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The Ten-Minute Mask by Beth Darrah

Posted on March 28 2020

Hello everyone, I'm Beth Darrah and I'm here because I need your help. It's time to rally the troops and help our world overcome this COVID-19 global pandemic. You can be a hero, do your part, and help save lives from behind your sewing machine. And it will only take 10 minutes at a time. So let's do this together. We've got this! 

The 10-Minute Mask is a fitted mask and filter pocket with a few different purposes. 

    • To be worn over a frontline healthcare worker's N95 respirator mask to prolong the life of their personal protective equipment. 
    • To be worn by other hospital employees who are not directly encountering infectious patients. 
    • To be worn by symptomatic patients to contain their coughs or sneezes.
    • To be worn by visitors to hospitals (i.e. a father who is present for the birth of his child, etc).  
    • And as a last resort, to be worn in place of an N95 mask by frontline healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 patients (in accordance with the CDC guidelines found here).   

CDC guidelines for PPE

This mask takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. It takes even less time if you do several at a time (like an assembly line). Check out my video walk-through, step-by-step visual guide and a text-only version for printing below. 

Download the text-only printable guide here.

10-Minute Mask Step-by-Step Visual Guide

  • ¼ yard of tightly woven cotton (quilting cotton works great) or a fat quarter.
  • Nose wire. Here are a few options:
             - Panacea Plant Training Wire (Lowes)
             - Vigoro Plastic Twist (Home Depot)
             - Wideskall Plant Twist Tie (Walmart)
  • Knit fabric strip 30” wide and ½” long (an old t-shirt works great).
             - Alternately, you can use 30" of 1/4" or similar elastic or fold-over elastic, bias tape or other types of ties. Knit fabric is easy to find, inexpensive and easy to work with, so I recommend using it if your donation requester will accept it.
  • Sewing machine and notions

Seam allowance is 3/8" and is already included in the pattern.

1. Download the 10-Minute Mask PDF here. **You must SAVE the PDF to your device and open in Adobe Acrobat Reader to print it correctly**
Download free Adobe Acrobat Reader here

2. Print pdf file* as follows:
print instructions
*After printing, check that the 1” test square on the pattern printed at 1”. 

A note about children's sizes: 
  • For toddlers, print pattern at 60% custom scale above.
  • For kids ~5 to 9 years old, print the pattern at 80% custom scale above.
  • For kids ~10 to 12 years old, print the pattern at 90% custom scale above.

3. Cut two mirror image pieces of outer mask (full pattern piece).
face mask pattern piece

4. Cut two mirror image pieces of inner mask (fold on vertical line marked “inner).
inner lining face mask pattern

You should have 4 pieces like this:

5. Pin outer pieces right sides together and sew along the long curve.
6. Repeat with the two inner pieces.
sew curve

7. Create a ½” pleat roughly in the middle on the short vertical edges of all four pieces and press. Don’t worry about being precise here. *You can even leave out the pleat if it’s making you anxious!*

8. Zigzag stitch or serge those short sides. 
sides sewn

9. With right sides together, pin the top edges and bottom edges of your inner mask to your outer mask, aligning the center seams.
top and bottom seams

10. Zigzag stitch or serge the top and bottom of the mask.
11. Optional: Use a wide zigzag stitch to stitch the nose wire along top curved edge of mask. 
  • If wearing over an N95 mask, nose wire may not be necessary (check with your donation requester). 
  • If wearing alone, the nose wire will help create a tighter seal.
    nose wire unsewn
      nose wire sewn

      12. Turn your mask right sides out and press the top and bottom seams.
      press top and bottom

      13. With inner (shorter) side facing up, fold and press the outer mask flaps about ½” to the inside, but do not overlap the inner mask (or else you’ll close up your filter pocket).
      create channels

      14. Straight stitch your outer mask flap edges down to create your elastic/tie channels.
      sew side channels

      15. Feed your elastic or knit ties up through the bottom of the mask.
      feed tiesties through mask

      Congrats, you did it! Thanks for helping us stay safe!

      finished mask
      face mask fit pic front
      Mask fit upper tieMask fit lower tie
      Beth Darrah is a self-taught sewist who enjoys strike-off sewing, blogging and photography. Click here to follow Beth on Instagram.


      • Bethany Darrah: April 09, 2020

        Hi Anita, if you’re tying the elastic in a knot, use 7" long pieces of elastic. If you’re sewing the ends of the elastic together, go with around 5" long. Try one on after you’re done and check the fit. I’d probably recommend just tying elastic in a knot if you’re giving it away, so the recipient can adjust the fit.

      • Anita: April 09, 2020

        If I am looping 1/4" elastic for over the ears, what length of 1/4" elastic for each size of mask?

      • Bethany Darrah: April 07, 2020

        Thank you so much, Nina!! :)

      • Bethany Darrah: April 07, 2020

        Hi Nancy! Great questions!
        - Yes, I’m using both needles in my serger
        - I’m leaving my zigzag stitch length at 1.4mm, but I widen the stitch to 4.5mm (normally 3.5mm). Definitely will depend on what type of wire you’re using though.
        - I actually tried feeding my wire through the serger looper stitches, and I think eventually it would work, but it was quicker for me to just zigzag over it in the end.
        Thank you so much!!

      • Nina Langenmayr: April 07, 2020

        I really love this mask pattern. Thank you!

      • Nancy Mumford: April 07, 2020

        Are you using both needles in your serger? What is the Stitch length for zigzagging over the wire? Could you feed floral wire into serger casing instead of zigzagging?
        Thanks for your video!

      • Maureen t Blackmun: April 07, 2020

        Thank you. This is a great pattern and mask. Thank you

      • Meme : April 07, 2020

        Could you write the measurements out? I don’t have a printer available.

      • Bethany Darrah: April 03, 2020

        Eileen, please send our sincerest thanks to your son for keeping us safe. And to you for keeping him and his fellow officers safe as well <3

      • Ron Schneider: April 03, 2020

        Wow! Great Thank you.

      • Eileen Sayler: April 03, 2020

        Thank you for this pattern. It seems perfect for my needs. Sewing for my police officer son. I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot for other officers as well.

      • Mary: April 01, 2020

        Prayers for you and your families safe health.

      • Bethany Darrah: April 01, 2020

        Mary, you’re very welcome! Thank you for sewing up masks, especially for vulnerable populations like this. It’s so critical if we’re going to get through this with the least amount of losses. Glad I could provide a pattern tutorial to help :)

      • Mary: April 01, 2020

        Thank you for this!
        My son in law works at the local rescue mission and there are 40 men staying there right now. I’m not sure if they are allowed to leave since we are in an ordered stay at home zone, but they are definitely a vulnerable population. My son in law has been using the same N95 mask for way too long. I like this mask because filters can be inserted, and I have read that Filtrete 1500 furnace filters have the filter material that would be very close to N95 filtration. I have one of those and a roll of the plant ties ordered and waiting for me to pick up curbside at my local Ace Hardware!
        Thank you so much!!

      • Bethany Darrah: March 31, 2020

        You’re welcome, Wendy! I have been experimenting with this, and I found that printing the pattern at 80% size fits my 5 year old pretty well. 90% size would probably be good for 8-12 year olds. And I’d suggest full size for teens. Does that make sense?

      • Bethany Darrah: March 31, 2020

        Michelle, that’s awesome, I’m so glad you’re able to make masks for your friend now!

      • Wendy Williamson: March 31, 2020

        Thanks for the video! Do you have a pattern for children?

      • Michelle B: March 31, 2020

        Using the knit fabric for ties is genius! I didn’t want to go out-and finding elastic is nearly impossible! and I really didn’t want to make bias tape! This will be perfect!! Working on 20 masks for now for a friend who’s a phlebotomist.

      • Bethany Darrah: March 28, 2020

        You’re very welcome, Linda! I could not find elastic anywhere either! But as it turns out, I think knit strips are more comfortable to wear than elastic :)

      • Linda Yates: March 28, 2020

        Thanks for the video and pattern. I quit making masks because the type I was making required elastic and I couldn’t find any. Using old t-shirts would have never crossed my mind. I like that this can be used with filters or the N95 masks. Thanks again.

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