A pattern for making DIY COVID-19 masks

Note: This pattern is for a “stand alone” mask. We will have a pattern for N95 covers going up soon!

April 8, 2020

This pattern came recommended by one of our sources. It’s a printable version and a complete tutorial for making it – by Sweet Red Poppy.

Read our article about fabric considerations and best practice for cleaning here.

There are other patterns to chose from here.

The standalone “pleated” model used without an N95 mask underneath – photo:

(above) – A standalone pleated mask:

Video for making this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL9D6ZFtZHM

Note that it is a good idea to make the pleated version with a contrasting lining so that when a person reuses it they can’t accidentally put the wrong side against their face.

For large quantities, the  amount of fabric you need is roughly:

  • 24 pleated masks per yard of 45 inch fabric.
  • If you are using sheets, it’s roughly:
    • one twin sheet to three 1/2 yards
    • one queen sheet to 4 yards
    • one king sheet to 5 1/2 yards.

Ear ties and/or ties that go all the way around the back of the head

  • With everybody making these, you cannot find elastic in the stores anymore. Amazon is out and they will not ship from China right now, so here is an excellent Plan B.
  • You can cut up an old swim suit or try to purchase some Lycra swimsuit Fabric online, and cut it into 1/2 inch by 7 inch strips for ear loops. (It is horrible to try and cut with scissors, so use a cutting board with a rotary cutter and lots of sharp blades if you have access to one, for large quantities.)
  • Cut the fabric 14 in wide and keep in double layers.
  • Cut through in 1/2 inch slips making them 14 in long, but before you remove the lycra from from the Cutting Board make one more slice crosswise so that you end up with 7 inch strips.
  • If your fabric was 60 inches before doubling, this will result in 240 cut strips.
  • That lycra will never fray and will roll into kind of a tube that is comfy behind the ears.
  • Put elastic ties (whichever type) in a baggie and distribute with fabric as “kits”
  • Make your kits to the Sewers contain 110 pieces of fabric sets and this baggie (for some to spare) and they will have enough strips to use exactly like the elastic is used in the video pattern I gave you.
  • You may also want to make some of the same model that have for 18 inch ties, one on each corner, for people who prefer to tie behind their head and below their neck line . Use ribbon for the ties.

After looking at other patterns, it would appear useful to sew in a pipe cleaner or twistie tie or something above where your nose will be, so you can pinch it over your nose to tighten the mask around it. This provides more protection and also can help stop you glasses from fogging up when you wear it.)

Note from Matteo Borri: Use a twisty tie or pipe cleaner or “solid” copper wire – NOT “stranded” – as stranded will eventually start to frey a little bit and it could poke out through the fabric and puncture your skin. (and that hurts).

More information and references on our page about fabric considerations.

November 12-13 2022 at the Internet Archive