Sew Your Own Cloth Face Mask

The best way for everyone to protect themselves right now is to stay home. But if you've gotta head out for an essential errand, consider using a DIY face mask like the ones our staffer Eden makes. Let's save the disposable ones for the medical professionals on the front lines. These are not medical grade masks however, they can provide a physical barrier to keep droplets and other transmitters off of your face (again, not medical grade so not impenetrable). The CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask to prevent transmission (especially for asymptomatic individuals) while you're in areas where social distancing is difficult like grocery stores or pharmacies. 

For the latest guidance on mask use please always reference the CDC here!

What you need:

  • Fabric: Adult: 9"x6" (2), Child 7.5"x5" (2) - generally cotton is best, especially something with a tighter weave. You can hold the fabric up to the light and see how much light is coming through. You may even be able to see the actual weave density. (NOTE: if the fabric you wish to use is too light, you can use interfacing to reinforce it). Fabric can be traditionally sourced or you can find it around the house. An old pillowcase or shirt make great options. Cotton flannel also makes a nice backing.
  • Elastic: 2 x 7” strands ⅛” wide (2) - if you have wider elastic you can easily trim it to ⅛”. If you cannot find elastic, you can use bias tape created out of the same fabric or bought from a store.
  • Standard sewing supplies: sewing machine, scissors, pins, iron, etc.
  • Optional additions: Sleeve at top for nose wire, HEPA filter sleeve, etc.


1. Cut two pieces of fabric: 9x6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child). OPTIONAL: cut same size piece of interfacing and attach to the outside piece.

Two pieces of fabric laying flat on top of each other.

2. Face right sides of cotton fabric together.

3. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. 

Sewing machine sewing fabric.

4. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.

5. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back. 

6. Sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again put an elastic with the edge out.

7. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.

8. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open.

9. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out, then press/iron flat

10. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction. Press.

11. Sew around the edge of the mask twice

And then you're done!


  • David Hales says...

    Good things to make to prevent you spreading the virus, if you might have it, to others, via your coughs, sneezes or breaths. But all the medical advice indicates that they do not protect their wearers. Well worthwhile making them for the general good though.

    On April 27, 2020
  • kalvin Tsai says...

    Thanks for sharing this DIY . Come in a good time especially masks are in short supply to buy

    On April 06, 2020
  • Heidi says...

    Thank you for this easy to follow tutorial. I was wondering what the final length of the sides of the mask are after folds? I have been reading several articles about how to make your own mask, and many are very similar, but I find your instructions & pictures the best. I did read an article by Stanford Medicine that rated flat tea towels provided better protection than many other fabrics.

    On April 06, 2020

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