Fabric Face Masks

And old sheet and an old T-shirt.

As soon as the CDC recommended that everyone wear a face mask while out in public I started making them for myself and my family. By the time the CDC made their recommendation, the fabric shops had closed due to being non-essential businesses.

I did a bit of research online, and found a site where the efficacy of various types of cloth masks were compared with disposable ones. (I can’t find the link now, sorry.) Basically, it said that tightly woven fabric (think 180 percale sheets or finer) that was arranged with two layers was more effective that a paper mask. So that became the basis for my pattern.

The first mask I made, I based the dimensions on a paper mask that I had at home. Subsequent masks dimensions were altered to improve fit.

I did not have any elastic for the ear loops, so I decided to use the T-shirt material there.

The first ear loops were 7″ long, still following the pattern of the paper mask.

I cut the T-shirt material into 1″ x 7″ strips and then folded them in fourths, tucking the raw edges in and finished them with a “X” stitch for maximum stretch ability.

Here is the first prototype, modelled by my son, Mike. If you look carefully, you can see the sweet face of Gip, the Guinea pig on the extreme left of the photo.

My son, Patrick, wanted his customized with an embroidered mustache.

The blue markings will launder away when the mask is washed.

The dimensions I am working with now are 9″ x 6.5″ for the mask with just 2 pleats. And the ear loops are 5″. That seems to fit us pretty well.

As these fabric masks should be laundered after each wearing, I will continue to make more, until we have a good supply. I have ordered some elastic, which is due to arrive in mid-June, which will speed up the process a bit.

How about you all? What are you using for face masks?


    1. I noticed the mustache getting smiles yesterday (even from an appropriate distance) when we went for a walk in the park. It doubled the manufacturing time though.


  1. I’m afraid my cats would try to help me if I spread out fabric, so I’m just using the mask a friend brought me. It fits way better than the cheap ones I used to get at Walgreen’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Using 2 cotton triangle shape hair scarves, folded, with 2 ponytail holders to go around my ears. with the scarves folded there is 6 layers of fabric, so I think that should do the trick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, if you can breathe through 6 layers of fabric! Give it a test run at home, so you don’t end up light headed at the grocery store.


  3. Already been using as I go to a Nursing Home facility, as a caregiver & I am being tempt’ed in and out. Layers are not that thick as I can’t breathe through. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I made one just yesterday! I cut fabric squares in an old cotton apron and shirt. We have elastic, but for this one I reused the drawstrings from the shirt. It’s hella cute (which is very important I’m sure), and now that I know how to do it I’ll be making more.

    Liked by 1 person

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