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Article: DIY: Let's make Masks


DIY: Let's make Masks

Hi elestory friends, 
As you all are aware by now, we are in the middle of a pandemic like none we've experienced before. Most of our country has shut down schools/daycares, and a lot of us are not able to keep working. It is, needless to say, a very challenging time for everyone, and I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. As we battle this new COVID19 virus, some of the men and women on the front lines-- our doctors, nurses, medical staff, are facing dire circumstances. My good friend works as an ER doctor for a local hospital and she, like many others in the medical field, are facing N95 mask shortages, amongst other supplies. So, what can we do to help?
Over the weekend, our older daughter June and I started making cloth masks to donate to my friend's hospital. When I posted on IG Stories, the majority of you asked for a tutorial. So I am posting this for those of you who would like to make them either for yourselves or to donate. Please do note that while this does NOT sufficiently replace N95 masks, from what I hear, doctors will primarily be wearing these over their N95 masks to help the N95's last longer. But, honestly, the real solution would be to ramp up on the production of N95 masks so that our doctors and medical staff would have the proper gear to protect themselves and their patients. Please check with your local hospitals and other organizations before making these to see who will accept them and whether they have restrictions on what type of masks. I saw that Joann Fabrics is collecting as well, if you have a Joann's nearby.
I tried my best to show you how to make these, based on some trial and error. The pattern I am using  are inspired by dust mask patterns from a fellow maker at, but I made a few modifications of my own. She also has made a tutorial on how to do a pocket for filter and nose wires for those of you who would like that version. 

Supplies List
• cotton fabric (tightly woven ones like quilting fabrics work great), pre-washed approximately 7" x 14" to make one mask. You can use two different prints for "main" and "lining", or just make them the same on both sides. 
• 1/4" wide elastic or elastic cord (although these are harder to stitch in place). Two strips of 6-6.5” long each (you can make them longer or shorter, but I think this seemed to be a good length for the adult masks)
• thread 
• pins - only need at most 4 for this project
• optional: non-woven sew-in lightweight interfacing like this one 

• sewing machine
• fabric scissors
• iron 
• printer - you will need to download and print out the paper pattern

The PDF patterns for men and women for you to download and print. 

1. Print out pattern and cut out
2. With your fabric right sides together (pattern side of the fabric facing each other), pin pattern on top and cut out. You can cut the sew-in interfacing at this time as well.

Note: The pattern provided has both the Main fabric pattern as well as the Lining pattern. You can cut them all with the same fabric if you choose to have both sides of the mask with the same design. Or, if you want to have a different fabric lining, cut 2 of the main fabric, and then cut 2 of the lining fabric. 
3. With the main fabrics right sides together, sew the center front of the face mask using a 1/4" seam allowance. This is the longer, curved part of the pattern piece. Do the same with the lining fabric. Clip the curved part, being careful not to snip any of the stitches. This will help the seam to lay flat. Iron.

4. Then, with right sides together again (printed sides of the fabric), pin the main and lining pieces together, being careful to match the center front seams.
The ear side of the lining piece should end where the notches are on the main piece. (Like so)

Stitch on the top and bottom of the mask, using a 1/4” seam allowance like before.

5. Clip the top curved side again, then turn the mask inside out. Iron flat.

6. Optional: Top stitch the top and bottom edges of the mask to stabilize the layers, especially if you have the sew in interfacing. 
7. Turning to the lining side, you should have something that looks like this:

Fold the longer main fabric in half and press with iron. Then again so that the edge of the main wraps around the edge of the lining. 

8. Then, take your elastic piece and do a stay stitch (feel free to go over this a few times) on both sides to make sure the elastic does not come undone easily. 

Then pin the fold in place and stitch the edge closed.
Now you have your mask. Please remember, as far as I am aware, these are acting as covers for our doctors to use over their medical masks. How effective they are on their own is not proven, so some hospitals are not sanctioning their usage. So, before you make these to donate to hospitals please make sure they are accepting them. Thank you for doing your part to help us get through this. Together we are stronger. 

Addendum: We've received an overwhelming number of people who would like to purchase these. So myself and our production manager will be making them to order. For full disclosure the masks we are making for production do include a pocket for filters and the pattern has been modified to have a deeper fit on the nose part of the face. We also had to make a wider casing for elastic to make them adjustable. You can order on our product page HERE. For every mask purchased, we will donate a mask to a local hospital. 

Please stay safe and healthy out there.








Hi Judy, would you happen to have a kids size pattern to share?


Amy Eam

Hello, I received an email regarding my order #24812…I thought I ordered masks for Adults, which I need, my order says Child…am I reading discription wrong.

Thank you,

Carol Hughes

Carol Hughes

Thank you for sharing your pattern as a free pdf. It’s great! I’ve been able to make and provide over 50 masks for no charge to people needing them. I add a middle layer of polypropylene from new reusable bags that we all have laying around the house. Thanks again for generously sharing your pattern.


Thanks so much for the pattern. I would like to make a few for the kids in my family. Would you have any advice on measurements?

Anna Attard

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