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4 Best Fitted Face Mask Patterns (Fit-Tested by Hospitals)

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends fitted face masks that “fit closely over the nose, cheeks and chin of the wearer” (source, page 10). This is to stop/reduce unfiltered air moving in or out of the mask through gaps.

I’m going to share face mask patterns that fit closely around the nose, cheeks, and chin, as they suggest. These are ALL free printable patterns.

One source I used was a video by healthcare worker and Youtuber Sewstine. She did an experiment to find the best fitting DIY face mask. She made 4 face masks and put them through a hospital fit test.

A fit test checks whether a mask fits perfectly with no air leaks. Only 1 mask passed the fit test for her and her 3 female colleagues.

She filmed the whole process for Youtube. I’ll be summarising what she said and which pattern won.

An important thing to know is just because a mask passed a fit test for someone else, it doesn’t mean it would pass for you. Everyone’s face shape is unique, so you’ll probably need to make adjustments to remove gaps in your mask.

Note: WHO also recommends using 3 layers and flexible nose pieces, which I explain further in this post on how to make 3 layer face masks.

4 best fitting face mask patterns

Contents list:

  1. Rounded face mask pattern with a beak by UF Health
  2. Duckbill face mask pattern
  3. Pleated face mask pattern by UF Health
  4. ‘Olson’ face mask pattern by Instructables

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Rounded face mask pattern with a ‘beak’ (UF Health)

2 medical workers in blue scrubs and diy face masks
The mask worn by medical workers. Photo credit: Sewstine
diy face mask being fit tested in a hospital
Hospital fit testing in progress. Photo credit: Sewstine.

The University of Florida Health (UF Health) created this pattern. The design includes:

  • A nose wire.
  • Ties around the head.
  • Lots of space in front of the mouth. The shape reminds me of a beak.

This was fit-tested by UF Health on 20+ volunteers (source). It was fit-tested again by medical worker and Youtuber Sewstine. Her hospital tested it on 3 women and it passed, but only with skin tape where there was gaping.

Download the pattern for free from the university website.

Here’s their sewing tutorial:

The problem with this mask is that it’s designed for a specialist material called Halyard H600. It doesn’t fray, so the sewing tutorial leaves the edges raw. This wouldn’t work for normal woven fabric, so you’ll need to make changes to the instructions yourself.

Similar patterns with easier instructions

This style with a “beak” at the front reminds me of the Jesse mask. This mask is designed for normal woven fabric, so you can follow the instructions without making changes.

jesse mask worn by child
Front view of the Jesse mask. Photo credit: The Fabric Patch
side view of jesse mask worn by child
This Jesse mask has been shortened on the sides for this child. Photo credit: The Fabric Patch

Here’s a video sewing tutorial (the actual sewing starts at 23:18):

Note: I’m not aware of any fit-testing results for this pattern.


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Duckbill face mask pattern

woman wearing a blue diy duckbill face mask
Photo credit: Sewstine

This is one of the styles WHO suggested in their official documents (source, page 10).

Youtuber and medical worker, Sewstine, sewed and fit-tested a duckbill mask. She drafted the sewing pattern herself, so it’s not publicly available.

She liked the fit of the mask, but it failed hospital fit-testing, even with skin tape. She did think that with some modifications it might have passed.

If you want to make your own version, here’s a similar duckbill pattern and tutorial that a physician made. It includes 3 permanent layers, a nose wire, and elastic around the head. I’m not aware of any fit-testing results for this pattern.


Pleated face mask pattern

woman wearing a blue pleated face mask with ties
Photo credit: Sewstine

Sewstine tested the pleated mask pattern by the University of Florida Health (UF Health).

This pattern includes:

  • A nose wire
  • Ties around the head
  • Pleats

Sewstine’s hospital fit-tested this on 4 people and it failed, even with a nose wire and tape on the sides to reduce gaping.

However, the pattern designer, UF Health, did their own fit tests on 20+ volunteers (source). So it may or may not work for you.

Download the pattern for free from the university website.

Here’s their sewing tutorial:

The problem with this mask is that it’s designed for a specialist material called Halyard H600. It doesn’t fray, so the sewing tutorial leaves the edges raw. This wouldn’t work for normal woven fabric, so you’ll need to make changes to the instructions yourself.

Similar patterns with easier sewing instructions:

Selsey Medical Practice made a pleated mask pattern with a nose wire, 3 layers, and elastic ear hooks. The only change I would make is using DIY adjustable ear loops instead.

Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente has a pleated mask pattern with ties and 2 layers. There’s no nose wire.

Note: I’m not aware of any fit-testing results for these alternative patterns.


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Olson mask by Instructables

woman wearing a blue olson face mask by instructables
Photo credit: Sewstine

Sewstine liked the design and fit of this mask, she said it felt the most comfortable, but it failed the hospital fit test even with tape.

The sewing pattern and instructions are on the Instructables website.

Similar patterns:

A similar mask was designed by healthcare provider Unity Point Health. Their version includes 3 permanent layers, a filter pocket, and elastic ear hooks.

Here’s their video sewing tutorial:

Note: I’m not aware of any fit-testing results for this pattern.


Related posts:

How to Make 3 Layer Face Masks According to WHO

7 Ways to Make Adjustable Ear Loops & Straps for Face Masks

41 Mask Patterns Approved by 64 Hospitals (+ PDF Printables)

BEST Toddler & Child Face Mask Patterns + Measurements


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Sources

Sewstine’s full comparison video of all 4 mask designs:

World Health Organization. ‘When and how to use masks’. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks [Last updated: 5 Aug 2020]

World Health Organization. ‘Advice on the use of masks…’. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak [published: 5 June 2020]

Sewstine. ‘I sewed and fit tested four different face masks…’. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZBbkn-g-vE&feature=emb_title [published: 1 April 2020]