Making a Pleated Fabric Face Mask

Category Coronavirus
If you can use a sewing machine then this pleated fabric mask may be your next project. This mask style and tutorial was found on the Kaiser Permanente website and recreated for the associated project.
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I found this pattern on the Kaiser Permanente website. It is for making a pleated style face mask. The photos are mine, but the instructions are based on their pattern. I have included the Kaiser link as well. The pattern is for a small/medium mask.

Note: Please remember that although the CDC is now recommending the use of face masks when we are out and about, or caring for a family member infected with the novel corona virus COVID19, they do NOT replace the directions regarding social distancing, disinfecting common areas, and hand washing. Be safe!

Link: https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/content/dam/internet/kp/comms/import/uploads/2020/03/02_COVID_Mask-Instructions_v9.pdf

Supplies:

** Fabric type: Wash and dry the fabric 2-3 times prior to cutting to reduce shrinkage, as they will be washed over and over again (wash after each use). Use a cotton fabric that is breathable and can hold up to the frequent laundering. You will probably want to make several. Kaiser recommends that the fabric be 100% cotton or a cotton blend woven to 6-8 oz. - similar to a dress shirt or bed sheet type fabrics. If you choose to use a 100% cotton or cotton blend jersey knit it must also be 6-8 oz. Lighter colored fabrics are preferred per the instructions.

Note: All masks will use 2 layers of fabric as per the pattern instructions.

  • thread - cotton or polyester
  • For Mask
  • 1 piece of fabric 15 1/2" long X 7 1/2" wide **
  • Ties for the Mask
  • 2 strips of fabric 1 1/2" x 36"

Steps:

Sewing instructions: Use a 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 stitch length on your machine. This is equivalent to 10-12 stitches per inch. Back stitch for added strength where noted. This will help ensure that the seams are strong enough to withstand wearing as well as repeated washing and drying.

  1. Cut a rectangle of fabric 15 1/2" by 7 1/2". (The website has a pattern you can print out or you can make your own. Paper that is a lighter weight than printer paper is easier to pin in place. You can also place your paper pattern on a fold and line up the arrow with the selvage edge of the fabric. Cut it out. I was making two masks, which is why there are two patterns in use.
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  3. Fold the fabric in half right sides together giving you a 7 3/4" by 7 1/2" two layer rectangle. Sew 1/4" seam on the edge opposite the fold. Back stitch about 3 stitches at the beginning and the end of the seam.
  4. Turn the fabric right side out and press the seam.
  5. Stitch down each of the open sides, again taking a 1/4" seam allowance. This will hold the fabric together when you make the pleats.
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  7. Measure down from the folded edge and mark at 1 1/2", 1 1/2", 1", and 1 1/2" on both sides.
  8. Starting at the foldline make the first pleat by bringing the first mark to the second mark on both sides of the mask and pin in place. For the second pleat, bring the third mark to the fourth mark on both sides and pin in place.
  9. Sew the pleats down on each side, 1/4" from the edge of the mask. Remove the pins as you sew, do not sew over the pins.
  10. Turn the mask so that the seam made in step one is at the top and the pleats open toward the top of the mask. Make a mark 7/8" from the top pleat on each side. Pin the top pleat to the 7/8" mark on each side.
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  12. Sew the 7/8" pleat down on both sides of the mask. This final pleat allows the mask to cup over your nose and to hug the sides of your face.
  13. Trim the side seams on the mask about 1/16" but no more than 1/8" to clean up the threads and straighten the sides. The mask is done.
  14. To make the straps, cut out 2 strips of fabric 1 1/2" x 36".
  15. Fold the strips in half to mark the center.
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  17. On the mask, mark the center on the 2 sides. Pin the center of the strip to the center of the mask on the short side, right sides together. Sew at 1/4". Repeat for the other side.
  18. On the long sides of both strips press in 1/4". I finger pressed rather than using an iron.
  19. Double fold the strip to enclose the edge of the mask, pin.
  20. Next fold the rest of the strip in half wrong sides together and pin. Sew along the open edge, slightly in from the edge to close along the entire length of both strips. Back stitch at the beginning and the end.
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  22. Clip any loose threads.
  23. Wash before wearing.
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