Face Mask Sewing Patterns Roundup

face mask sewing patterns

I'll Start This One With a Disclaimer

The following list of masks will not replace an N-95 mask but may help you if you have nothing else to wear. 

So many readers have asked me about this that I felt I had to pull something together.  This is not a recommendation on our part, only a list for our reader's convenience and at their request.  Please make your own decisions about your health and seek the advice of the experts in your community.

Given the recent outbreak, many have realized the benefits of using face masks when going out in public.  This has even been mandated in many countries already and it seems like it may only be a matter of time before that comes to the US. 

Here is some very recent information from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommending the use of homemade masks if nothing else is available.  Click the link for the full details on the CDC website.

face mask sewing pattern

Unfortunately, many people have now discovered that all the major stores including the likes of Amazon are currently out of N95 mask or that the prices have been jacked up so much that they are simply not affordable.  

It's unclear what value a fabric face mask would have but it seems to me it is probably better than nothing.   It will not stop truly aerosolized virus particles but it definitely seems like it would help if someone coughed or sneezed directly on you.  You'll have to make your own call.

As a filtration material, lots of readers have been recommending Scott Shop Towels. I've ordered some but have yet to receive them. It looks like a good option to me.  This has been an often-asked question so I'll put a source below. 

face mask sewing pattern

In any case, here's a list of a bunch of different styles of face mask sewing patterns.  Please enjoy and stay well.

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Face Mask Sewing Pattern Roundup

Here's a list of some of the best face mask sewing patterns that I could find on the internet.  I hope they are of value to you. Hover over the picture to show the title, click to open, or right-click and open in a new tab to keep this page open too. And don’t forget to pin it.

Looking After Someone Sick?

This unisex scrubs pants pattern will come very handy if you need to look after a sick person suffering from a contagious illness.

unisex scrubs pants pattern

Get it HERE

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260 Responses to Face Mask Sewing Patterns Roundup

  1. Liz says:

    All great ideas! Another thought I had was sewing it with double sides so there is a slot in the center where a piece of plastic cut to size could be inserted for added protection, then disposed of after use while the mask can be washed.

  2. Babette Sparling says:

    I was wondering about these masks and if you would be breathing in your own carbon dioxide? i passed out yeas ago in a play where i wore a paper bag over my head for 1 hour. Any medical people have an answer?

    • pattyprit says:

      There are many variables to any individual use of any mask, but people have been wearing masks for decades without any health consequences. Your paper bag incident probably included a degree of stress that (being onstage in a play) that contributed to not getting enough oxygen. I would not be concerned myself about passing out, and I am a wimp as far as stress related situations. Give a mask a try and wear around the house often before leaving home with one.

    • Wyn says:

      I read that gauze is the best fabric for masks.!!

  3. plasota says:

    Could I use 7″ rubber bands instead of elastic or will it melt when cleaned in autoclave??

    • pattyprit says:

      Anything that uses heat to disinfect will get hot enough to either melt a rubber band or damage the rubber in it, but also the latex in elastic as well. Wash the mask in the laundry with a small amount of chlorine bleach (Clorox). Make multiple masks so you always have a clean one on hand.

  4. Loretta says:

    TIP: If you don’t have elastic, cut thin strips from t-shirts and pull each end. they will curl up and make remarkable ties

  5. Joy says:

    WELL, READ THIS! While looking at the pattern tonight with the formidable task ahead to make 4 or 5 masks, and not good at sewing, and not looking forward to it – I realized how much the picture looks like a bra cup! I have 3 old underwire bras that are too small now :), got them out and what do you know?? Perfect fit, and the wire bends! Now all I need to do is cut them out, make a fabric cover to slip them into so it doesn’t look like a bra cup is on my face, and the straps are elastic too! THERE YOU GO! BRA manufacturers get busy or bust!

  6. Annita Cormack says:

    Thank you from Texas

  7. Beverly says:

    Where are you located? I’m in Georgia. I am making some for our hospitals. It would be simple enough to change the elastic with twill tape. Contact me and we will see what we can do about getting you some.

    • CBS1 says:

      Thank you Beverly, but we have others here making masks, so just keep supporting your local hospitals. We all appreciate all who are helping in this unbelievable situation!

  8. Max says:

    sorry for so stupid question but have to sew a mask for kids

  9. AnnieO says:

    thank you for your input CBS1 I have been making masks with the elastic I will shift to a tie. Any one know of a good long sleeve surgical gown pattern? My mother’s nursing home wants washable gear as they will need close to 9k gown changes a month with the throw always. The magnitude of the impact with this virus is mind boggling.

  10. Sue Robar says:

    I have med experience, though no longer practicing, and agree with you. I had my mom and her friend start using cloth ribbon with the masks that they are sewing. Wish I could mail some to you; I hope you find some.

  11. Alyssa says:

    I did ties with the elastic over the back of the head instead of the ears. So comfortable!

  12. TCV says:

    Good to know from someone who will be using them!

  13. Deanne P. says:

    I am planning on using batik, the weave is tight, and for the lining a double layer of flannel. Hoping that will not be too hot or restrictive. I have elastic on order since joanns didn’t have any. Also as a hearing aid user, consider making the elastic go around the head rather than behind the ears, behind the ears makes the hearing aids fall off.

    • Donna Belcher says:

      I was gonna use flannel too but they said it holds too much moisture!

      • pattyprit says:

        It all depends on who the “they” is, as to whether to listen to their objections. Some of the objections here are just opinions, not facts. If you read all the comments here, you will see that a new study in the USA, (done by a major medical university?), says that two layers of old tee shirt fabric works best after it was worn for 2 – 3 hours. That sounds like the moisture was not a problem. Anyway, even if moisture collects and is uncomfortable, one can change multiple masks daily, bagging them in paper and taking home and launder with detergent and bleach. Bleach kills Covid-19 and a lot of other pathogens on contact.

      • Kristine says:

        Flannel might be better at keeping germs out, but the lint from the fabric is not good for lungs, in addition to being harder to breathe….

      • Deanna Tubandt says:

        I am going to use bamboo rayon. It is supposed to wick away moisture

    • Janet says:

      I think it would be difficult to breathe through two layers of Flannel. But I like your idea on the batik. that’s what I am using two layers of batik and insert of vacuum cleaner bag for filter.

    • cathy says:

      Right my friend post a head band with a button on each side. wear headband and mask, elastic bands around the buttons.

  14. Hauwei Lien says:

    Hi, thank you for making this post, but please note that the part of the post that says that the part that says a DIY mask will not help stop aerosolized virus particles is not true. There have been studies done that show that even homemade masks help filter viruses and prevent their spread. This is why many Asian countries highly recommend (and some even require people) to wear masks when they go out of the house. Can you please consider updating your post to reflect that making and wearing masks will help stop the spread of coronavirus? Of course, we should save the most effective manufactured masks and n95 respirators for our health care workers and make DIY ones to use in our everyday lives.

    Here is a post with a link to a Cambridge University study about the effectiveness of homemade masks:
    https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/diy-homemade-mask-protect-virus-coronavirus/
    Here is a post that discusses different material that can be used:
    https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/
    I hope this is helpful to you and your subscribers!

    • Mary G says:

      I think that was meant more as a “disclaimer” on their part re liability of the post on their part. Quite common. 🙂

    • redwoodsy says:

      Very helpful thank you

    • Marina says:

      Yes. You’re right. DIY masks will stop virus-sized particles, but according to the research you linked, ONLY 50%. (Double folded, most comfortable-that you can wear 2+ hours straight)
      I just don’t want some people read this article headline and have a misconception that by wearing diy mask they are invulnerable to virus. Mask is good to filter owner’s breath to decrease amount of virus flying into the air. That stops spreading the virus. Keep title, keep distance and stay well!

  15. Lynne Vann says:

    In my search fir masks and patterns I found a disclaimer from a group of doctors in Thailand that indicated that 4 layers of the Thai loin cloth fabric had tested closely to the N95 masks. I’m making masks for an endoscopy center and some home health nurses using 4 layers of white muslin that can be washed and bleached!!

  16. Yvette says:

    Great article and kudos for “shout out” in NY Post! We are living in troubled times, so any sharing of knowledge, skills, inspiration is always appreciated. Thank you

  17. Joi says:

    Why do show so hard mask . Some days ago I founded how to sew a simple mask with filter

  18. Keeka Marie says:

    For elastic, also check thrift stores. They usually have bags of “notions” that might include elastic, buttons, interfacing, etc.

  19. Christy Butler says:

    I use a cpap machine at night. I’m thinking if I have to leave my house to go to grocery store, I’ll put on my cpap face mask with material under it. It fits tight

  20. Tacha says:

    I have not read any information about using non-woven interfacing (brand name Pelon). Interfacing comes in many weights from very thin and soft to thick and stiff. It is easy to work with and washable. I make prototypes and sew garments. I have scraps of everything.

  21. AnnieO says:

    Does anyone have a long sleeve tie in back gown pattern? I have over 100 yards of vinyl sheeting that I could make disposable gowns for my mothers nursing home but can not find a long sleeve pattern

    • Sharon Case says:

      make a pattern with tissue paper, like the kind you put in a gift pkg. you could use a raglan sleeve shirt pattern that’s the basic body etc. lengthen the sleeves by laying an oversize shirt ? in place. draw the sleeve on the tissue. then make the back to lap over it. make some ties by using bias tape. it can allow some extra room in the back. or you could use snap fasteners. finish the hems and you,ve got a gown.

    • Estela says:

      Shouldn’t you be able to lengthen the sleeve on the patter you already have?

    • Joan says:

      Take a Long sleeve Shirt Turn it in side out use Brown Paper shopping bags and trace around it. Just add a couple of inches or use a Mans Large or XtraLarge Dress Shirt. Do the same thing once you’ve made one and it works you can use it as a Pattern.

    • Kitty says:

      A commercial night gown pattern will work , you would just need to make the back in two sections slightly larger in order to sew the vertical hems.

  22. Dorinda says:

    What about Embroidery machine stabilizer as a filter? I would think Cut-Away would be best. Is there an actual pattern available anywhere?

    • Hilda Barry says:

      what about coffee filters, maybe 2 per mask.

    • Larry says:

      Did you ever get an answer to this question? I was thinking about possibly Heavy Cutaway Embroidery Stabilizer today. I began searching for micron levels and ran up on this page. There are no answers out there still. This would be extremely useful info. Thanks.

  23. Lilias Schlender says:

    for the people who can’t find elastic you could cut the elastic off a fitted sheet. if the sheet is 100% cotton use the material for lining the masks also? just a thought to pass along.

  24. Sandi says:

    I want to make masks for hospital employees. What do I need to make them?

  25. Mea Cadwell says:

    I read an article from a doctor in France, collaborating with a doctor in China (and verified these were actual doctors) who said to use two layers of cloth with an anti-bacterial, non-woven fabric between as a filter. Many of the flimsier totes you can find in grocery stores are made of this material. So, I’m making double-sided masks with a slit to insert replaceable filters.

  26. Linda Howard says:

    I read somewhere to use (burp cloth) which is a light weight felt material. not the felt squares. they suggest was all material in hot water before even starting. I have everything. just need to wash the material.

  27. Ja11 says:

    Please edit this post to tell people to donate their N95’s, not “stock up” on them. How can healthcare workers care for you if they get sick as they don’t have the protection they need.

  28. Diane R says:

    Our health minister here in Ontario Canada doesn’t recommend face masks. There is too much touching of the face and that it doesn’t help with this type of virus. Sooo many conflicting stories. We have to do what we feel is best and I think if wearing a mask makes us feel safer then do it. I personally can’t wear one because of sinus issues and hinders my breathing.
    Thank you for offering this mask. I will make them available to family and friends that wish to have one.
    Keep safe!!
    Diane

    • Michelle Tothill says:

      Diane, it is so hard to know what is the right thing to do. I asked my sister in law who is a doctor in Vancouver about homemade masks. She said her small hospital still has the proper ones, but if they run short, she would like some homemade ones as a back up. I will make her a variety using some of the patterns posted here.

      I thought it interesting that t-shirt knits are better than sheeting for reducing the spread of viruses, according to this article.

      https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/

  29. BEVERLY GILLOOLY says:

    where is the pattern for the face mask

  30. LoJo says:

    I wonder if you could use coffee filters as replaceable filters. they are rather inexpensive

    • Ann Rhuland says:

      I added a pipe cleaner at the top so you could pinch at nose. I zigzagged it to the lining wrong side just below to the seam allowance when the mask was turned and top stitched I made sure I trapped the pipe cleaner between the seam and top stitch. I tried using PUL but felt it was too hot after it was on for a few min you could breath ok just retained heat.

  31. BRPINTX says:

    I am getting first-line information and the latest is to use thin fabric like Stitch Witchery which will keep the batting inside-layer attached to the outer fabric, with the lining being comfortable, and the entire thing being breathable. If not, it won’t be use, and is thus useless.

    Note: batting must be attached. I’m sure simple quilting will also work.

  32. Mrs. Cross says:

    I made my version and also linked this to my FB page. Also, I used non-woven interfacing as a filter on my lining.

    I wish I could post a picture of it.

  33. Sharon Lippincott says:

    If you lack elastic, look around the house for old clothes and underwear with elastic you can re-purpose. Leg elastic from one pair of panties should work for two masks. Look for heavy elastic cord. Even big rubber bands should work in a pinch.

  34. Janie says:

    what fabric is used for the replaceable filter inserted into some of the masks?

    • pattyprit says:

      If you look for the chart in older comments, two layers of terrycloth dishtowel provide one of the highest rates of filtering.

      • al fredo says:

        I didn’t see anything about “terrycloth” dishtowels on that chart. I saw what I believe was reference to smooth type dishtowels. I also saw a chart about the doubling of the towels making it 100% harder to breath through than an n95 mask. Please correct and excuse me if I am wrong.

        • pattyprit says:

          Al, yes your are right. I misread “tea towel”, assuming they meant terrycloth and cannot edit my comment. Many folks I know call different types of small towels “tea towels”, so it could mean muslin, diaper cloth/flour sack, or other fabric. I’ve seen many people calling whatever they use a “tea towel” in their homes.

          I am going try one using a “glass cleaning bar cloth”. It’s a small smooth (but thicker than muslin) tightly woven cotton towel especially made to not give off lint when drying drinking glasses. They are typically white with multiple thin red stripes, or sometimes one wider stripe of any down the middle. They and very smooth and super soft, unlike most “bar cloths” you see for sale.

          I checked Amazon and there are a number of different textures of fabrics show for tea towels, though they are all cotton.

    • Greta Termaat says:

      Vacuum ceaner bag material is tested as the best and sanme as professional masks

  35. Cathy Skach says:

    I’m wondering if you can help readers locate medical grade fabric to use in these masks?

  36. mililani12 says:

    Thank you for the post.
    A big factor that masks bring to all of us is it limits us from touching our face as often. As we know, not touching our faces is one of the best things we can do.

  37. Danielle Samson says:

    The challenge now is finding 1/4″ elastic. Amazon shipping not until May 1. Many of us have plenty of material just no elastic.

    • ann says:

      yes, no elastic to be found. I called a sewing shop and they suggested anything that could be tied behind the head, twine, shoelaces…

      • eleanor00a says:

        I bought 100 feet of paracord. It’s a little stiff, but inexpensive and you can sew over it.

        Examples at http://www.paracordplanet.com tho you can buy it cheaper at Home Depot – I’ve even seen it at Dollar Tree, $1 for about 25 feet.

      • eleanor00a says:

        I bought 100 feet of paracord. You can buy it at Amazon but it’s cheaper at Home Depot if one is willing to go out. Have even seen it $1 for 25 feet at Dollar Tree.

        It’s a little stiff but you can sew over it at least.

    • Janet Elwood says:

      Try Walmart or I have seen some using ties instead of elastic.

      • Kaitlyn Hillesland says:

        Etsy shops have elastic!
        My mom has made several styles of masks for medical trips to Ethiopia; the pleated style was everyone’s favorite. They also liked when she put a twisty tie along the top edge so they could be pinched over the bridge if their nose.

    • Tanja says:

      try rubber band

    • Karen says:

      Just use any kind of tie if you don’t have elastic, you could use shoelaces, piping, home made straps, anything that keeps it on.

    • Laurie Winiarski says:

      where are you located? I can still get hair ties larger ones in packs of 15 here in NJ. Picked up 4 packs yesterday. I can get them shipped to you for my cost if you are interested. We may go on lock down after today in NJ, but I will do what I can to help. I will buy any elastic that I see today!

      • Cheryl Wical says:

        Hi Laurie – shout-out from CA. The link on this site is great for mask patterns. I have loads of fabric scraps for masks and am going to produce as many as I can for this area (Santa Cruz). There are so many homeless people here now and I don’t see any COVID-19 efforts supporting them.

    • Nataša Gajšt says:

      Sometimes you can find elastic in supermarkets (crafts section or similar).

    • Jackie says:

      Old bra straps might work.

    • Deanna Tubandt says:

      One doctor recommended fold over elastic. She said it was more comfortable. Amazon still has this https://amzn.to/3bvYgHO

  38. Clare says:

    Please consider donating those N-95s you bought to a hospital or nursing home. They are sorely needed. Nurses, doctors, therapists, techs, and housekeepers have to treat infected patients; most of us on the outside can simply use social distancing. Unless you are at very high risk, healthcare workers need those N-95s much more than us. I’m a respiratory therapy student and our clinicals were cancelled in part because the hospitals couldn’t spare the PPE.

  39. dotlm says:

    I Think Sew has some filter fabric that you can order. It is in Canada so international shipping is pricey, but cheaper than getting this nasty bug.

What do you think?