Today I want to share a video tutorial with you on how to make your own surgical mask. There’s probably about 10,000 out there right now, but this is my take! I like the style of this mask because it doesn’t pull on your ears like many that I’m seeing. To each his own though, if you have a pattern or tutorial that you like better, please use it!
Please know that this is not an ideal scenario! If you are experiencing symptoms and a disposable mask is available, use it. These cotton masks are a last-resort. The CDC is saying that a bandana or scarf will do if no disposable masks are available. These have a tighter weave and seal off the nose and mouth better, so there is some value to this style of mask.
Here is a basic supply list, but feel free to improvise since we’re all stuck inside at the moment!
- 100% cotton fabric (this can be tea towels, tee-shirts (not stretchy), or quilting cotton. Batiks are great because they have a tight weave)
- Polyester thread (if you have it!)
- Pipe cleaners
- Pliers (helpful but not required)
- 28″—36″ of 1/4″ Elastic (this will vary from person to person, I suggest 28″ for women and 32″ for most men) Additionally, elastic is in very short supply, alternatively you can use ribbon, see how here.
- Erasable fabric pen or marker
Find a Donation Center First!
Here’s my video, I hope you enjoy it and find a great place to donate! Please check with your local hospital BEFORE you start making masks. Many hospitals are requesting a certain style or even supplying makers with medical-grade fabrics. Make the best use of your time and make what your area specifically requests!
You can call your local hospital, check out their Facebook pages, or look on their websites for more information. Other great places that might not have a lot of donations coming in are Nursing Homes and Cancer Treatment Centers.
Lastly, if you’re making these for you, family, or friends, that’s awesome! If you’re looking for a kid’s sized mask tutorial, check out my COIVD-19 Kid’s Mask tutorial here.
How to make a Face Mask
Here’s my video tutorial on cotton masks! Scroll to the bottom to see the written (less detailed instructions.
Why I created this Tutorial
I know that there’s a million mask tutorials out there. I came up with the idea for a cased edge because I felt that the gaping sides didn’t let the mask do its job as well. I also felt that the elastic wasn’t very secure on the ears that I saw on many tutorials and patterns.
That said, I’m not at all offended if you like another pattern better! Please, just pick your favorite (or the favorite of your local hospital) and start sewing. Let’s pull together as a community and do whatever we can to help others during this crazy time.
Written Mask Tutorial
I’ve had lots of requests for the written version of this tutorial so, here are the basics! My video goes a little more in-depth and you can see it come together as we go.
- 100% Cotton Fabric
- Polyester Thread
- Pipe Cleaner
- Rotary Cutter
- 28″—36″ of 1/4″ Elastic (this will vary from person to person, I suggest 28″ for women and 32″ for most men)
- Erasable Fabric Marker
- Yarn Needle (not required, but helpful)
How to make a mask
- Cut fabric to 13-1/2″ x 7″
- Fold fabric RST, matching short ends and stitch to make a tube
- Turn right side out and press so that the seam sits on the fold
- Topstitch 3/8″ away from the seam
- Measure in 1-1/4″ away from folded edge of mask and mark
- Measure in 1/2″ more and mark
- Repeat the pattern to create 6 lines
- Pinch two adjacent lines to create a pleat. Pin and repeat for a total of 3 pleats
Creating the Binding
- Cut a 2″ strip
- Cut two 2″ strips that are about 1/2″ longer than the sides of your mask on each end
- Fold each end in and iron to be flush with your mask.
- On the long edges, turn all raw edges into the center of your strips
- Fold the strip in half around your mask edges to create a casing
- Match raw edges of binding to raw edge of mask. Top stitch along folded edge of binding on one side
- Turn edges of pipe cleaner under and INSERT PIPE CLEANER into top of mask BEFORE adding second binding edge
- Add the remaining binding piece onto the last raw edge of the mask
I’ve noticed that the world seems to also be facing an elastic shortage, if you’re out as well, check out how to update this tutorial with ribbons!
- thread elastic through yarn needle
- thread through the binding edges, making a loop.
- Stitch ends together and pull into the binding to hide.
If you’re making lots of masks for teachers or other adults that are out-and-about, be sure to pick up my Mask Laundry Bag! This is perfect for keeping all those COVID masks organized during the long work day.
If you’ve been looking for a mask organizer bag, look no more! This single bag is separated into to compartments for quick and easy storage of clean and dirty masks. Customize with your favorite fabrics, iron-ons and patches.