Make Your Own Fabric Face Mask

How to be safe AND stylish!


With the pandemic going on and intruding on our daily lives for over more than a year, we still have people refusing to wear a mask or at least have a lot of problems and questions with it. Before we go into the DIY, let’s get into some questions we may have with face masks.

Why do I need to wear a face mask?

The COVID-19 virus spreads through respiratory droplets and one way we can prevent getting it or spreading it is by acting like we have the virus. The CDC recommends social distancing of at least 6 feet and wearing face masks properly anywhere possible.

Will I be able to breathe with a mask?

Yes! Several people and organizations, especially those with difficulty breathing in normal situations, have tested the oxygen levels for different kinds of masks. They have proven that none of the masks that are recommended by WHO compromise a person’s oxygen levels. If you find it hard to breathe with a mask on, neurological reactions which mask-wearing has been ascribed to is the more probable cause. 

Is a fabric mask safe?

Generally, yes, a fabric face mask is effective in preventing the spread of the virus when worn properly and with physical distancing. Here are the places when a fabric mask should be used:

  • Salons
  • Grocery stores
  • Coffee shops, restaurants, and fast food places
  • Malls and retail stores
  • Public transportation
  • Hotels

When NOT to use a fabric face mask

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

Here’s how to make your own face mask

For this DIY, we will be using the Olson Mask Pattern.

The Olson mask was made and named after nurse Lyla Mae Olson, a pioneer in the Maker Nurse movement since the 1930s. With the spread of COVID-19, the mask was developed and adapted by UnityPoint Health to be more effective in mitigating the spread of the virus.

You will need about a quarter of a yard of fabric and 2 hair tie elastics or regular elastics if you have them. We recommend cotton or a mix of cotton and chiffon/silk for the fabric. Researchers have found that these are the most effective fabrics in filtering aerosols and droplets.

  1. The first step is to trace and cut your fabric based on this pattern. Cut 2 pieces of cloth for each pattern template.

  2. The next step is to sew the single hems. Fold the straight edges of the cheek and mouth pieces inward by ¼-inch’ and press them. Sew along these edges.

  3. Similar to the last step, we need to sew the curved edges. Place the 2 “right” sides of the Face pieces together and sew along the curved edge with a ¼-inch’ seam allowance. Repeat with the mouth pieces.

  4. Next, pin and sew the pieces together. Lay the cheek pieces on both sides of the curved side of the “mouth” piece wrong side up, overlapping each cheek piece over the mouth by about 1 inch. 

    Pin and the pieces with the right sides together, matching the seams with each other. Finally, sew all the way around the mask with a ¼-inch’ seam allowance. Trim any extra fabric at the corners to within 1/8’’ of the stitching, if desired.

  5. For the final step, we need to add the elastics next. Place your elastic over one edge and fold the cloth over by about ½-inch and sew the edge down.


Can I add a valve to my mask?

Yes, you can, however, we strongly recommend that you don’t, as this has been proven to render masks ineffective in filtering droplets and aerosols. Since this may do more harm than good, we won’t be adding this instruction in this DIY.


The Pink Power Electric Scissors



We used the Pink Power HG2034 electric scissors for this project. Powerful and compact, the scissors make cutting the fabric and pattern for the mask easier and quicker, especially with the curved edges without the wrist strain. Get a special deal when you purchase the scissor bundle and save up to 25% off when you shop now!