Sew For A Cause: 4 Popular Face Mask Patterns

I decided to share four of the most popular face mask patterns in one place, because I know I’m not the only one suffering from information overload.

It’s amazing to see how many people have come together worldwide to support medical personnel, patients, and at-risk communities. The difficult part is to know who needs what and in which fashion.

It’s overwhelming, quite frankly, especially when there is a lot of push back for people just trying to do their best to help in a crisis.

So I decided to list four different face mask patterns that have been consistently making the rounds. I’ve seen each of these across the various groups that support healthcare personnel or organizations that request them.

With a list of options at your fingertips, you can pick and choose depending on the need!

5 Major Differences In Face Mask Designs

The biggest differences I found among the face mask designs are:

  1. Elastic vs. fabric ties to secure the mask.
  2. Sewn-in elastic or ties vs. elastic or ties threaded through what I call a “channel” and others often call a “casing”.
  3. Filter pocket vs. no filter pocket vs. filter sewn into the mask.
  4. Pleats vs. no pleats.
  5. Nose clamp wire vs. no nose clamp wire.

Ready, Set, Sew a Face Mask!

Here are the four face mask designs in no particular order.

Face Mask Design #1: Craft Passion
There are various face mask patterns to suit all kinds of needs.
Image Credit: Humboldt Coronavirus Mask Makers

Craft Passion’s face mask is what I am calling a non-pleated, contoured face mask. This face mask requires cutting multiple pieces and binding them all together. Craft Passion provides the option for a filter pocket and includes a casing so that you can choose whether to use elastic or fabric ties.

There are a lot of masks out there that seem to be various altered versions Craft Passion’s design. After, all I’ve it in my pattern folder for at least 5 years so it’s a well established pattern. In fact, I pulled it out several weeks ago before these large-scale sewing efforts started with the plan to make some for my family and friends just in case.

So, you will see a lot of masks like this one making the rounds and so if this isn’t a perfect fit for you, find one with the tweaks you need. The above picture shows how easily you can switch things up and the mask maker decided to have the ties going horizontally instead of vertically.

Face Mask Design #2: Deaconess/Turban Project

The face mask design that many refer to as the “Deaconess mask” is based on the Turban Project face mask pattern. This pattern is not as contoured as Craft Passion’s pattern. It only requires 2 pieces of fabric and some elastic. The instructions have you making pin tucks on the side instead of folding the whole thing into thirds – so the construction mask has a slightly different look than one with pleats. The elastic is sewn into the seam of the mask instead of threaded through a casing.

If you’d like to see their video tutorial, you can find it here.

Face Mask Design #3: Easy To Sew

Easy To Sew’s face mask design doesn’t include a paper pattern like the others. Instead, it is just a video tutorial that clearly lays out the necessary materials and steps to make a face mask.

Sewing this face mask involves one piece of folded fabric and elastic that is threaded through a casing. It also includes a sewn-in nose wire and a pocket for a filter to be inserted.

My own face mask with a filter pocket (pictured above) is an adaptation of this design. I changed it to include a removable nose clamp instead of sewing it in permanently. I don’t trust that wires will withstand multiple high-heat washings and I wanted to provide as much flexibility as possible.

Face Mask Design #4: Phoebe Health Mask Pattern

Phoebe Health has a specific pattern they require and other health care institutions have started to request it as well.

I’m not really sure what to call this pattern – it’s round-ish and doesn’t have pleats or filter pocket. The construction is several layers of fabric and that appear to be the focus of the ‘filter’ protection. Their pattern calls for “OR linens or another breathable, water repellent fabric” and elastic.

Which Pattern Is Best?

I bet you’re wondering which face mask design is best, right? The answer is simple: The best face mask pattern is whichever the hospital, organization or individual requests or will accept.

As with any handmade donation, it is super important to confirm not only that masks are being accepted, but also which design, if any, has been approved. Some hospitals are very particular while others will accept whatever they can get.

I cannot stress enough, however, that no matter what you sew SOMEONE will want it. For example, a healthcare professional in an urgent care hospital setting often has different requirements than an aide in assisted living facility. There are a whole host of organizations or community groups that can help you connect with places that need mask donations. If you need some guidance, I have a growing list of options available you in my “Where Can I Donate Face Masks?” post.

It’s More Than Just “Cover Your Cough”

In the age of Coronavirus, it’s important to do more than just “cover your cough”. For people who are able to shelter in place and self isolate, masks are a nice-to-have because the risk isn’t as great as it is for healthcare personnel or high-risk patients.

Still, everyone can benefit from having the option of using a mask when they need one. So once again, I leave you with “do what you can with what you have”. You will make a difference in someone’s life even if you’re only able to make a small batch of basic masks.

Thank you for your continued support.

Share The Goods

If you are an organization in need of handmade items (not just face masks) please feel free to contact me and let me know more about your needs. There are a lot of people with home studios who want to contribute and are looking for a variety of ways to volunteer.

2 thoughts on “Sew For A Cause: 4 Popular Face Mask Patterns

  • March 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm
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    I am a physician assistant at William R Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston, WV. We do not have enough masks for frontline staff. We would be so very thankful for any donations.

    • March 26, 2020 at 10:02 pm
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      Beverly, Thank you for your comment and for letting me know. Please send an email to info [at] goodsgivingback [dot] com so we can connect and I can get more information to post for you and connect you with some others who might be able to help.

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