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How To Make Cloth Face Masks (An Easy Sewing Tutorial)

Home DIY Jul 21, 2020

With mandatory masks enforced in some areas of Australia due to Covid19, we wanted to create an easy cloth mask design that you can make at home.

When wearing the mask ensure that your mouth, nose and chin are covered, and adjust as best you can so that there are no gaps, making sure to avoid touching the front of the mask while you are wearing it. This design is reusable, simply wash at home with hot water and detergent. It is recommended to wash it after each use and don’t forget to use clean hands when you take the mask on and off. Please note this design is in line with local guidelines to prevent community transmission, however it is a non-medical grade mask.

Picking The Right Fabrics

The fabrics that are used to make your mask are really important. This mask is in line with the guidelines used in Australia (here are the US guidelines which are different) with a 3 layer construction. Ensure that you follow the fabric compositions listed below under our materials list.

  • Outer layer – 100% water resistant synthetic like Polyester 26 x 26cm (10.5 in x 10.5) in
  • Middle layer – poly / cotton blend 25 x 25cm (10 in x 10 in)
  • Inner layer – Water absorbing fabric – linen or cotton 25 x 25cm (10 in x 10 in)

For our outer layer we used a pink printed synthetic, our middle layer is a poly cotton poplin and our inner layer a terracotta coloured cotton. If you can’t make it to a fabric store at the moment these are all fabrics you can source from home, perhaps from some clothing you no longer wear. We have also included two strap options – one with elastic and one with a fabric tie, depending on what materials you have access to.


  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Dressmakers pins
  • Fabric chalk
  • Small safety pin
  • Bamboo skewer or similar
  • 40cm (15 ½ in) of Elastic for the (if available – we understand in some areas there is a shortage so follow our second option for cloth straps. If using this option you will also need an additional piece of fabric approximately 140cm long and 8cm wide.)
  • Matching Thread

How to make a cloth face mask


Cut your fabric to size, your middle layer fabric and inner layer need to be a 25cm (10 in) square and your outer layer a 26cm (10 ½ in) square.


Place the middle layer on top of the inner layer fabric. It doesn’t matter which way your middle layer faces, but ensure that your inner layer is facing right side out. Pin the outer perimeter of the fabric and sew to secure them together using a straight stitch 5mm (¼ in) in from the edge.


Get your outer layer fabric and lay it flat with the right side of the fabric facing down. Place your inner and middle layers on top with the inner layer facing up. Fold back the edges of your outer layer fabric, ironing flat and pinning as you go. For neat corners you might like to cut a diagonal out of the fabric as shown here.


Along two parallel sides fold back 1cm (½ in) and iron flat.


Using a straight stitch sew these two edges in place, trying to sew over the line you created in step 3 for a neat finish


On the other two sides fold back 1.5cm (¾) inch, pin and sew as above. In the next step you will thread the elastic through these sides so don’t sew the ends shut and be sure to allow enough space in this seam for the width of your elastic or fabric ti


If using elastic straps:Cut your elastic to two 20cm (8 in) lengths. Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic and thread through the channel you created in step 5. Loop it back over itself and pin in place. Either sew by hand or machine to close the loop. Check the fit and tighten if required. You can tuck this join back into the ruched channel for a neat finish.


If using fabric straps:Cut two lengths of fabric measuring 140 x 4cm (55 x 1.5 in). Fold them in half along the long side with the right side facing inwards. Then sew a straight stitch 5mm (¼ in) in from the raw edge on the long side, leave one of the short edges open and sew the other closed.


Next we’ll turn them the right way out using the blunt edge of your skewer (or whatever you have that is similar). Start at the short edge you sewed closed in the last step and use the skewer to push this edge into the channel. Continue to push the length of the fabric down the skewer until the short edge emerges out the other end. When it does gently pull it through the whole way. Iron the tie flat and sew the open short edge closed using either a hand or machine stitch.


Attach a safety pin to the end of your tie and thread it through the side channel of your mask, repeating for both sides.


For further information, please refer to Victoria’s Guidelines on making cloth masks.

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