How to make a face mask with a filter pocket

face mask on girl

Make your own face mask with a filter pocket from your scrap fabric and a little bit of elastic or ribbon.

These masks are 100% cotton and function similar to surgical masks. There are 2 layers of cotton and an opening in the back to insert a filter, such as a micron filter for more protection.

Let me state these masks are not 100% preventative! I am in no way claiming that these will save you from contracting an illness. 100% cotton, though tightly woven, is still a large enough weave for viruses to move freely through the fabric. Plus, these masks are not sealed around the face like a properly fitting N95 mask.

They can help you from transmitting an illness by lowering the amount of droplets you release in the air. They can also be an extra layer of protection for someone already wearing a medical mask or help stretch the longevity of an N95 mask.


100% cotton fabric
1/4 inch (6mm) elastic or ribbon
Sewing machine

Seam Allowance: 1/4 inch (6mm)

Sewing the face mask

I’ll be sewing an adult size in this tutorial, but the steps are exactly the same for the child size. Download the sewing pattern from the sign-up form above! It is free and you can print it at home instantly.

Step 1: Cut a mask using the pattern. Make sure to cut on the fold! You should have a rectangle that is 13.5″ by 9″ (34 cm x 23 cm).

face mask rectangle

I was able to get 2 of these out of one fat quarter. Presumably you should be able to get 8 masks from one yard of fabric.

Step 2: Give the 9″ ends a 1/4″ (6mm) double hem, which means you will fold the ends over twice 1/4″. Press the hem and sew to secure it.

face mask double hem
face mask sew hem

Step 3: Fold the ends in towards the center so the hemmed edges meet in the middle, right sides together. Over lap the hemmed edges about 1/2″ (1.3 cm) and pin in place.

fold over face mask edges to meet in center
face mask edges folded over

Step 4: Cut 2 elastic strips 7 inches (18 cm) long each. If you’re using ribbon, cut 4 pieces at 14″ (35.5 cm) each.

Elastic and ribbon for the children’s masks may need to be slightly shorter. Use your own discretion on this.

cut 2 pieces of elastic

Step 5: Insert all of the elastic inside the mask and line up the ends in the corner. Leave a tiny bit poking out. Make sure your elastic is not twisted inside the mask. The elastic should be in a U shape.

Ribbon will be inserted into each corner with one end loose inside the mask (no U shape).

Repeat on the other side.

pin elastic in corners in U shape

Step 6: Sew both sides closed with a straight stitch. Be sure to back stitch over the elastic/ribbon for extra security.

straight stitch to close edges

Trim the excess around each corner. Turn the mask right side out and press flat.

flat ironed face mask

Step 7: Lay the pattern over the mask and mark the pleat lines on both ends. If you have a dark fabric, use pins for this. Lighter fabrics can also use pins or disappearing ink.

marking pleats with pins

Step 8: Pin 3 pleats in place with a Z shaped fold. Repeat on the other side. Be sure the pleats are folded in the same direction on both sides.

z shaped pleat fold
one pleat folded
3 pleats pinned in place

Step 9: Sew a straight stitch down the side to secure the pleats in place. Repeat on the other side.

You should now have a completed mask!

complete face mask
face mask with filter pocket


Erin has been a graphic designer by day and a seamstress by night for over a decade. At Mega Coven Art she combines her skills to give you useful sewing tips, costuming tutorials, and pattern drafting advice. And sometimes fancy tidbits from the Supernatural universe.

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