How-To: Pleated Face Mask with Pocket by Vera Wang

Vera Wang Pleated Face Mask Tutorial

This is a 2-Layer Pleated Face Mask with Filter Pocket (and optional nose wire)! I was looking for an efficient and simple design for a Face Mask with Filter Pocket and decided on trying this one. This simple construction is by Vera Wang and requires no pattern. It can be worn as a 2-Layer Mask or with an additional layer inserted into the pocket. According to Vera Wang, this can also be worn as a cover for N95 Masks. Below is my tutorial (7 easy steps) and the original video tutorial by Vera Wang.

Pleated Face Mask with Pocket

There are many excellent pleated mask designs from experienced sewers out there. I went with this one because it was an efficient use of fabric and suitable for creating a large volume of face masks! It was also designed by professional apparel sewers based on specific medical guidelines for this type of mask. It looks like they use a heavyweight cotton muslin for the entire mask but I chose a printed fabric (100% Cotton) along with a light to medium weight cotton muslin (100% Cotton). I omitted the nose wire because wire tape is hard to find and could not find a suitable alternative.

Pleated Face Mask with Pocket Pleated Face Mask with Pocket Pleated Face Mask with Pocket

Video Tutorial

Materials
Outer Layer (Quilting Cotton, 100% Cotton)
Pocket Flaps (Cotton Muslin, 100% Cotton)
1/4″-Wide Elastic Tape (Two 6.5″ each)
Wire Tape (7″ optional)
Thread

Finished Size
Adult One Size
7.5″ x 3.75″, Pleated

Instructions
1. Cut
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
Cut 1 Square 8″ x 8″ (for outer layer).
Cut 2 Squares 8″ x 5″ (for pocket).
Cut 2 Elastics 6.5″ (for straps)

2. Hem
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
Hem pocket pieces along edge lengthwise (one side only) with 1/4″ seam allowance.

3. Stack
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
With Right Sides facing each other, stack pocket flaps on top of square with hemmed edges across the center (from left to right). Make sure the upper flap is overlapping the lower flap.

Pocket Flaps will be overlapping at center. Pocket Flap hems should run horizontal across square. Upper Flap should overlap Lower Flap.

4. Sew
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
With square oriented as above- Beginning at middle of piece where flaps overlap, sew down to corner using 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew until 1/4″ from edge of fabric.

Without lifting needle, pivot square. Seamed side should now be at top.

Open flaps up, place elastic tape between fabric. Align cut edge of elastic flush against fabric (raw edge) and top seam. Backstitch in place. Continue sewing down to corner.

Pivot. Pick up elastic, align loose end to fabric edge as as above. Place same as above. Backstitch in place. Make sure elastic is not twisted.

Sew until next corner. Pivot, repeat above 2 steps.

Finish sewing the remaining half. If adding wire tape, do so here. (Instructions in video)

5. Turn Inside Out
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
Turn inside out. This should reveal the elastic straps with pocket opening running parallel to the straps.

6. Mark Pleats
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
With outside of mask facing you and straps oriented to sides, mark pleats along edges with straps. 1 1/4-inch pleat, 3/4-inch gap.

7. Topstitch
Pleated Face Mask with Pocket
With pocket flaps facing down (and outside of masking facing you), begin topstitching on an edge without a strap. Sew from one corner to the next.

Pivot. Fold and sew pleats until next corner. Make sure to maintain the 1/4″ seam allowance.

Repeat above pleat instructions. Backstitch to finish.

Makes 3 pleats.

Pleated Face Mask with Pocket Pleated Face Mask with Pocket Pleated Face Mask with Pocket

Options for Face Mask Filters or Liners
I cannot recommend a definitive filter liner. I do not believe there is one out there yet that has been mandated. But I am sure many suitable choices can be found by beginning a search on Google. If there are reliable options out there, please feel free to post in comments.

Otherwise, any 3rd layer is always more effective. As long as it is still breathable. Here are some alternatives I have seen:

  • Disposable Paper Towels
  • Disposable Industrial Shop Rags
  • Any type of Hepa-Type Filter
  • Coffee Filters

Among those, I would recommend the simple Paper Towel. They are plentiful, single-use, and can provide some 3rd layer protection while being breathable.

Options for Flexible Nose Wire
I have seen many alternatives from pipe cleaners to copper wire being used in fabric face masks. But none of them are effectively washable. And washing a reusable mask often is critical in keeping it free of germs. So unless they are removable, they’ll degrade in the wash or damage the mask during washing. The only suitable option I have seen is Flexible Apparel Wire Tape.

Pattern Design by Vera Wang.

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