How to Make a DIY Fabric Face Mask
Hello there! It’s been a while since my first face mask post, and I never dreamed we would still be needing them this long. Sigh. So, I’ve decided to try a different design. This one is adjustable, you can tie it and size it to fit around your ears or your head; Plus it is reversible so you can easily match more outfits! 😂 Below is an easy tutorial for how to make a DIY fabric face mask with a FREE pattern too.
Fabric Face Mask Designs
I really like this mask design because it is slightly more fitted to the contours of your face than my pleated face mask, HERE. It is also a bit more tailored-looking.
Choosing the best fabrics for a face mask
The CDC recommendation is to use 100% cotton fabric for the front and lining of the DIY mask. You might consider t-shirt material or flannel also depending on the weather where you are.
How much fabric for a face mask?
Masks take very little fabric. You should be able to make approximately four masks if you buy a 1/4 yard of material for the outside and 1/4 for the lining. This may vary slightly depending on the width of your fabric. You can go with plain, white cotton for the lining fabric or choose a fun complimentary design for the reversible side to extend the style of your mask-wearing.
Here are the materials you will need to make a reversible and adjustable fabric face mask.
Sewing Supplies for DIY Fabric Face Mask
(affiliate links in blue)
Free Mask Pattern Download HERE
Outside Fabric 100% tightly woven cotton
Lining Fabric 100% tightly woven cotton
Flat Elastic 1/8 HERE or 1/4 elastic HERE, or
Thin Cord Elastic HERE or
Sewing Straight Pins HERE
Rotary Cutter or Sewing Scissors
Straight Edge for cutting, optional
Ruler or Measuring Tape
Iron not pictured
Cardboard for Pattern optional
Sewing Board, HERE or
Safe Cutting Surface, HERE
Helpful Sewing Tools to make a DIY Mask
The sewing supplies I found most helpful for this mask design were the rotary cutter, a straight edge for cutting, and my trusty iron.
Rotary cutters make it a bit easier for cutting around tight, small curves with more precision without picking up the small pieces of fabric. Of course, scissors would work as well.
An iron, while not mandatory, is always a great sewing tool to have on hand. It will finish all of the mask pieces nicely while you sew, and your finished product will look and lay better. You can definitely do without an iron though too!
Quick Start Guide to Make a Face Mask
Below is a condensed overview of the 8 step process to make a reversible fabric and adjustable fabric face mask. For the detailed written instructions, just scroll a little farther down the page…
Step by Step Instructions
Below is a full description of how to make a DIY fabric face mask. Time to pull out the sewing machine. Let us begin.
Cutting Out the Fabric
1 Download the Free Mask Pattern. HERE Cut 2 pieces of material for the outside fabric and 2 for the lining fabric.
You will be able to reverse the mask if you choose, so both sides could be fun prints and patterns, but you can just use a plain white lining for one side and choose to not reverse it if you prefer.
Starting to Sew
2 With the right sides of the 2 outside fabric pieces together, sew along the curve, using a 1/4 inch seam. Be sure to reinforce both ends with a backstitch. Now do the same thing with the 2 lining pieces of fabric.
3 Open up the 2 mask parts. If you want to iron the center seam to one side, for each piece, go for it. When you get the hang of sewing without pressing first you can skip to step number 4.
4 Now, topstitch down the center of the mask appropriately 1/8” (3mm) from the seam, catching the seam allowance that is on the other side, underneath. This gives a tailored finish and also secures the seam flat on the other side. When you sew, be sure to backstitch both at the start and finish to be safe. See the photo for reference.
5 Place the right sides of outside fabric and the lining fabric pieces together, aligning all of the edges. Trim a 3/4 inch wide, vertical strip off at each end of the mask. This will prevent the casing from getting too bulky.
Now, sew one line of stitching across the top of the mask, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and one row of stitching across the bottom. Secure by backstitching both ends on top and bottom.
6 Turn mask right side out. Press all edges open and flat.
Finishing and Detailing your Mask
7 On the front of the mask, turn each side edge under twice, 1/4 inch each time to cover and protect raw edges. Then, topstitch across the top and across the bottom, catching the folded ends on both sides to close up the raw edges. See the photo for reference.
8 Lastly, fold the side edges under an additional 1/2 inch to create the casing tube. Topstitch down the edge to finish the casing.
Threading your Mask
It’s super quick and easy now to thread your mask to wear around your ears or tie behind your head. Just thread your elastic, shoestring, or fabric tie through the casing and you are ready to wear. See below. You can remove the ties before you wash them if you want.
Use Elastic to secure your mask behind your Ears
You can use just the right amount of elastic to fit your head. A good length for the tieing over the ears is usually is between 6-8 inches, but use a thread to measure before you cut the elastic so as not to waste it. I would recommend using 1/8, 1/4, or cord elastic. Thread the elastic through the casing then tie the two ends in a knot. Pull the knot back into the tube to hide.
How to wear your Mask behind your head
To thread your mask for fastening behind your head, simply grab 2 ties, then thread one through the left casing and one through the right. Tie each set together in the back.
Adjustable Ties for your Mask
This mask is fully adjustable, but you will need to purchase elastic or make your own fabric ties. Here are some ideas.
There are many options available for elastic. Here are some of the best elastic for masks that I found on Amazon, and in an assortment of widths. Flat Elastic 1/8 inch elastic HERE or 1/4 inch elastic HERE, or Thin Cord Elastic HERE. You can also make knit ties for your ear loops, see below.
Making DIY Ties
If you prefer to tie your mask on behind your head, you can use bias tape, cotton twill tape, or shoelaces. Check out these 2 ways to make your own fabric ties. One is with knit fabric for stretch and the other one is for woven or knit fabrics.
Knit ties for your mask. It is super easy and fun to make knit or fabric ties, and they are super comfortable. Bonus, NO SEWING! You can actually use knit ties for tieing around the ears or your head. The easiest and quickest way to make cotton knit ties is with an old t-shirt or leggings. The knits with a bit of spandex will generally work best. If the fabric naturally curls in on itself, you’ve got a winner. To test cut a short strip and see what happens. If it curls, you are ready to make knit ties!
Now, simply cut the knit fabric in long 1/2 inch to 2 inch wide strips (or to your preference). BE SURE to cut your strips perpendicular to the curl. After cutting, hold the top with one hand and the bottom with the other, and stretch. The sides curl into one another, and WA-LA, you have the coolest fabric tie ever. See photo. Experiment with different knits and patterns too, (PLEASE NOTE) some work better than others.
Fabric ties for your mask. You can also sew fabric ties. It’s super easy, trust me! See this tutorial HERE to create your own cloth laces using the fabric you may already have in your stash. You can make them long or short, and as skinny or fat as you like. It takes less than 30 minutes, tops.😃
I hope you make this face mask style. You’ll really like the way it fits your face. It also looks so clean and simple. If you do make one, please let me know in the comment box below. I always love to hear what you are making.
Wishing you and yours good health!
For More Information
* Some products contain affiliate links. See the shop page for more information.
I am not a medical expert. The masks in this tutorial are not meant to replace N95 masks or any professional medical equipment used in healthcare or medical facilities. For expert advice on homemade masks and how to properly wear a homemade mask, see the CDC website.
Nonmedical versus Medical grade face masks
Please note, this is not a medical-grade mask. Medical grade face masks are usually for those working on the healthcare frontline. Nonmedical, reusable fabric face masks are for use to the general public.
When you are wearing it, make sure the cloth face mask covers your nose and mouth with a snug fit that does not touch your lips. Also, remember to wash your DIY face mask in hot water after you wear it in public.
This tutorial is for educational purposes only. These mask ideas and designs or anything created from this tutorial is not intended to be used to create a medical or similar device. These mask ideas and designs or anything created from this tutorial is not intended, nor has it been tested, to reduce or eliminate the transmission of any respiratory or airborne pathogen, allergen, or any type of particle or droplet, and on that basis, should not be used for any such purpose.
Cindy Munson, Be Brave and Bloom, and/or bebraveandbloom.com makes no warranties express or implied, that this tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is intended, or is suitable for use to reduce or eliminate the transmission of any respiratory or airborne pathogen, allergen, or any type of particle or droplet. Any user of this tutorial, design, or any product created from for anything other than educational purposes assumes the risk of serious injury or death. For information on how to reduce the transmission of pathogens, please consult a qualified and competent health care professional.