I am posting a list of face mask patterns and tutorials for homemade face masks, in the hopes of helping blog readers find resources Also, I have been updating this post (last update: April 18) with helpful tips for best materials for face masks, sewing tips and additional tips on how to make face masks – including materials, workarounds and some places you can donate them to.
Cdc recommends that everybody should wear homemade facial coverings when they have to go out. Before I start, please note that homemade masks are not as effective as the N95 mask but due to a severe shortage of protective masks, they are considered acceptable as a last resort. Diy facemasks can help reduce the risk of infection. You can read more about the CDC recommendations regarding facemasks here.
Before you start sewing, please read this guide on the use of cloth face coverings – important information here, especially this: Face coverings should
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops (scroll down for more info on ties)
- include multiple layers of fabric (scroll down for more info about material)
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Here in the following photo are some of the face masks I’ve made for me and my family, trying out different shapes and adjusting sizes:
The list below includes two types of face mask patterns: fitted face mask (shaped) and pleated face mask that are sometimes called surgical-style face masks. I’ll list them separately in two groups to make this list clearer and easier to read through. Also, this is by far not an exhaustive list of tutorials, and if you have found a different tutorial you feel you could use, please do.
Since there are so many out there, I have not published a pattern of my own (nor do I plan to) but I do want to help get the word and information on existing patterns through to those wanting or needing to sew them. Hope this helps!
Fitted Face Mask patterns:
This was the first fabric face mask pattern I came across when looking for a fitted facemask pattern, and I have used it to make face masks for my family. I found it a well-fitting pattern but I enlarged it a bit when making a mens size face mask for my partner. Also I added a pocket so I was able to insert an extra dense-weaved cotton between the 2 layers. — Please NOTE that all these features have been added to this pattern by now – an additional men’s size to the pattern, an additional way to make a pocket, and just a few days ago, the author also added Cricut and Silhouette files to the tutorial, and a grid-pattern for those who have no printer available. Thank you, Craftpassion.
Next, here is the Olson mask pattern. The Olson face mask has a different construction and can be found at THIS link, and there’s also a video available here, posted by UnityPoint Health. Here’s how to make a mask with fabric, with several layers:
While the diy Olson mask might be a bit more challenging to sew, especially if you’re new to sewing, I am also linking to a great tutorial just posted by Caroline at Sew Can She – a good one if you need additional clarifications (her tutorials are brilliant!) – and she also included additional child sizes. Check it out here:
UPDATE: Later on, Caroline made this Video Tutorial showing an even faster method for making this face mask pattern. Fast and easy, check it out!
Next, Kim at Sweet Red Poppy also made a tutorial for a sewn cotton face mask. It features a flexible nose wire to allow for a tight fit for the nose. She also gives two options to use: bias strips or elastic.
pleated Face Mask Patterns a.k.A. Surgical-Style Face Masks
While there are a lot new patterns being published daily for the pleated face masks, I will only list a few. I honestly say that I do prefer those facemask patterns that have an option for an additional pocket to insert an extra layer: be it a HEPA filter, a paper towel, a layer of quilting cotton etc. Also, this is by far not an exhaustive list of tutorials, and I’m sure there are a lot of other tutorials available too. NOTE: pleats should be facing down.
Sarah at Sarah Maker posted a pleated face mask pattern that has a pocket to insert an additional filtering layer, and it comes with options for either elastic or ties. Visit the tutorial here:
The next one, A.B. Mask pattern – it’s designed to fit either directly over the face, or to use as a cover over many models of N-95 to provide an additional barrier. Two layers, no pocket, made from a fat quarter of fabric, densely woven cotton recommended. I like it because it has a darted area both for nose and chin, which improves the fit – good when you have no bendable wire to add to the nose area.
And here’s another helpful tutorial for how to make a mask with fabric. Check out this diy face mask tutorial by Dana from Made Everyday which gives several sizes, gives an option to use either elastic or knit ties, optional fitted nose area (the tutorials gives extra info on materials for the ‘bendable nose piece’) and it has a pocket for a filter:
More Free Patterns For Face Masks
As I have been following all the info I can get on the face-covering and face masks, I’ve come by more useful links to good face mask tutorials you might want to see too. Here’s more I found really helpful, so you can check them to see how to make a fabric mask:
- New York Times has a good tutorial for face masks.
- how to sew a facemask for kids – this tutorial has several sizes for kids included
- How to sew a face mask (without elastic) – here
- Raegun Ramblings has a tutorial on diy face mask here
- N95 Mask Cover by Tie Dye Divas – intended to cover the N95 mask for a prolonged use
- ithinksew has just released a free pattern for a facial mask with filter pocket – here
- here’s how to make a face mask with bias tape from Sweet Red Poppy
- Also, cdc issued their own, simplified cloth face cover instructions you can use as well: HERE, how to make a face mask with fabric.
Easy No-Sew DIY Face Mask with Bandana and Elastic Bands
And here’s one of the no-sew face masks version on youtube, made with a bandana and hair ties or rubber bands.
Child-Sized Face Mask Pattern
Here are a few:
- Here you’ll find 2 child-sized Olson mask patterns from a great pattern designer.
- here’s another kids size pleated mask pattern, but it does not have a pocket for an additional layer like a filter.
- here’s a pleated kids mask pattern with a filter pocket
Tips and Hacks for Sewing Your Own facemasks
And last but not least, Joann Fabric And Craft Stores posted this video with tips and hacks for making non-surgical fabric face masks. I found it very helpful, this is why I’m adding them here:
Check it out to see what to use if you run out of elastic, and there’s a great hack for when you’re making your own ties from woven fabric and have no ready-made bias tape. The video also shows how to add a wire to make a nose piece for your mask.
A few ideas for materials to make the face mask tightly fit the nose:
About 4 inches (10cm) of a bendable material like plastic-coated paper clips, pipe cleaners, floral wire, plastic coated twist tie. Make sure to bend any sharp edges so they don’t pierce through the fabric. Jewelry wire doesn’t rust either – just make sure to use multiple strands if it’s too thin to reliably keep the nose curve.
Some people use pipe cleaners but those rust with time. If you can’t get wire that won’t rust, you might consider using bias tape to sew on a tube for replaceable wire.
One more thing: I have also seen the pipe cleaner folded in half or used doubled, to make them stronger for a better fit.
And if you can only make a mask that has no bending wire or adjustable fit, you can put sunglasses on over the mask…or regular glasses, if you’ve got them. Not the best solution, but still better than no glasses at all.
What’s the best material for a Face mask?
Wearing a mask can help limit the spread of respiratory droplets. But various materials will provide very different barriers for droplets, so it’s important to know which one is better. First, use a material that can be washed on hot temperatures and that can be machine dried without damage or change to shape. From what I’ve read here, I would recommend to use DENSELY woven cotton, high-quality quilting cotton has been recommended more than once (high-thread, tight-weave cotton)
Second, preshrink your fabric before you cut and sew, as cotton will shrink. You don’t want a deformed mask due to shrinkage.
Also, when I am making homemade masks, I make sure to make at least two layers, and I do prefer those which allow an additional (removable) layer to be tucked between those – in case you have any non-washable filtering material, you dispose of it before laundering the diy mask. Do not use fusible interfacing that needs to be ironed on – it has glue that will not stand hot laundering plus there are other concerns (inhaling glue particles).
UPDATE April 9th: According to the New York Times “The best-performing designs were a mask constructed of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight “quilter’s cotton”, a two-layer mask made with thick batik fabric, and a double-layer mask with an inner layer of flannel and outer layer of cotton. ”
What To Use as TIES For face Masks
Construction-wise, the two main options to tie a mask is either behind the ears or around the head.
If you need to wear your mask for an extended period of time, ears can get sore after a while, so the option to tie around the head seems more comfortable. The fabric ties are helpful for fitting the mask to each individual.
If you have masks with elastic to put behind the ears, consider using a headband with two buttons attached to each side – those will act as anchors for the short elastic bands.
Want to find out how? Here’s a video tutorial to make a headband with buttons to attach face masks to:
..and another one here:
These two will show you how to sew a knit headband with buttons for elastic face masks support.
Easy Diy Ear Savers To Use with Face Masks
A different version of ear savers (yes it’s a newly coined term!) can be found in this ear savers tutorial. You can make them to help protect the ears from chafing when wearing a medical face mask.
Face Masks With Ties
Anyway, due to shortage of elastic in shops, many masks will have ties. And I believe those are good as they are adjustable for the various head sizes. You can make ties from bias tape, make your own from cotton or other types of vowen fabrics, and many people make ties out of jersey or cut up t-shirts. Some make ties out of stretch knit fabric like in this tutorial, and here’s a link to a crocheted ties version – note that just the ties are crocheted, NOT the mask itself.
More Mask Sewing tips
Also, I just found out that my friend Heather also added face mask sewing tips to her blog, so I’m sharing her tips for sewing face masks, too:
Art Gallery Fabrics has created a great resource post for those making masks. From pattern links to ways to connect with other makers, check it out here.
Sewing Masks to help
In times of scarcity, hospitals and other institutions in your area might put out a call asking for homemade fabric facemasks, please check out your local area and ask about the approved patterns before you start sewing.
Are you able to sew and wondering how you can help? Here are a few good ideas:
- Join the one-hundred-million mask sewing challenge here.
- See how to get protective equipment to the Healthcare personnel here.
- Find where you can donate your masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) in your local area.
- Here’s a directory that shows which organizations need face masks donations.
- protecttheheroes.org search site.
But first of all, make sure you and your loved ones are safe and protect you all by staying at home as much as possible. This would also mean that you try to use what you have in your house and if you really need to get any materials for sewing face masks, buy online.
If you need to drop off masks or get material, always practice social distancing.
How You Can Help In Other Ways
A few ideas for how to help if you do not sew:
- Call a loved one or neighbor – A simple phone call or video chat with a loved one or neighbor can help during times of isolation and uncertainty.
- Donate online to a nonprofit – call your local nonprofit organization and ask.
- Sphealth is accepting donation of materials (e.g. latex-free elastic bands, aluminum wire, pipe cleaners, floral wire, bread ties, bias tape, etc.) so others can make the masks! If you would like to give those, you can contact Shari Hagengruber at email@example.com.
Please do note that I am not making any medical claims about any of the above homemade mask patterns. But I did want to help by giving a few ideas in case you need to resort to making your own homemade diy face masks. Stay safe.
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