DIY Fabric Face Masks
Updated: Jul 18, 2020
So yeah, I haven't really written in this blog for a couple of years, but I may start trying to do that again!
Recently I've been making fabric face masks to keep my friends and community healthy due to COVID-19. I looked through several patterns made available online, and tested them. The mask provided in Cricut's downloadable content were based on the one in the Craft Passion blog, because that is what the creator of the Craft Passion mask said. I assumed the sizes were the same. I made an adjustment to the Craft Passion instructions and changed how the nose wire was inserted based on the DIY Pocket Face Mask. I made about 35 masks using the templates provided by Cricut, and delivered them to friends. They were made with quilting cotton on the outside, and lined with flannel. A few of my friends came over to pick up their masks in person were kind enough to try them on for me; at that point I was able to see that my sizing assumptions had been incorrect. I was also making the ear loops too large for some people, and too small for others. In addition, I started making the masks in March, but summer was around the corner and I realized people would start wanting cooler masks.
I tested out two more mask patterns (the Octagon Mask and the Dhurata Davies Mask) and pestered my partners to try them out for me. I didn't like of those prototypes, though. The Octagon Mask left too much of a gap at my nose, but was too loose in the neck. The Dhurata Davies Mask was a bit complicated to follow, and the pattern maker was not allowing people to sell masks made with that pattern (which is reasonable, but I wanted more flexible licensing). I returned to the Craft Passion mask with adjustments based on what I had learned from prototype testing.
After reading a lot of posts in the Craft Passion Facebook group, I landed on a final design. The biggest difference between my mask and the Craft Passion design is that the shape accommodates a taller nose, and it also extends down far enough to cup under the chin. It also has more dramatic scoops on either side of the nose to prevent it from interfering with glasses. I lined the masks with bamboo jersey reinforced with non-woven interfacing. I had to do a lot of googling and watching YouTube tutorials about sewing elastic, translating an Illustrator document into a pattern other people can use, and reading how-to guides on getting Cricut to translate an SVG correctly from Illustrator. I convinced my partners to test my new design for me and give me feedback about the fit and feel. I finally felt confident enough about the mask pattern that I can can publish a tutorial on my blog and return to making them for more people in my community. I'm sharing it here with you so that you can do the same.
This mask is NOT rated for disease control. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has provided the following information regarding homemade face masks: The role of face masks is for patient source control, to reduce contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes. Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear a face mask until they are isolated in a hospital or at home. Most face masks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales.* When professional face masks are not available, healthcare personnel might use homemade masks for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, caution should be exercised when considering this option since their capability to protect healthcare personnel is unknown.
Download DIY Fabric Face Mask Pattern
Download this ZIP file and double click on it to expand. The zipped file includes all of the adult and child sizes for the DIY Fabric Face Mask. The Adult Standard size fits most adults.
Looking for the Cricut pattern? I've made a Cricut version of the DIY Fabric Face Mask that you can cut on a Cricut machine. If you have a Cricut Maker, use your rotary blade to cut through the fabric, and your washable pen to mark the details. If you have a Cricut Express, use your Cricut to cut templates that you can trace onto your fabric (this is my preferred method, even though I have a Cricut Maker.)
Child Large (ages 7-12)
Child Small (ages 3-6)
This pattern assumes you are using a sewing machine, and thread compatible with your sewing machine specifications. I recommend reading through all of the project steps before you begin sewing.
10"x20" pre-washed, quilting weight, cotton fabric of your choice for the Outside fabric
10"x20" pre-washed Inside fabric of your choice (I recommend either flannel or jersey knit,* but an additional layer of the outside fabric would work as well)
10"x20" fusible interfacing (optional)
Washable fabric pen
1/4" braided elastic OR jersey (tshirt) fabric cut into strips (Adult XL: 22" | Adult Large: 20" | Adult Standard: 18" | Child Large: 16" | Child Small: 16")
2 safety pins
6" pipe cleaner (or floral tape, or other durable, bendable material)
Other sewing supplies
Face mask pattern
Self-healing cutting mat
Scissors or rotary cutter
Iron and ironing board
Seam ripper (optional)
*If you are using jersey for the lining fabric, I strongly recommend using fusible interfacing due to the stability it provides to your fabric when using a standard sewing machine. Not using interfacing on jersey can damage your fabric when it gets caught in your sewing machine. Fusible interfacing should be cut to the same size as the lining fabric.
DIY Fabric Face Mask Instructions
Step 1: Print and cut your pattern
If you plan to make additional masks, I recommend printing the pattern directly onto thick card stock or tracing the pattern onto card stock and cutting it out from there.
Step 1.1 Print the provided pattern and measure the 1" box to ensure that the pattern has printed at the correct size. If the 1" box is either too large or too small, check your printer settings and be sure it's set to print "actual size."
Step 1.2 Cut out the pattern using scissors or a rotary cutter.
Step 2: Cut your Outside fabric
Step 2.1 Fold the Outside fabric in half, right sides together, with the grain running the length of your mat.
Step 2.2 Place the Outside pattern on top of the Outside fabric. The curved edge of the pattern should run parallel to the fabric grain.
Step 2.3 Pin through both sides of the fabric, so that they don't move while cutting.
Step 2.4 Cut your fabric along the pattern line you traced onto your fabric.
Step 3: Cut your Inside fabric
If you are using jersey knit as the Inside fabric, first iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your jersey and then follow the rest of these instructions.
Step 3.1 Fold the Inside fabric in half, right sides together, with the grain running the length of your mat. (If you are using fusible interfacing, it should now be on the top and bottom, with your Inside fabric sandwiched between.)
Step 3.2 Place the Inside pattern on top of the Inside fabric (or interfacing). The curved edge of the pattern should run parallel to the fabric grain.
Step 3.3 Using your washable fabric pen, trace around the outside edge of the pattern.
Step 3.4 Pin through both sides of the fabric, so that they don't move while cutting.
Step 3.5 Cut your fabric along the pattern line you traced onto your fabric.
Step 4: Assemble the mask
Step 4.1 With the right sides still together, sew just the curved portion of the Outside piece with a 1/4" seam. Repeat with the Inside piece.
Step 4.2 Snip along the curve of both pieces, being careful not to cut through the stitching.
Step 4.3 With your washable fabric pen, measure 1 and 1/2" from the straight edge of the Outside fabric and draw a line parallel to the straight edge of the fabric. This is the casing fold line.
Step 4.4 With your washable fabric pen, measure 1" from the right edge of your Outside piece and draw a perpendicular line from the casing fold line to the edge of your Outside piece. Repeat for the left edge of your Outside piece.
Step 4.5 Using your washable fabric pen, draw a line connecting the right outside edge of the casing fold line to the bottom of the perpendicular line you have drawn. Repeat for the left edge of your Outside piece.
Step 4.6 Flip the Outside piece over, and repeat step 4.3 through step 4.5.
Step 4.7 On the wrong side of the Outside piece, fold the edge along the diagonal lines you drew in steps 4.3 through 4.6.
Step 4.8 Using an iron, press the diagonal folds.
Step 4.9 Press the straight edge down about 1/4" away from the edge on the Outside piece.
Step 4.10 Fold this piece up to the casing fold line and press.
Step 4.11 Repeat steps 4.8 through 4.10 on the other side of the Outside piece.
Step 4.12 Press the straight edges down about 1/4" away from the edge on the Inside piece.
Step 4.13 Open the Outside piece, and iron the snipped curve seam allowance to the left. Repeat for Inside piece.
Step 4.14 Top stitch along the wrong side of the curved seam of both the Outside and Inside pieces.
Step 4.15 Stitch the folded and pressed seam allowance close to the edge on the Inside pieces.
Step 4.16 On the Outside pieces, stitch close to the previously pressed edge to leave enough room for the elastic.
Step 4.17 Align the Outside and Inside pieces along the seams, right sides together.
Step 4.18 Pin the Inside and Outside mask pieces together so that the top and bottom edges align.
Step 4.19 Stitch along the top and bottom with a 1/4" seam. Leave the sides open.
Step 4.20 Using one of the open edges, turn the mask Inside-out, and use your fingers to press along the seams where the Inside and Outside fabrics meet.
Step 4.21 Top stitch along the edges where the Inside and Outside fabrics meet.
Step 5: Adding the nose wire
Step 5.1 Following the top edge of the mask, stitch approximately 1/2" from the edge of the fabric to create a tunnel for the nose wire.
Step 5.2 Fold the ends of the pipe cleaner in by a few millimeters. If you have pliers, you can use them to help flatten down any sharp edges.
Step 5.3 Fold the previously folded ends by 1/2".
Step 5.4 Insert the twisted nose wire into the tunnel you created in step 1 by using an inching technique.
Step 5.5 When the nose wire reaches the midway point of the mask, stitch the ends of the tunnel closed.
Step 6: Adding the ear loops
If you are using jersey ear loops, directions 6.1 and 6.2, but tie the ends of the jersey together in a knot and skip steps 6.3 and 6.4.
Step 6.1 Cut elastic in half.
Step 6.2 Thread elastic through the casing using a small safety pin and an inching technique.
Step 6.3 When the pin comes out the side, use it to pin the elastic together. Use a second safety pin to pin the elastic together on the other side.
Step 6.4 Stitch a box to connect the elastic. (~5:50 in Beginner's Guide To Sewing - Episode 7: Elastic)
Step 7: Finishing the mask
Step 7.1 Snip any loose ends as necessary.
Step 7.2 Turn the ear loops so that the box or knot is hidden inside the casing.
Step 8: Wear your mask!
Face Mask with Pocket and Nose Wire by Molly Colleen Bennett Wilvich is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Others are free to Share (copy or redistribute the pattern), or Adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), provided they provide Attribution (give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made), and ShareAlike (distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.)