Updated: Jun 6
The Saint Francis Mask is quick to sew and fits very well thanks to the nose flap and elastic edges.
The Saint Francis Mask Cover was designed to speed up sewing time. The goal is to make masks quickly for donations without wasting any time or fabric. This 3-ply mask with a filter pocket can be made in under 5 minutes. You will get 18 masks from 1 yard of fabric; 12 for adults and 6 for kids.
Features of the Saint Francis Mask
Super fast and easy. Work on the right side of the fabric with every step
No pinning, no ironing, and no turning the mask inside out! YAY!
Zero wasted fabric (based on 1 yard)
Recycles household items (optional)
2 or 3-ply options
Has a filter pocket
Fits the face comfortably
Can be made for children and adults
Can be made with a serger (fastest), sewing machine or hand-stitched
Finishing options in case elastic is not available
Many fabric options so you can STAY HOME!!!
The mask is designed to be produced in volume. 1 yard of fabric yields 12 to 18 masks with no waste.
You need: The pattern (download now)
* 1 yard of clean cotton fabric 45 inched wide: source this by recycling old sheets, a pillowcase cut open, a men's dress shirt (cut open larger sizes), an extra-large, t-shirt cut open etc, etc OR use quilting cotton (please buy American cotton to support our economy!)
3-ply option: the inner layer is made from up-cycled dryer sheets collected (while maintaining social distancing) from friends and neighbors. I tested the method with quilting cotton, as shown in the photo, but now use dryer sheets.
* 5 yards of 1/4 in or 1/8 in elastic for 18 masks
Use strips of fabric, a glue stick, and iron to make 12 masks if elastic is unavailable
* Pencil, chalk or fabric marker
* 24" ruler or yardstick
* Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
For 18 Masks follow the first diagram.
Place the fabric, folded in half on a cutting surface
Use a ruler to divide the fabric into 3 x 12-inch strips as shown and cut
Starting at the open edge (selvage) cut 3 pieces again into 8.5-inch pieces. 12 total.
Cut the pieces at the fold into 6-inch pieces as shown. 6 total
If you don't have any elastic, you can also use larger (flat) hair ties. If not, follow the second diagram. The strips will be about 3/4 of an inch wide by 36" long. 12 total.
Cut 24 pieces of 9-inch elastic for the adult masks and 12 pieces of 7 inch for the kids
Speed Sewing Masks: Sewing Machine and Hand Sewing Method
Optional: Trim a used, pressed dryer sheet to 5 inches by 8 inches. Stitch it to the underside of the mask with a zig-zag stitch. The dryer sheet is narrower than the mask to eliminate bulkiness in the seam. Sew the interlining from about 1/4 inch from the edge (Photo 1 - I was off by a bit so 1 seam is a bit better gathered than the other). For a 2-ply mask, omit this step. A square of lightweight sew-in interfacing can also be used.
Fold the fabric at about 5.5 (4.5 for child size) inches with right sides out.
3. Fold the remaining 1 inch towards the back of the mask as shown. Fold again at 1/2 inch to make an accordion fold
4. Sew through all layers with the edge of the fabric to the edge of the foot (3/8 inch or 1 cm seam allowance). Clip the corners
5. Flip the corner so that the raw edge is enclosed
Tuck a 9-inch piece of elastic under the seam allowance. The fabric should start to fold automatically due to the previous stitching. Be sure to leave space (indicated with the pin) at the top. This opening will be used to tuck in the other end in the next step so be careful not to sew it closed.
If you are using strips, clip the top edge where the pin is. Use a long, narrow zig-zag stitch to create a casing. This is the slowest method but it works well. Repeat on the other side
Using a 3 step zig-zag, take a few stitches. Backstitch. Stitch to the end PULLING the elastic as tight as you can.
I am pulling as hard as I can on this elastic. You can see the spaces between the rows of knit. Stitch right to the end and backstitch to secure the sewing.
Tuck the remaining end of the elastic under the flap on an angle. Sew about 1 inch back and forth along the edge to secure and to tack down the pocket opening.
Both edges are sewn and the backside of the mask is neat and cleanly finished.
A finished Saint Francis mask made using a sewing machine. Note that the fabric pulls into a curved shape.
Making Strips for Ties
Take a strip and fold it in half. Press well. Fold the raw edges in. Use a glue stick to help keep the fabric folded. Press again. Done.
Thread the strips through the casings. Tie around the back of the neck and at the top of the head.
If you are donating these, remember to include care instructions and wrap them individually for sanitary reasons. I use fold top sandwich bags. I can buy 250 bags for around 2 dollars at the dollar store. We include a Scripture message with ours, the care instructions are on the back.
SuperSpeed Serger Method: Make 100 masks in a day easily.
To prepare, set up your serger for 4 thread stitching. I use stretchy nylon thread in the loopers to add pizzaz and more durability.
Serge the short edges with a chain stitching method. I stack all my cut rectangles and serge on end on every single piece, then turn the whole chain around and do the other side.
Trim the pieces apart. Make a stack of fabric with the pretty side down.
Fold the fabric at 5.5 (4.25 for child) inches and down 1 inch to make an envelope.
Disengage the blade
Put 1 edge of the elastic under the presser foot. Take a few stitches. Slip the second end of elastic under the foot and take a few more stitches
PULL! Keep stitching to the end of the mask.
Repeat until the stack is complete
With this method you can serge through a whole stack of fabric rectangles quickly. Actually, the cutting, packing, and trimming takes longer than the stitching :))
* Chain sewing means that you keep stitching without cutting the threads. Just push the next mask through the machine as shown in the first photo of this tutorial.
Two finished Saint Francis Masks ready to be wrapped and given out.
This design is named in honor of the amazing men and women working at Saint Francis Hospital in Bartlett, Tennessee. Thanks to their swift response to symptoms that had been dismissed by others, my life was saved in 2019.
It took months of trial and error with various patterns before I was able to punch out the volume I was looking for. I deeply appreciate all the feedback that was provided by neighbors and friends through the design process!