Marfy put out a free mask pattern last week, as since you all know N95 masks are all but impossible to find in the age of coronavirus. Marfy is an Italian pattern company and English is not their native language, so the included instructions are a little rough. (Plus Marfy is the one pattern company I know of that does not provide any instructions with their patterns as a rule.) I wrote these instructions for a friend that wants to make masks but has zero sewing experience, and they suggested that I publish it to the web.
The fabric I used was a striped Italian 100% cotton shirting purchased many years ago from Fabric Mart. You want a tightly woven 100% cotton. An old cotton broadcloth dress shirt is perfect.
The elastic is 1/4″ braided elastic I pulled out of my stash.
The trickiest part of materials was figuring out what to use for the piece of metal that goes over the nose. You want something that is flexible yet will hold its shape. For my first mask I just ripped off the metal of an old N95 mask. For my subsequent versions I used a piece of flashing my dad gave me. It is available at most hardware/home improvement stores (which are considered essential and thus still open in my state). What is nice about flashing is that it is much stronger than pipe cleaners and more flexible than wire clothes hangers (some of the other options I’ve seen other people use). It is also very cheap. I cut it using Fiskars Titanium scissors.
- I found that I needed to take in the mask at the top of the dark. I have a more petite nose and as drafted the dart in the front was too long and pointy.
- I found the elastic looped around the ear really uncomfortable. I ended up switching out the ear loops for two pieces of long elastic in the N95 mask style.
- The advantage of this pattern is that the shaping goes from just under your eyes to below your chin. The seal is very good – the fabric rises and falls when I breathe. From what I’ve seen in public, the ones that are like folded rectangular pieces of fabric don’t stay in place that well (I see them slipping below people’s noses a lot) and even though I tend to be fussy with my clothes, once I had this one it stayed in place really, really well.
- This pattern goes together VERY quickly…took me 15-20 minutes from cutting out the pieces to closing up the casing.
Here’s the pattern piece provided by Marfy. Notice where I added 3/8″ seam allowances.
Fold your fabric in half and cut out out two of the pattern piece shown above.
Pick up one of the pieces and sew the edges marked “Seam”, right sides together. Repeat for the other piece.
Cut into the fold at the center front as close to the stitching as possible.
Press the seam allowances apart as far as you can.
Turn to the right side and press seam again.
Pin the masks, right sides together, along the bottom edge. Sew the bottom edges together.
Cut two 12″ lengths of the elastic. Open up the mask and pin the elastic to the mask where indicated on the pattern.
Fold over the other side of the mask so right sides are together, and pin in place at the side seam where the elastic is pinned.
Sew the mask pieces together at the side seams.
Sew the masks at the upper edge, from the side seam to where the casing is marked on the pattern.
Turn the mask inside out. Roll the edges with your fingers to make sure it is fully turned inside out and press.
Fold the raw edges of the upper edge to the inside 3/8″ and press.
Make a casing for the piece of metal that goes over the nose by stitching 1/2″ away from the folded edges.
Cut a piece of flashing 1/4″ by 3.5″. (I found it helpful to use a Sharpie marker pen to trace onto the metal.) Round off the edges with your scissors.
Insert the flashing into the casing.
Carefully sew the upper edge of the casing 1/8″ away from the folded edge. Make sure the flashing stays close to the bottom edge of the casing so you don’t accidentally hit it with your needle!