Sewing Directions


  • Fabric: 100% cotton fabric, think quilting material. You can use 12″ fat quarters and cut through several pieces of fabric at once, like the ones here.
  • Filter: If creating the filter insert option, can use HEPA filter vacuum bags cut to size.
  • Straps/ties:
    • Bias tape: fold on itself so that raw edges are not exposed. Sew down the middle to reinforce. Need 36″ each side of mask (i.e. 72″ per mask total)
    • Shoelaces: make great ties because they are durable. You can buy in bulk, here.
    • Make your own out of fabric: Can take a 36″ yard fabric, cut into 2 inch wide strips. Fold raw edges inward so they’re touching. Fold again so that raw edges are concealed. Press and sew down center to reinforce. See below.


Here are instructions for creating the mask with option for filter insert. This mask takes significantly longer to make than the one without insert (scroll down for these instructions).

  1. Cut and assemble your pieces
After cutting you should have the following pieces. The top two are “outside pieces”, while the bottom four are inside, lining pieces.
Lie the top pieces on top of each other, with the “pretty” sides facing each other, or also known as “right sides together”. Sew along the curved portion only with 1/4″ seam allowance. Reinforce the beginning and end of your stitch line.
Do the same thing with your lining pieces. Only sew along the curved sides.

2. Create a finished edge for the inside lining pocket where the filter will go.

Now take your top lining piece, with the raw sides facing upward. Fold up the bottom straight side 1/2″ and pin. Sew one stitch right down the center.
Fold again on top of itself, and now stitch along the bottom and top of that fold. From the opposite side it should look like the image below.
Now you’re going to do the same thing along the edge that I am point to above.
Once you open your fabric, it should look like this. Repeat what you did before with the top lining again here on the bottom lining.
You should now have two pieces that look like this.

3. Attach the lining to the outside (fish patterned) piece.

Now take your outside fish fabric and put the pretty side under the pretty side of the top lining, aka “right sides together”. You can do this easily by first matching up the points up top. You’ll notice that the lining is about half an inch short on the sides compared to the fish fabric (see above). This is meant to be. You’ll see why in a little bit. If the anticipation is killing you, see Step #4 to answer your question.
Do the same thing with the bottom lining, but align to the bottom. To make it easier, line the center points first.
Sew along the bottom with 1/4″ seam allowance. Reinforce the ends, always. Repeat on top.
Now you’re going to turn it inside out
Fold up the bottom like so.
Now we are going to do a top stitch close to the edge so that the crease stays “creased”, for a lack of a better term.
Here I am doing the topstitch close to the edge.
The topstitch can be seen along the bottom.
Repeat along the top.

4. Create the pocket for the strap to feed through.

Now fold the hanging edge of fish fabric onto the lining. (Mystery solved as to why it’s longer!)
Pin in place.
Sew down the center.
It should look like this now.
Then fold it again over itself and pin.
Now you are going to sew very close to the left edge so that you create a “tube” that your strap can fit through.
It should now look like this. Repeat on the other side.

5. Reinforce your straps and attach to the mask.

Cut your 2 pieces of bias tape into 38″ lengths. Fold it onto itself and sew down the middle to reinforce it.
Use the safety pin technique to feed the strap through the tube that you created previously.
It should look like this. Pull it through to where about 18″ is on top. You can also try the mask on to measure how long you want the straps to be.
Secure the straps to the mask by sewing back and forth along the center.


This mask is two pieces of fabric thick and does not contain a removable filter. It is significantly faster to make than the previous version.

For this version you will only need the outside (patterned) fabric, and the larger duo of lining fabric.

Follow the directions above (sew curved sides together under #1).

You’ll then pin right sides together and sew along the pinned sides, 1/4″ seam allowance. Do NOT sew along right and left sides because you’re going to have to turn this inside out after you sew it.
Turn it inside out so that the finished sides are facing out. Now you know why you couldn’t sew the sides.
Topstitch close to the edge so that it stays creased together nicely.
This is how it should look now.

Now go to step #4 in the above directions to finish it off by adding the straps. Voila!

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