If you would like to sew fabric masks, I’ve created a simple 1-page pattern of instructions. These are very easy to make!
Print it, share it with friends, pass it around.
Or save the pattern image below to your phone.
THIS STYLE SECURES BEHIND THE HEAD.
Feedback I’ve received from many healthcare workers is that elastic behind the ears is causing ear fatigue…..and also limits the sizing flexibility. My husband and I need different sizes with elastic/fabric (for an ear-style mask), but not for behind-the-head. It would be a shame to make a bunch of masks and then the fit be limited.
ANSWER: Make masks with ties!
Lots of sizing options!
And very comfy.
Watch the tutorial on my YouTube channel here, or just hit the play button below…
The pattern calls for the same length of elastic on the top and bottom (13 inches), which I found to be more comfortable on my husband and our male neighbor (who wears masks regularly). And while the bottom elastic–which can go around your neck–was looser on me, I still preferred that, because it can go up on your head instead. This gives the most options for the most amount of people (if you’re making these for people you don’t know). I would hate to make the bottom elastic too tight on someone and then they can’t use it. Of course if you’re making the mask for yourself or someone you know, make adjustments as you like! Cutting the bottom elastic a couple inches smaller might work better for you.
DON’T HAVE ELASTIC?
No problem! Make a mask with ties! I prefer using knit fabric for these because most knits don’t fray at the edges, and most people have an old T-shirt or worn-out pair of leggings laying around. I actually prefer the ties now (over elastic). But if you don’t have knit fabrics, make the ties from other fabrics! Knits just stretch well and make for a variety of sizing.
ELASTIC vs TIES
Some have mentioned that elastic won’t hold up well against high heat washing/drying in hospitals. So if you’re making these masks for that kind of donation, I’d probably go with 4 knit fabric ties in the 4 corners. Watch how I do that in my video. If these are being made for clinics, or people that can wash their mask at home, elastic might be fine.
KNIT FABRIC NOT ROLLING UP?
The best kind of knits for this have a bit of spandex in them. Just look at the raw edge of the fabric. If it’s already rolling up a bit, then it’s going to work (watch me cut up a pair of leggings here).
Still not sure if it’s a good knit? Cut a piece off and try tugging on it. Try using a stretchy soft t-shirt (not the cheap “free t-shirt” stuff you might have from an event). Or use a pair of worn out leggings (the Cat and Jack ones from Target work GREAT).
AND IF IT’S NOT ROLLING UP, YOU CAN STILL USE IT! The ties won’t be as stretchy, but they will still stay nice on the head because of the texture of the fabric, which doesn’t slip on the hair as much as ribbon or other fabrics. Maybe cut them a little longer, about 20 inches? (since they won’t stretch)
At the bottom of the pattern, there’s a size chart for teens, children, and toddlers.
I have tested all sizes but the toddler one. If you try it and have feedback, please share. I guesstimated based on the other sizes.
WHY DO YOU SEW PLEATS?
The pleats allow the mask to expand and shape around your face.
CAN THIS GO OVER AN N95 MASK?
Yes, this mask style works very well over an N95 mask (or similar grade). See photos below.
CAN YOU ADD A BENDABLE NOSE PIECE?
Yes. To make the mask mold around your nose better, you may insert a pipe cleaner, floral wire, twist tie, or small piece of flat bendable metal to the top inside of the mask before forming the pleats. Topstitch next to it to hold it in place. OR, you may sew a small piece of bias tape to the outside of the mask — insert the metal piece into the bias tape instead so that it can be removed before washing.
CAN YOU INSERT A FILTER?
Yes. This mask is designed with an opening at the bottom edge, so an additional piece/layer of filtering material can be inserted. Ideally, after each use you would wash the fabric mask, dispose of the filter, and insert a new filter for the next use.
WHAT DO I USE FOR A FILTER?
In a medical setting, a paper-like fabric called “surgical drape” works well. It is papery on one side, and has a slight plastic film on the other side. It’s lightweight enough to breath through, but adds a barrier to help keep moisture from coming in or out of the mask. I’m not sure if this fabric is available currently online, in light of the pandemic.
People have mentioned that cut-up vacuum bags are a good “fabric” to use for a filter layer.
Other ideas include: an A/C filter fabric, a layer of knit fabric, non-woven interfacing, dryer sheets?
IF YOU ARE USING INTERFACING, I would NOT fuse it to the fabric, but just cut it to be inserted as the disposable filter between washings.
Some even just use an additional layer of fabric in lieu of another option.
Please Note: I have not tried all these options. This is just info I have heard from others.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A FILTER TO GO IN THE MASK?
Cut a piece that is about 7 x 4 inches (for the adult size mask in this pattern). Fold it in half lengthwise, and trim the ends so they angle and curve in (very approximate)–see my photo below. Basically, make it look like the shape of the mask when it’s open.
—more FAQs below the photos—-
HOW DO YOU WASH THE MASK?
Wash the mask in a washing machine, and then dry. If you have worn your mask to the grocery store, I would take the take the mask off when you get to your car. Place it in a bag, so you are not spreading germs into your car. When you arrive home, wash the mask. Here’s a great idea for a bag….
PLACE YOUR MASK IN A FABRIC BAG
To make washing easy, sew a drawstring bag, place the mask in the fabric bag after wearing it, and throw the whole bag in the washing machine!
I have a video for making a simple drawstring bag here.
FABRIC BAG FOR SCRUBS
You can also use a fabric drawstring bag to place scrubs and other worn items in, before entering the car or a home. Throw the whole bag and included items in the washing machine together. I have a video for making a simple drawstring bag here.
CAN I MAKE HEADBANDS WITH BUTTONS FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS?
(to help them secure masks with elastic around the ears, so their ears can take a break?)
Yes. I have a simple knit fabric headband video that you can adjust as needed.
WHERE DO I SEND MASKS?
I am not organizing a group to sew masks or accepting donated masks.
Please check with your local support center before sewing large quantities of masks, to confirm they will accept donations. Check with friends in the medical community, as they might have ideas of where to donate. Make a mask for a friend or for yourself.
I am not a medical expert. These are not meant to replace real medical supplies nor the N95 masks that are used in medical settings.
I have read that doctors and other medical staff need extra supplies and masks. They’ve said that fabric masks can be used over the top of an N95 mask, so that N95 masks can be worn for a longer period of time. Or these masks can be used in situations where a simple surgical mask is typically worn, to reserve other masks for COVID-19 medical staff.
Be safe and healthy, friends!
WARNING: This is an educational tutorial only. This tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used to create a medical or similar device. This tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is not intended, nor has it been tested, to reduce or eliminate the transmission of any respiratory or airborne pathogen, allergen, or any type of particle or droplet, and on that basis, should not be used for any such purpose. Dana Made, Inc., MADEEVERYDAY.com and Dana Willard make no warranties express or implied, that this tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is intended, or is suitable for use to reduce or eliminate the transmission of any respiratory or airborne pathogen, allergen, or any type of particle or droplet. Any user of this tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom for anything other than educational purposes assumes the risk of serious injury or death. For information on how to reduce the transmission of pathogens, please consult a qualified and competent health care professional.