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How to make a comfortable pleated and wired face mask
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5 from 1 vote

Comfortable Pleated and Wired Face Mask

Face masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future, so we may as well be comfortable and cute about it! Here's how I make a Comfortable Pleated and Wired Face Mask
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 1 Mask
Author: Marie Porter
Cost: $5

Equipment

Sewing Machine
Wire Cutters
Pliers
Scissors
Pins

Ingredients

For each mask:

  • 1 7 x 9" piece of printed cotton
  • 1 7 x 9" piece of plain cotton
  • Elastic of choice* OR
  • Adjustable ear loops
  • 1 16 or 18 gauge uncoated florist wire
  • Thread to match

Instructions

  • First, determine which style of elastic you’re doing with:
  • Ear Loop: Cut 2 pieces of elastic, 7“ each.
  • Ties: Cut 4 pieces of elastic, 12 “ each
  • Pull On: Cut two pieces of elastic, 10 and 12.5“
  • For all styles:
  • Lay the printed fabric out, good side up, longest from side to side, as shown.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Determine which long edge will be the top edge of the mask, place that side facing away from you.
  • Place the elastic and affix:

Ear Loop:

  • Pin one end of the elastic to one of the upper corners at an angle - as shown - so that the bulk of the elastic piece is over the center of the mask
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Without twisting the elastic, pin the other end of the elastic piece to the lower corner of that same side, so that the same side of the elastic is facing up.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Repeat on the other side.

Pull On:

  • Pin one end of the longer piece of elastic to one of the “top” corners, at an angle as pictured.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Pin the other end of that piece to the other top corner, being careful not to twist it.
  • Repeat with the shorter piece of elastic on the bottom corners
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial

Ties:

  • Pin one end of one piece of elastic to one of the 4 corners, at an angle, as shown.
  • Repeat on all remaining corners.

For all styles:

  • Place your plain fabric good side down (if applicable) on the printed piece.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Holding the elastic in place, carefully remove the pin and re-pin through all three layers.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Making sure all the elastic is tucked in, place a pin about halfway across the top edge. This is to remind you which the top is.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Starting about halfway on the bottom edge, start sewing a straight seem (backtracking over the first couple of stitches to anchor it) around the edge of the mask. I like to align the edge of my presser foot with the edge of my fabric.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Be very careful not to sew through the elastic at any point other than the corners. You may need to carefully reach in between the fabric to coax fabric away from the seam you are sewing at the time.
  • As you come close to each corner, drop your machine needle, lift your presser foot, and pivot your mask before continuing.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • As you approach the starting point, stop your seam 2-3" away, backtrack to anchor your seam. Remove from sewing machine, trim your thread ends.
  • Trim your corners - being careful to not cut too close to the seam - and set it aside for now.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Use your wire cutters to cut a 5.5 “ length of florist wire.
  • Use your pliers to bend the very end of the wire backwards - as small a length as possible.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Squeeze the bend to flatten it as much as possible.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • If your wire is bent at all, try to straighten it out as much as possible.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Set your sewing machine to a wide zig zag and relatively short stitch length.
  • Center your wire over the top - complete - seam, hold in place.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Starting on the inside of one of the wire ends, CAREFULLY AND SLOWLY zig zag over the wire, close to the original seam. Be sure to keep the wire centered under your presser foot, and remember to anchor both ends of the seam with backtracking.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Trim your thread ends.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Carefully turn the mask right side out. I like to reach in and grab one end of the wire and gently coax that out - keeping it as straight as possible - before tugging at the elastics to get the corners out.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Smooth everything out, ensuring that the corners are fully popped out and seams are centered on the outer edges.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • You can iron it at this point if you like - I’m too lazy to, to be quite honest.
  • Pleat the mask 2 times - folds pointing towards the bottom of the mask - using whatever pleating technique you like.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • I basically just freehand it on one side, then more-or-less match on the other side. You may be more fastidious with it than I am :)
  • Iron the pleats if you’re into that sort of thing, and pin into place.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • With the right side facing up, start sewing a straight seam around the edge. I like to do this at about “edge of the presser foot” on the short sides, and a bit closer on the bottom edge.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • As you approach the open section of the bottom edge, tuck the raw edges in, lining up the ends of the seam, and sew it closed.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • As you start the final - top - edge, be sure that the outer seam is centered on the actual edge, and sew a wider seam - edge of presser foot or a bit wider - keeping the wire enclosed and away from the seam you’re sewing.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • End seam at the first corner, backtrack to anchor, and trim your threads.
  • Bend mask wire at the mid point of the mask - I like to do this over a finger, to keep the bend rounded.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • Bend back the sides of the wire a bit, to flatten the mask and prepare it for wearing.
    Wired and Pleated Mask Tutorial
  • To wear the mask, center it on your face and pinch the wire to mold it over your nose. Smooth the ends of the wire over your cheeks to customize the fit.

For Ear Loop and Pull On Styles:

  • Try mask on. If elastics feel too big, pinch an end near the mask to fit, pin in place. Use a straight seam to secure.
  • Measure the amount pinched off, remove that from the length called for, when making your next mask.

Notes

* I like ¼" for ear loops, and a little wide - ⅜"- if going around the back of the head.
For the “ties” style, you can use cord, ribbon, or bias tape instead of elastic, if you like... just cut them a little longer, as they won't have the benefit of stretch.