How to Make a Reusable Mask

A fabric face mask, scissors, and sewing pins

Stacy Fisher

Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 mask
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $8

This free reusable mask tutorial will walk you through the process of making a fitted mask or face covering that contours around your mouth and nose for a snug, but comfortable fit. Two pattern pieces are included that you can use to make a reusable mask for an adult or a child. It's a step up from a basic face mask, taking a little more sewing know-how, but is still a great project for a more advanced beginner or intermediate sewist.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

Materials

  • 1/4 yard Main fabric
  • 1/4 yard Lining fabric
  • 10 inch Elastic

Instructions

  1. Print and Cut the Pattern

    Print the reusable mask pattern. Be sure to print at 100%, with no scaling. To make sure you've printed correctly, measure the box on the pattern. It should measure 1" on all sides. Use scissors to cut out the pattern piece, using the outer lines for an adult-sized mask or the inner lines for a child-sized mask.

    A mask pattern piece, fabric, scissors, a ruler, and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  2. Cut Out Your Pattern Pieces

    Trace the pattern piece onto your main fabric and your lining fabric and cut them out. Flip the pattern over so the wrong side is facing up and trace them again on your main and lining fabric. Cut. You'll now have four pieces of fabric, two main and two linings.

    Cut out face mask pattern pieces and scissors
    Stacy Fisher
  3. Cut Your Elastic

    Cut two pieces of elastic 5" long and set aside. If you're sewing a mask for someone who has a large or small head, you may want to add or subtract 0.5" from these elastic pieces. Keep in mind that the elastic will stretch when it's wrapped around the ears.

    Face mask pattern pieces, elastic, and scissors
    Stacy Fisher
  4. Pin and Sew the Curve

    Put the main fabric pieces right sides together and pin around the largest curve. Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat with the lining fabric pieces.

    Two pinned face mask pattern pieces and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  5. Clip Notches and Press the Curve

    Clip small notches within the seam allowance of the curve you just sewed, about 1/2" away from each other. Be careful not to cut into your seam. Repeat with the lining fabric pieces.

    Notches cut into a face mask seam allowance
    Stacy Fisher
  6. Pin the Elastic

    Open the main fabric mask piece that you sewed together in step four and put it open right-side up on the table. Pin one piece of the elastic to the right side of the mask, on the straight edge, about 1/2" down from the top. Loop the elastic around and pin the other end onto the same side of the mask but 1/2" from the bottom. Repeat with the other side.

    Elastic pinned to a face mask
    Stacy Fisher
  7. Get Ready to Sew

    Place the lining fabric mask piece that you sewed in step four and right-side down on top of the main fabric piece that has the elastic attached. Pin around the entire mask, attaching the main and lining mask pieces.

    Two face mask pattern pieces pinned together
    Stacy Fisher
  8. Sew the Mask

    Sew around the entire mask with a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave a 2" opening on the bottom of the mask for turning.

    A sewn face mask with sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  9. Turn the Mask Right Side Out

    Pull the inside of the mask through the gap so the mask is now right side out. Press well.

    A face mask and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher
  10. Finish the Mask

    Sew a 1/4" inside the entire outside edge of the mask to close the opening and further secure the elastic. To wear, cover your mouth and nose with fabric and attach to your head by putting the elastic loops around your ears.

    A face mask that has been topstiched and sewing pins
    Stacy Fisher

Alternative Fabric Choices

The best type of fabric to use for a reusable mask is 100% cotton. If you don't have any cotton fabric available, you can cut up an old woven piece of clothing and use that. You can also use the fabric from an old t-shirt to make a face mask if you can't find any woven material.

Alternative Elastic Choices

If you don't have any elastic, you have some other options. You can use fabric ties, rubber bands, ribbon, hair ties, or just about anything that has some stretch to it so it can be secured around the mouth and nose.

Caring for Your Mask

Caring for your reusable mask is easy, just throw it in the laundry after each time you wear it.

Article Sources
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  1. How to Wash a Cloth Face Covering. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 May 2020