DIY Cloth Surgical Face Masks

We are all currently going through this Corona Virus pandemic together. My hope is everyone is healthy and safe during this time. As you may know hospitals and medical clinics all around the world are running low on supplies. Some reaching out to the public for help in sewing cloth masks to donate. So I put together this CDC-Compliant Face Mask Tutorial for you to use to help create them for your community. Please understand these do not prevent against Covid-19. These are standard surgical masks that medical staff wear to protect themselves from respiratory/blood droplets from coughing/sneezing patients. "This does follow CDC protocols that you can find on their website that if all other supplies are not available, that handmade masks that meet certain criteria are acceptable," Deaconess spokeswoman Becca Scott said. We also are aware that elastic for these masks is in low supply (1/8" - 1/4" elastic) so at the bottom find the tutorial for using jersey (t-shirt) string as an alternative. Get the details below...


cotton fabric: 2 by 6" x 9"
2 x 7" strips of 1/4" elastic

Pin the elastic to the corners and baste stitch into place just to secure from moving. I also sew the elastic on a diagonal. 

Place liner over exterior so right sides are together and pin into place being mindful of the elastic straps. 

When you sew, leave a 2" gap at the center bottom so you can flip right sides out. Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance. Make sure the elastic is through the seam allowance (we don't want these to snap on someone). You can even back stitch at the corners a couple times to ensure they're secure.


Clip just a little bit of the corners being sure to NOT going into the stitches or elastic. 

Flip right sides out through the opening and press. 

Topstitch just along the top edges making sure to secure the opening. 

Fold over little pleats about 1/4" each starting 1/2" down and pin. You need 3 for each side so make sure they're even. 

Topstitch folds down using 1/4" seam allowance. 

For the alternative jersey string mask:

Cut strips of "t-shirt string" as an alternative for the elastic straps.

I used a basic jersey cotton t-shirt I had on hand. I measured off 1" strips and cut. If the knit you are using is thin you may want to go a bit wider (1 1/4" to 1 1/2" strips). If it's a thick knit go for maybe 3/4". Basically when you pull these strips they shrink and become stretchy string. You want them to be no smaller than 1/4" in width once pulled. So you may have to do some testing. 

Cut 7" strips and repeat the sewing process above. Another alternative to guarantee the fit is cut 4 x 20" strips and sew them in the corners so they can tie/knot them around the back of the head.

Repeat the above steps...Make sure the elastic sits over the edge of the fabric 1/4" so it doesn't snap went pulled. 

My husband tried on both versions (elastic/t-shirt string) and did not notice the difference.  I like the idea of adding the tie version so they can customize it if necessary. Either way I hope this helps as an alternative for the low supplies we are currently dealing with. 

Make as many as you can in this time of need. Contact local hospitals and clinics that are in need in your community. 


  1. Brilliant, this will certainly help in this pandemic situation, i hope everything will be fine soon, but nicely designed and great to see such an education given which definitely is commendable.

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