How to Sew a Cloth Face Mask

by Nancy D 4 months ago in diy


How to Sew a Cloth Face Mask

WARNING: Cloth face masks are only supposed to be used as a second choice after traditional medical face masks. While cloth face masks are better than no face mask at all, they are still an inferior choice to medical masks. Please be aware that cloth face masks will not protect you as much as traditional face masks and only use cloth masks in the event that we run out traditional face masks.

In the event that we run out of face masks, please do NOT think that a knitted face mask will help. Instead please make one out of cotton cloth or a cotton/polyester blend. However, any DIY mask are only in the event that we run out of medical masks. They will not protect you as well a traditional medical mask.

Wearing a face mask stops people from becoming infected in two ways:

1) By blocking most airborne droplets filled with virus from being inhaled

2) By stopping the wearer from touching their own mouths and noses.

Recommended: Elastic can also be threaded to fit around the head.


9" x 15" fabric outer layer

9" x 15" fabric lining layer

(3 regular or large size masks of either design, can be made from 1/4 yard (9") of 45” wide fabric)

3.5” piece of soft wire (this can be decorative wire as shown, or picture wire, or even a paper clip if that's all you can find)

approx. 22” of elastic cord (depends on head size)

What kind of material to use?

100% cotton and cotton/polyester blends are known to have some effectiveness.

Note: Wash all fabrics before sewing to pre-shrink.

What material NOT to use?

Don't use Nylon or velvet. Don't use stretchy material, anything sequined or any material with obvious holes or gaps. Do NOT make a knitted face mask.

Again, knitted face masks will NOT help. Please do not do this.

Cutting out the template

Just below is the shape of the cut you make in the fabric. You cut the inner size twice, then the outer size twice. The size difference is made so you can easily sew the seem over the smaller piece.

Once you have sewn the two different sizes together for booth halfs, now it's time to sew both together. There isn't a seem allowance for this because you can simply overlap the fabric.

At the ends of your mask, overlap the fabric over inside the mask and sew it down. Make sure to keep a gap open for the elastic to go through. If you are giving trouble getting elastics, hair elastics work as well for this. You can also use shoe laces as long you make sure to tie it on tightly.

Want to quickly buy a template?

This template is reasonably priced and comes with both kids and adult sizes. It follows the same pattern and the image above displays.

Stay Safe! Wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Hope for a vaccine.

Work Cited

Friedman, Vanessa. “The Mask.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2020,

Instructables. “DIY Cloth Face Mask.” Instructables, Instructables, 20 Mar. 2020,

Spencer, Helen. “Face Mask Pattern (FREE) - How to Make Diy Mouth Mask.” Hello Sewing, 20 Mar. 2020,

Sweeney, Don. “Nurses Told to Use Bandanas, Scarves as 'Last Resort' If Face Masks Run out, CDC Says.” Sacbee, The Sacramento Bee, 19 Mar. 2020,

Kuhakan, Jiraporn. “'Better than Nothing': Thailand Encourages Cloth Masks amid Surgical Mask Shortage.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 12 Mar. 2020,

Nancy D
Nancy D
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