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Sewing A Three Layer Mask

This pattern was developed by Melissa McCulloch. I started with her design and then made some changes based on feedback from nursing staff. Melissa has also worked on her design and made changes. She has a YouTube Tutorial and website. If you want, you can buy masks from her, or you can make your own either using her YouTube tutorial, or you can use our pattern and the tutorial below..

Materials For One Mask:

  • 12” of ¼” elastic cut into two 6” pieces or 2 yards of twill tape or bias cut into 4 18” pieces
  • 7”x14” cotton jersey
  • 7” x 14” tightly woven fabric such as shirting or high thread count sheets
  • 7”x14” tightly woven fabric such as shirting or high thread count sheets
  • One 4-6” piece of 24 or 20 gauge wire with ends bent up to prevent sharp ends from poking through fabric, a paper clip will work as well.




1. With fabric folded with wrong sides out (right sides together), use pattern to cut two pieces out of each layering fabric (interior (shirting or other tight weave fabric), lining (cotton tshirt fabric), and exterior). Grainline does not matter with these pieces. In fact, aligning the grainline makes them more porous, so just fit as many pieces as you can on the given fabric if making multiple masks at the same time.

2. Sew the center seam with the exterior fabric right sides together as shown in photo below.]

3. Sandwich interior pattern pieces (below that shows as white shirting) with right sides together between the T-shirt pattern pieces (blue fabric in photo below). Stitch together the sandwich at center seam using 1/4” seam allowance, just as you sewed the exterior pieces together.

4. Open up the exterior piece you sewed in Step 3 and the interior and lining piece you sewed in Step 1. Place the pieces right sides together. Align center seams and pin together making sure you get all the layers aligned at the edges.

5. Sew across the top and bottom of the mask. DO NOT sew the sides! No need to backstitch. The figure shows the three layers sewn together across the top and bottom of mask.

6. Turn the mask right side out pulling through the side pieces.

7. Take the metal nose wire and slide inside of mask and center on the nose, and push up as close as you can to the seam. (Make sure you put it at top of mask and not on the chin side!)

8. Once the wire is centered and is as close to the seam as you can get, pin it in place with pins. Next you will sew a three sided “rectangle” around the wire to hold it in place, sew slowly taking care not to hit the wire with the sewing machine, you might be replacing your needle! (broke 7 of them sewing 60 masks!)

Finished channel with wire enclosed, outlined in red to make it easier to see.

9. Push the raw edge of the sides into mask 1/4-3/8” and end of ties or elastic in between the raw edges. Place one end of elastic or tie at the top edge of the side of the mask and if using elastic put the other end at the bottom edge of the side of the mask, or if using two ties, put a second tie end at the bottom of the side edge. Pin them in place to secure. Repeat for the other side.

This photo shows ties inserted into and pinned to the side of the mask ready to be stitched in place.

10. Starting at top of mask at end of wire channel that you sewed in Step 8, topstitch around the edge of the mask, stopping at side corners with your needle down, lift presser foot, rotate mask, continue stitching side seam. At end of side seam, backstitch the entire side seam. Then, continue stitching around the mask, which secures the elastic or ties in the side seam with triple stitching. When you reach the other side seam, stitch, backstitch and stitch forward again. Rotate and stitch at top edge of mask until you reach the rectangle of stitching that you stitched in Step 8.

You have now completed your mask

12. Now, if using for yourself you are done. If you are giving these masks to someone else, please wash them on hot water. Then put them in a hot dryer and dry them until completely dry through all layers. Wash your hands, take them out of the dryer and place in a clean bag.

The CDC recommends that you wash these masks after every use to ensure that you reduce the chance of getting the corona virus. It is recommended that you have at least two masks for every family member.

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  • Esther's Fabrics
    181 Winslow Way E Suite D
    Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
    Call us now: 206-842-2261