There are so many face mask tutorials going around right now with the massive shortage of masks that the nation is currently facing. Unfortunately, there is also a shortage on elastic. The good news is that I’m here to show you how to sew a mask with a filter pocket when you can’t find elastic. I’ve also posted a tutorial on how to sew a face mask without elastic (for a more basic mask without a pocket) and how to sew a face mask for kids using ponytail holders. But, if you are needing to know how to sew a mask with a pocket for filters, then this is an easy tutorial that you can follow and I will show you how to use headbands or ponytail holders instead of elastic!
How do you sew a mask with a filter pocket when you can’t find elastic? Cut 2 rectangles the size that you need for your mask. Cut the elastic headband into two pieces to the length that you need. Create a dart in the center of each rectangle. Unfold the fabric and fold down 1/4 inch seam along one the right side of long edge. Stitch along seam. Put the fabric, right sides together. and sandwich the elastic along the shorter edges. Sew around the rectangle, leaving a 2 inch opening along one of the long sides. Turn the mask right side out. Make 2 pleats along the shorter ends of the mask. Topstitch 2 times around the sides of the mask, and you are finished.
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How To Make A Mask With A Filter Pocket When You Can’t Find Elastic
Although homemade masks are not nearly as effective as the N95 masks, many hospitals are desperate for anything and are asking for handmade masks. Many other people are in need of masks too such as pharmacists, immunocompromised individuals and maintenance technicians. To make a handmade mask a little more effective, you can add a pocket where you can insert some type of filter. It might seem like a daunting task if you don’t have much experience with sewing, but adding a filter pocket couldn’t be easier.
If you are like most people, you probably can’t find elastic anywhere. A lot of hospitals are requesting masks with elastic instead of ties because the ties are difficult to wash since they can get tangled up in the wash. Instead, I’m going to show you how to use an elastic headband or ponytail holders to make your mask with a filter pocket. This is the perfect solution when you can’t find elastic! Even if you make your own mask, it still might not fit perfectly. Try one of these 5 Hacks To Help Your Mask Fit Properly for some quick fixes!
Materials Needed To Make A Mask With A Filter Pocket Without Elastic
Here’s what you will need:
- Fabric – 2 rectangles per mask
- Elastic Headbands or Ponytail Holders
- Sewing Pins
- Rotary Cutter or Scissors
- PDF Printable of Pattern
Instructions For How To Make A Face Mask With A Filter Pocket Using A Headband Or Ponytail Holders
There is a PDF printable of this tutorial along with measurements at the end of this post. But, it’s helpful to see photos of the process too.
1. Cut 2 rectangles the size that you need for your mask
The PDF has all of these measurements, but for a small/medium mask, cut your rectangle to be approximately 7X9, for a large mask – it needs to be 7 X 10.5.
2. Create a dart in the center of each rectangle to help the mask form over the nose and chin.
Fold the fabric in half and sew a small triangle wedge about 1/2 inch in length. See photo for reference.
3. Unfold the fabric and fold down 1/4 inch seam along the right side of one long edge of each rectangle.
Press with an iron.
4. Sew along the folded edge.
5. Cut the elastic headband into two pieces to the length that you need.
For a small/medium mask, the elastic needs to be about 5.5-6 inches. For a larger mask, make it about 6.5 inches.
6. Put the fabric, right sides together. Sandwich the elastic along the shorter edges.
Don’t put the elastic all the way to the corner, this makes it more difficult to sew later. Make it reach about 1/2 inch from the corner and pin. Bring the other side of the elastic up to the opposite corner and pin. So your elastic should be sandwiched in between the two pieces of fabric. Repeat this step on the other side.
7. Pin the rest of the fabric together.
The elastic is hidden in this photo because it’s in between the two pieces of fabric, on the shorter sides of the rectangle.
8. Sew around the rectangle, leaving a 4 inch opening along the long sides that have the folded edge.
You can make your seam as big or small as you want. I made mine about 1/2 inch. Go over the elastic a few times with the sewing machine to ensure that the seam is strong enough to hold it.
8. Turn the mask right side out.
Use a pencil or pointed object to poke out the corners.
9. Make 2 pleats along the shorter ends of the mask.
This doesn’t have to be exact, but you want to fold of the fabric and pin to create 2 pleats.
10. Topstitch 2 times around the sides of the mask.
You will want to topstitch at least 2 times to make sure the seams are strong.
The finished pocket is perfect for inserting a filter!
And the darts make it fit over your nose and chin perfectly.
For more mask tutorials, check out these other easy to follow posts: