Simple Step By Step Tutorial How to Sew the Olson Face Mask Pattern – child sizes too

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Learn how to sew an easy face mask using my easy to follow instructions and free pattern templates. Even if you haven’t sewn face masks before – you can do it! I even have a video tutorial so you can see me make one in just a few minutes.

The Olson Mask Pattern was designed by medical professionals to be used when other surgical and N95 masks are not available. Most agree that it is the best pattern available for homemade face masks, and I think so too!

This DIY face mask includes 2 layers of fabric and is curved to fit the nose and mouth area. There is a pocket on the inside to hold a filter if you want to use one, but you don’t have to.

UPDATE: I recently drafted a similarly shaped mask pattern that uses comfortable adjustable ear loops. See my new free pattern here!

After you are vaccinated, you can sew a pretty Vaccination Card Holder Wallet to keep your record in.

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Download the free (adult sized) Olson Mask PDF pattern here.

Olson Face Mask Template in Children’s Sizes

(If you have any printing issues, please make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader – it’s free – and then print at 100%. I’ve heard that printing using a mobile device does not result in the correct size.)

Here are some additional resources you might find helpful:

I have made many masks with this pattern to share with family members and healthcare workers in my community. They prefer this style over the kind with binding and pleats. After sewing a bunch, I was able to streamline the original instructions for how to sew the face mask that are included with the templates.

The photo tutorial below was written with permission and is not meant to replace the Olson Mask Pattern, but accompany it. There are also some good Q&A’s here.

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By request, I have re-sized the mask templates to make child sized face masks in two different sizes. The pattern templates for kids’ masks include:

  • the face, mouth, and cheek templates in size child’s small for ages 2-5 (page 1)

  • the face, mouth and cheek templates in size child’s large for ages 6-10 (page 2)

Cutting and sewing instructions are the same for the child sized fabric masks. Print the pages at 100% scale.

How to Sew the Olson Face Mask Pattern

You will need:


The Olson Mask Pattern has 6 pattern templates and specifies cutting one from each template. You may save time by only using templates Mouth 1, Cheek 1, and Face 1.

Layer the fabric with wrong sides facing.

Layer the fabric with wrong sides facing.

Cut 2 from Cheek 1, Face 1, and Mouth 1 templates.

Cut 2 from Cheek 1, Face 1, and Mouth 1 mask templates.

Cut 2 each from pattern templates Cheek 1, Face 1, and Mouth 1.

When cutting, layer the fabric with wrong sides facing so you can cut the two pieces at once and they will be reversed.

Sew Single Hems

Take the cheek pieces and mouth pieces to your ironing board.

1. Press the longest straight raw edge on the cheek pieces over to the wrong side by 1/4’’.

2. Press the straight edge on the mouth pieces over to the wrong side by 1/4’’.

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3. Sew along the fold on all of these pieces to make simple single hems.

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Sew the Curved Mouth and Face Edges

1/4’’ seam allowance allowed.

1. Place the two ‘Face’ pieces right sides together and sew along the curved edge.

2. Place the two ‘Mouth’ pieces right sides together and sew along the curved edge.

Pin and Sew the DIY Mask Pieces Together

1. Place the cheek pieces and the mouth piece (sewn along the curve) on your workspace, with the right sides of the fabric down as seen above. If necessary, refer to the templates to ensure that you are not arranging any of them upside down.

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2. Allow the cheek pieces to overlap on top of the mouth piece by about 1’’ and pin at the top and bottom of each cheek piece.

Do not worry too much about how much to overlap the mouth piece with the cheek pieces right now – you will adjust them for an accurate fit in the next step.

This is the ‘inside piece.’

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3. Place the pinned ‘inside piece’ on top of the face piece, right sides together.

Match the pieces together at the center seams and place pins at the top and bottom center.

4. Line up the straight edges on the sides and pin.

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5. Now carefully remove one of the pins that holds the mouth and cheek pieces together. Smooth and adjust out the fabrics so that they fit nicely between the sides and the center seam.

Re-pin through all layers.

7. Repeat for all 4 pins that attached the cheek pieces to the mouth piece.

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8. Sew all the way around the mask with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

At each of the corners:

  • stop with the needle down

  • lift the presser foot

  • turn the fabric

  • put the presser foot down

  • continue sewing

When you come to the place where you started sewing, continue sewing on top of your first few stitches and then backstitch to secure.

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9. To reduce bulk, trim away extra fabric at the corners, without cutting the stitching. You can safely cut to within 1/8’’ of the stitching.

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10. Turn the face mask right side out through one of the openings next to the cheek piece. Don’t try to turn through both openings at once, that will get tangled. 🙂

Press the mask to make it look nice. The filter pocket is the outer layer of blue fabric shown above. You can make your own filter using filter fabric that provides better filtration of most particles (compared to most fabrics). See how.

A nose piece wire (made of pipe cleaner or twist ties) can be placed in this pocket if you like. You may also stitch across this pocket 1/2” below the top edge to make a casing for the wire.

11. Place one side edge through a hair elastic and fold over by about 1/2’’.

Stitch the side seam down, backstitching at the beginning and end to secure well.

Of course, you may use other types of elastic (such as elastic cord or 1/4” elastic) or make drawstring ties, depending on the needs of the user and the resources available.

Tip: if you cannot find 1/4’’ elastic, try 1/2’’ fold over elastic (FOE). This flat elastic is soft and flexible – maybe even better than regular 1/4’’ elastic for making mask ties.

Always follow up to date guidelines on mask usage. Prevention is key! Here is the Center for Disease Control guidance regarding homemade face masks:

HCP {healthcare personnel} use of homemade masks:
In settings where surgical masks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE {personal protective equipment}, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face. {source of quote at}

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Finally, you’ll need a Face Mask Wallet to carry your mask and other essentials with you…

Stay healthy and safe!


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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂