Welcome to my round up of free cloth mask patterns currently avaialbe online. I am going to tell you why I like each pattern and where you can get your own copy.
Looking to purchase readymade masks? check out my MadeIt Store for face masks in fun fabrics, geeky prints, and classic solids.
The Testing Phase
If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you will know that I have been sewing up a variety of face masks in recent weeks.
There are a heap of patterns available online both for free and for purchase, and I wanted to try out a few to work out which ones work best for me, both from a makers perspective and from a wearer’s point of view. Having field tested a bunch of patterns on hubby and myself, here are my top 4 free patterns.
Masks For the Family
Independent pattern designer Black Label Pattern Co are prolific, offering up new patterns year round for adults and kids. I am a pattern tester for the team at BLPC and love getting a glimpse behind the curtain at the design process.
When COVID-19 hit, the BLPC team quickly published The Black Label Face Mask Pattern on the website.
Pros: The one-page pattern template offers 3 sizes (Tiny to XL). This is the only pattern I have found that accommodates small children.
Cons: The free template is just that, a template. For construction instructions or tutorials, you do need to join one of the branc’s Facebook groups:
Recommended by Medical Professionals
When the call first went out for home stitchers to make masks to donate to medical facilities in the US, I was sceptical, so I set out to do my own research.
Not only did my searches confirm that some US facilities were indeed asking for donations of reusable cloth face masks, it also turned up 2 great patterns, which have been developed for and recommended by, the carers who will be wearing them.
Surgical Style Mask
The first one I tested was the rectangular surgical mask recommended by Deaconess Health Services. The pattern and instructions were provided by Turban Project and is available for download from the Deaconess website
Pros: This is a really simple sew. No curves to negotiate, the pattern pieces are simple rectangles, with measurements provided for adult and child sizes. There are instructions for making masks with elastic ear loops or with cloth ties, and a video is embedded on the page to show you how to make them.
Cons: It took me a little while to figure out how to do the folds/pleats, and the instructions do not make is clear that the elastic loops are to be sandwiched between the 2 layers, on the inside.
The second pattern I found from a medical provider is the Unity Point Olson Mask.
Pros: Another shaped/curved mask, this pattern includes a centre pocket where an additional filter can be added before use. UnityPoint will provide filters for masks donated to its community hospital; for private use, filters may be available for purchase online if you look around. The instructions are easy to follow and there is a video embedded in the website to show you how to construct the mask. Experienced sewers probably don’t need to print out all the pattern pieces, but instead can cut 2 mirrored of the face, mouth and cheek pieces. For first time or beginner sewers, having all 6 pattern pieces to cut on a single layered (not folded) fabric will save that additional step of working out how to place the pattern pieces.
Cons: The lining pocket feature is a little fiddly, and des require additional steps to press and stitch the edges of the pocket.
Tip: if you have one, use your pinking shears to cut the pieces to prevent fraying in the wash.
My number 1 favourite
The Florence Face Mask from FreeSewing.org was the first mask I tried and remains my favourite. I find this the most comfortable to wear. It cups under my chin for a snug fit and I like the shaping over the most and under my eyes. Unlike some of the other masks, I don’t feel the need to pull the mask down out of my eyes when I am wearing it.
Pros: a simple sew, with clear instructions and excellent illustrations. The pattern was developed by Free Sewing Org founder Joost de Cock and his partner who is a medical doctor in Antwerp. When I first downloaded the pattern, it came in only one size. Looking today to grab the links for you, its seems that Joost has updated the pattern to provide custom sizes.
Cons: Joost recommends ribbon ties, but I have found fabric tape a better, more durable option. I also like to make the tied a bit longer than recommended, so that the bottom ties can be tied high up on the back of the head, criss-crossing over the top ties. I have also found that 7-inch long elastic ear loops work well.
Over to you
Have you been sewing up face masks? Have you found another excellent pattern I should test? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time,