How to Sew a Face Mask

DIY Face Masks

We are all seeing the images and hearing the advice on wearing face masks to help reduce the transmission of Coronavirus. The advice seems to be different in each country and we have readers from all around the world. It seems to us that the common theme is to ensure you are not using up stocks of professional equipment that are needed for frontline medical workers. There is oodles of information online about how to make DIY face masks and while we don’t want to add to that noise, we did want to just curate together a few really valuable resources on how to make a face mask – hopefully cutting down your need to trawl through it all, as we’ve done the legwork for you.

Before we do that – a few key points… DIY face masks should:

• fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

• be secured with ties or ear loops

• include multiple layers of fabric

• allow for breathing without restriction

• be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

• not be placed on children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

It goes without saying that DIY face masks are not medical equipment and do not offer any medically certified protection. Please take the time to understand your local country advice on face masks and the reasons why you might consider wearing one. Wearing a face mask does not prevent you from contracting or transmitting the virus, so please adhere to all the advice regarding social distancing and frequent hand washing.

How to Sew a Face Mask

There are lots of options for sewing your own face mask, from very simple to more complex shaped masks which fit more snuggly around the nose.

A very simple way to sew a non-shaped mask is using a rectangle of fabric as follows:


  • Two 10 x 6in rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 6in pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine


1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the cloth face covering as if it was a single piece of fabric.

how to sew diy face masks

2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down.

how to sew a face mask

3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the cloth face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tight. Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the cloth face covering behind your head.

how to sew a face mask

4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the cloth face covering on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.

how to sew a face mask

For a more fitted, shaped face mask pattern with a flexible nose wire, we recommend this easy pattern and video tutorial from Sweet Red Poppy.

No-Sew Face Masks

Even if you can’t sew or don’t own a sewing machine, you can still make a mask really easily. One method is to simply cut the mask and ties in one piece from a t-shirt as follows:

No Sew DIY Face Masks

Alternatively, you can use a fabric square such as a scarf or bandana following these steps.

No Sew DIY Face Masks

Really, you can use anything for a DIY face mask – something is better than nothing – just look at this fun mother-and-daughter tutorial from Denise Wild using a sock and shoelaces! We would just recommend using both socks to ensure you have a double layer of fabric.

We hope this is helpful and gives you some guidance in making your own face mask. if you find any good tutorials you think people should know about, please share them in the comments below. Stay safe x

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