On Your Side: How to make your own face mask

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Updated: Apr. 3, 2020 at 10:45 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - While officials are rethinking their recommendations on wearing face masks, some people are already wearing them anytime they leave their home. Everyone seems to agree that wearing one can’t hurt, and it is a reminder to stop touching your face.

The big problem for most people will be getting masks. The demand is high, especially for the top line N-95 masks healthcare workers use. There may be questions about the total safety of homemade masks, but if it gives you peace of mind, go ahead. Just remember to follow the CDC’s other recommendations to avoid COVID-19, including social distancing and frequent hand washing.

Here are several tutorials on making your own.

Popular Science has a great article on making your own using a reusable grocery bag.

The New York Times has a tutorial on making masks from common things around the house.

And this is a good explainer on how to make masks from JoAnn Fabric. You will need the supplies below.


  • Body Fabric - Denim 10-12 oz. or 100% cotton fabric.
  • Fabric Ties 2 yards - Use 1/2″ double fold bias tape, 3/8” Twill Tape, 3/8” Grosgrain ribbon, or make your own using knit or woven fabric.
  • Lightweight, non-woven fusible interfacing.
  • Pattern template.
  • Basic Sewing Supplies.


  • Download the pattern by clicking here.
  • Cut four of pattern out of denim (cut 2 together, twice.) Apply interfacing to wrong side of denim pieces.
  • Cut fabric ties to about 18” each.
  • To make your own woven fabric ties, cut strips 1 1/2″ X 36” long. Fold strip in half long ways and press. Fold raw edges in toward center fold and press again. Stitch down the side to close tie. Cut to 18” length and finish one side by folding twice about 1/4″ and stitching to secure.
  • To make your own knit fabric ties, cut strips of knit fabric 1 1/2″ wide. Stretch strips out until knit fabric rolls. Trim down to 18” lengths.
  • Match two pieces of denim right sides together, and sew the outer curve using 3/8” seam allowance. Repeat with remaining two pieces.
  • Open pieces and press both seam allowances to the right.
  • Top stitch down the seam allowance, about 1/4” from the seam.
  • Lay one half of the mask down with the right side facing up. Pin raw ends of fabric ties in each corner, placing them 1/2″ up/down from the top and bottom edges. Finished tie ends should extend toward the middle of the mask. Once ties are pinned in place, bundle the tie ends together in the center of the mask.
  • Match front and back pieces right sides together, nesting center front seams.
  • Pin and sew around the exterior of the mask, leaving a small opening at the bottom of the mask between the center front seam and corner.
  • Clip across corners, taking care not to cut through the stitching.
  • Turn mask right side out and press.
  • Top stitch around the mask, closing the hole at the bottom in the process.

Here are video tutorials on how to make your own masks:

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