining side.  Then press an additional ½” for a neat casing fold.

Topstitch the mask ¼” along the edges.  Work from the lining side. Begin by attaching one tie casing securely, backstitching at each end.

Stitch the casing first

Then turn the mask and stitch across one long edge to the other tie casing.

Stitch along one long edge

Turn the mask, backstitch and stitch the second tie casing in place.

Stitch the second casing and turn again.

Finally turn and top stitch the other long edge.  Along the mask’s nose area, be careful to keep the topstitching away from the wire.

On the bottom edge, stitch along the seam line that attaches the chin section to the mask for the best results.

Feed the ties through the casings with a pin or bodkin.  If you are using a continuous tie or elastic, start at the chin edge and insert the tie through the casing, then back down into the second casing starting at the nose edge and finishing with the tale of the tie hanging loosely from the chin edge.

One final light pressing and the mask is complete.

All done! Put a knot at each end of the tie if you wish to keep it from pulling through.

Keep the mask Germ Free by washing after each wearing or every few wearing’s.  Use a hot water wash and detergent.  If washing it in a machine, insert it into a lingerie bag so it does not get too mis-shapen.

To find help personalizing your mask for an optimal fit, consult Rae’s advice on the SewNews blog post Expert Fitting Tips for Sewing Face Masks.

Thanks for visiting the Fit for Art Website.  We hope you are inspired to make fashionable and functional masks using the Pam Damour Pattern.  Please visit the bottom of this page and sign up to receive our newsletters and blog posts in the future.  We want to help you sew successfully with Fit for Art Patterns.  Stay well and sew happy!  Rae and Carrie


Appendix – How to make a casing for a removable wire

This technique has been borrowed from other mask patterns and adapted to the Pam Damour pattern with an exterior casing for a removable wire.  This is especially useful if a twist tie, pipe cleaner, or folded aluminum foil strip are the wire of choice.  They should be removed before washing.  From a design perspective this places the wire lower on the mask and so it sits lower on the face during wear.

Prepare the casing  by cutting out a 5” by 2” bias strip of either your fabric or your lining.

Press the casing in half along the 5” side.  Then open the casing up and press each 2” edge under ¼” to the wrong side.  Stitch down these ¼” finishes using the machine.

Apply the casing to the mask by pinning and then stitching it to the right side of the lining evenly spaced on either side of the dart.  Stitch the casing to the lining along the folded edge and along the raw edge inside the seam allowance.   Leave the two finished edges unstitched so the wire can be inserted easily.

Add the prepared wire by sliding it into the open- ended casing after completing construction.

Return to the basic instructions to construct the mask, turn the mask, and topstitch.  Keep your top-stitching along the nose edge to 1/8” so the casing has plenty of room for the wire insertion and removal.

Appendix 2 Add a filter Pocket

Use your pattern to draft a filter pocket pattern that is 2″ narrower at both ends but otherwise is the same of the base pattern.  Cut out the pattern and then cut out fabric to make the pattern.

Finish the raw edges on either side of the pocket and pin it to the lining with the wrong side of the pocket next to the right side of the lining.

Patterns and lining with pocket attached.

Stitch the pocket to the lining along the top and bottom edges of the mask.

Continue to construct the mask according to the basic directions including the insertion of the wire and ties.