how I make masks

I made dozens of masks in 2020. This is my method.

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DISCLAIMER: these are so-called fashion masks and are not to be used in a medical setting unless you have no other options. Make and use at your own risk.

Masks! You need 'em, I need 'em. I am going to show you how I make masks in a few easy steps.

These masks are made from 100% cotton, aka quilting cotton, and elastic. The tighter the weave, the better. If you're unsure, give it the flame test: put two layers of it up to your mouth in a mask-like fashion and try to blow out a candle. If you can't, that fabric is a keeper. 

Your elastic length needs will vary, but here's a rough guide: I use 8" (20.32cm) pieces for my husband's masks (he has a beard) and 6 3/4" (17.145cm) pieces for my masks.

These masks are pretty cheap to make, especially once you get a lifetime supply of elastic from the Bezos Barn. If you already sew, it's likely that you have scraps that are big enough to make masks -- you need two pieces that are 6" by 9" (15.24cm x 22.86cm). I made a handy pattern that you can download below.

***Metric pattern coming soon (15.5cm x 23cm)***

my mask pattern.pdf

This will be easier than trying to measure two 6" by 9" (15.25cm x 23cm) rectangles on your fabric.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 20.66 kB - 01/16/2021 at 21:57


  • 2 × pieces of 100% cotton cut to 6" by 9" (15.24cm x 22.86cm)
  • 2 × pieces of 1/4" (0.635cm) elastic (or whatever width you have/want) lifetime supply for cheap:
  • 1 × thread
  • 4 × pins to hold the fabric pieces together
  • 1 × steam iron to create the pleats

View project log

  • 1
    Cut fabric pieces

    You will need two pieces that measure 6" by 9". The 9" is the width, so depending on the pattern of your fabric, you may want to cut it one way and not the other.

  • 2
    Cut elastic pieces

    You will need two pieces of elastic for ear loops. Rough guide: somewhere between 6 3/4" and 8" will probably work for you. I was told to average 7", but found that those are too loose on my face. My husband has a beard, so his are a little longer than average.

  • 3
    Iron your fabric

    This isn't completely necessary, but helps avoid sewing mishaps.

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marazm wrote 01/15/2021 at 21:12 point

more people uses meter no imperial

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kristina panos wrote 01/07/2021 at 17:41 point

@Dan Maloney or block print... I need to make a page with all the stamps I've carved over the years.

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Dan Maloney wrote 01/04/2021 at 23:11 point

We really need Jolly Wrencher fabric...

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kristina panos wrote 01/05/2021 at 00:03 point

Right? I could make some on Spoonflower, but I've heard both terrible and great things about that outfit.

That said, I'm thinking about making the mask for this project out of a pink handkerchief with skulls on it.

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kristina panos wrote 01/05/2021 at 15:48 point

I found the handkerchief in question and it is too thin loosely woven to be a decent mask. Maybe if I had four layers worth of material.

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bobgreenwade wrote 01/06/2021 at 14:49 point

I've been a designer for and customer of Spoonflower for a couple of years now, and only once had a problem (pure red, on their jersey fabric, comes out orange). I'd say give it a try; upload that "Jolly Wrencher" design, and get a $5 swatch to see how it comes out. If you don't like it, well, you're only out $5 (plus postage) plus time.

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Dan Maloney wrote 01/07/2021 at 17:35 point

Of course, there's always the option to embroider the Wrencher...

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