24 Mar How to Make a Fabric Face Mask
In times like this, it’s easy to feel helpless. I’ve been trying to stay alert and help out as I can. One critical need that has emerged over the past several days is for more personal protective equipment. The medical community is running out of supplies to stay safe as they diagnose and treat patients. A huge shortage is for face masks. So, along with others across the country, I have begun volunteering my sewing skills. If you are looking to help too, here’s an easy tutorial for how to make a fabric face mask with an easy pattern.
Many organizations are calling for volunteers to make and donate fabric masks. If you are interested, I would suggest contacting your local hospitals and/or healthcare groups or go to their websites, first. There are so many cloth mask designs, including pleated and fitted, so many groups have specific patterns and requirements. This way you can make exactly what they are asking for.
Here in Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Allina Health, along with several community partners, are asking for masks made with a CDC-compliant pattern. I will be sharing their pattern in this post, but I have changed up the workflow a tiny bit to make it easier for me. If you want to check out the original directions, click here: Sew Good Goods
I am using 100% cotton print fabric for the front of the DIY mask and soft, white cotton for the inside or backing. 100% cotton t-shirt material also works great for the front and/or lining. As another backing option, they also suggest flannel depending on the weather where you are.😁
One yard of fabric is enough to make approximately 25 masks. Try to use what you have or connect with friends who can share supplies with you so you can stay home, social distance properly and be safe.☺️
Here’s what you will need to make a bunch of fabric face masks. Affiliate links in blue.
Sewing Supplies Materials List
2 – 9 x 6-inch Fabric Pieces, outside & lining fabric
(100% tightly woven cotton for the outside &
100% cotton flannel or other soft 100% cotton for the lining)
2 – 7-inch pieces of elastic for an average adult face. Fit to size. 1/8, 1⁄4, 3/8 flat, or thin cord elastic.
Straight Sewing Pins
Sewing Scissors, HERE or
Rotary Cutter, HERE
Sewing Board, HERE or
Safe Cutting Surface, HERE
Ruler or Measuring Tape
Cardboard or Paper Pattern optional
Iron not pictured
If elastic is unavailable see bottom of post for instructions using fabric ties.
Materials Needed for One Fabric Face Mask
In the photo above are the supplies you’ll need for just one mask. First, you’ll want to cut your 9” x 6” fabric pieces. The rotary cutter works super slick because it’s all straight cuts. Of course a scissors works also. Then, cut the 7-inch elastic strips.
This length seems to fit the average adult face. I have friends with petite faces that needed to go alittle shorter and a wider, larger face may need longer. If this is for someone you know, you may want to measure or test before you cut. I cut multiples of fronts, backs, and elastic at the same time. (I was donating these.) This makes production much faster. Now you are ready to pull out the sewing machine and officially begin.
1. On the front fabric of your mask, tack or baste each end of both pieces of elastic in the 4 corners. See the photo for reference. Please note: if you are using cord elastic, be sure to knot it on both ends so that it securely attaches when sewn.
2. With fabric right sides together, using a 1/4 inch seam, sew all the way around the perimeter of the rectangle leaving a 2-inch opening on one long side for turning.
3. Turn the mask right side out.
4. Iron flat, pressing the seam allowances from the 2-inch opening to the inside and opening up all the seams as you press. Optional, pin the opening closed.
5. Make 3 small pleats (folds) on each side of the mask. Be sure they are all going in the same direction. Pin each pleat in place.
6. Sew all the way around the mask using a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance. After that, stitch all the way around the mask again, right on top of the previous stitching.
Step by Step Instructions
For a condensed quick start guide for how to make a fabric mask, here’s a step by step guide.
Using Fabric Ties instead of Elastic
What do I do if elastic is not available? You can use four fabric ties (each with finished dimensions of 18 inches long and 1/4-1/2 inches wide). You can use cotton twill tape or make your own fabric ties.
To make a fabric tie, cut a strip of 100% cotton 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide, and 18 inches long. Iron down 1/2 inch on one end, then iron the fabric strip in half the long way. Next, open the fold and iron both long edges to meet in the middle.
You can then return to the directions above. Tack or baste the unfinished ends of each tie in each corner about 1/2 inch away from, and parallel to the long edge of the fabric. Keep the remaining length of the ties away from the edges of the fabric so they don’t get caught in the stitching of the mask.
Take care of yourself and thanks for helping to ensure the safety of our health care workers and community! If you have questions or need more information, go to sewgoodgoods.org or send an email to email@example.com.
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 or medical grade nose piece feature. Medical grade face masks and features are usually for those working on the healthcare frontline. Nonmedical, reusable fabric face masks and attributes 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.