Last Friday the CDC announced they are now advising everyone to wear a cloth face-covering mask in public to slow the spread of coronavirus. This also makes it possible to save the medical grade masks for the medical community and those that have a higher risk of infection. I looked at tons of different DIY face mask patterns and ended up drafting my own after not liking the way many of them fit. The pattern I’ve made is for a simple reversible, washable face mask with elastic loops. You can replace the elastic with ties if preferred.
If you don’t sew and want to purchase ready-made masks, I have been putting a few for sale in my Etsy shop: Sew Geek Mama on Etsy. I have been donating most of what I make and the masks on Etsy help cover the costs of that.
From Pretend Super Hero Capes to Real Life Saving Masks
I have a lot of fabric leftover from when I made costumes, so I’ve been going through my super hero stash and using what I have to make them. My masks were made from polyester satin, but most people have been using cotton. The first ones I made were all from my Wonder Woman cape fabric, so that’s why they are red, white and blue! You can make them in one solid color using any fabric you prefer.
DIY Face Mask Pattern and Tutorial
The pattern I drafted is based on several I found online, with a few tweaks. It makes a double layer, reversible mask that contours around the nose and hooks over the ears with elastic. You’ll need to cut out four pieces of fabric and use two 5 1/2″ pieces of elastic. Use 7″ elastic for larger heads. If printed at the correct size, the bottom side should be 5 1/2″ inches and the ends 3″.
Instructions for Sewing Face Mask
1) Trace your pattern onto the side of the fabric you don’t want to show and cut out four pieces. I normally put pins in after I trace it, but before I cut it so it keeps the pieces together.
2) You’ll have two sets of mask pieces when cut out. Straight stitch these down the front side using 1/4″ seam allowance. The setting I used on my sewing machine was A2. A lot of patterns suggest doing little cuts on the curved ends. I tried it both ways and didn’t see much of a difference in the final product so you can probably skip that step. Sometimes I add it if my seam comes out wider than I expected.
3) Open up your pieces and pin the right sides of the fabric together, so you sew on the seamed sides, using the same stitch and seam allowance. Don’t worry which way the seam lies. I tried it several different ways- same direction, opposite, opened-up…and the end result was pretty much all the same.
4) Now it’s time to flip it right side out and sew the ends! I use an iron for this part. You’re going to flip the raw edges in about 1/4″ – 1/2″, basically as much as you need to get a straight line. I put a pin in the middle and then flatten it with the iron.
5) Next take your elastic – I use 5 1/2″ for regular size and about 7″ for larger heads/faces – and tuck it in the open ends and pin in place.
6) Use a zigzag stitch down the open ends, backstitching over the elastic to make sure it is held in place. The setting I use on my machine for this part is C2. Do both sides and you are done! I like to finish it up with the iron to make sure everything lies nicely.
If the elastic feels a little tight on the ears, I found it loosens up if you give it a few good tugs. Also, if you want to make one with open ends to insert a filter, just finish the edges after you sew the front ends together, and then just zigzag the elastic in place at the top and bottom.
Hope you found this tutorial easy to understand! If you have any questions, please post them. Good luck and stay safe out there!