Woven Words

A blog by Regal Fabrics

Homemade Fabric Masks

April 9, 2020

In the midst of this global crisis, we’re thankful to all the helpers on front lines everywhere, as well as all individuals finding ways to do their part while we curb the spread and stay home. 

Our sample department donated some time working from home to sew 100 masks, which have been donated to a local hospital.

As hospitals need to use 100% cotton masks to augment their medical-grade mask use, Regal Fabrics couldn’t contribute any current product to this project, but we’re proud of the work our sample department committed to help local nurses and doctors. 

Below find step-by-step instructions to create your own homemade face mask suitable for your next essential trip to the store and some quick FAQs answered by the seamstress! 

**While these masks may help prevent spread of germs in public for personal use, they are NOT medical grade.**


Materials used:

100% (pre-washed) Cotton Fabric

Light-weight Fusible Interfacing

1/4″ Elastic

Pattern from JOANN Fabrics

          – Link to printable pattern PDF here


Supplies required:

Piece of Paper (to draw or print PDF pattern)

Standard Ruler


Scissors or Rotary Cutter


Standard Sewing Machine

Coordinating Thread


Step 1:

Create Pattern or use the Printable PDF from JOANN Fabrics here

Link to instruction video here


Step 2:

(Fabric should be wrinkle free, press with iron if needed before next step)

Using Pattern:

Cut (1) on fold of fabric

Cut (1) on fold of interfacing

Cut (2) 7″ strips of 1/4″ Elastic


Step 3:

Fuse interfacing to wrong side of cotton fabric according to specific interfacing instructions.


Step 4:

Pin elastic in place on either side of mask and pin around mask while leaving a 2″ opening in the center of the top of mask. Stitch either side of mask using a 1/4″ seam allowance and be sure to back stitch at the elastic and back stitch before the 2″ opening.

Step 5:

Once stitched, turn mask right side out through the 2″ opening at top.


Step 6:

-Pin 2″ opening closed

-Line up 1/4″ seam allowance line at top of pattern and pin the top and center of pleats in correct place according to pattern on the right and left side of mask.


Step 7:

-Once pleats are pinned in place, press with iron

-Stitch along the 3 sides, stitching pleats in place and stitching 2″ opening closed.


Mask is now complete!

What can these types of masks be used for?

Great question and something worth noting if donating fabric masks to medical personnel: these do not replace the medical mask! They will wear the fabric masks over the N95 masks to prolong the life of their medical mask. Fabric masks are not a substitute for medical masks because they cannot filter out enough of the smallest particles. They are great for following guidelines to wear face coverings while going to the store or running errands offering some protection while still keeping 6 ft apart and practicing social distancing. 


How long does it take to make 1 mask?

Depending on process and skill level, 1 mask could take around 15-20 minutes from start to finish.


What do you recommend for supplies if I cannot visit a craft store?

-If you have 100% cotton quilting fabric left over from a project or new handkerchiefs, these work well to create a mask.

-I have also heard of some sewers using hair ties as elastic ear loops opposed to 1/4″ construction elastic. I have not tried this method but I believe this could work with some adjustments to the pattern provided.

-You can also create a folded bias tape to make your own ties in place of elastic. You can do this using strips of coordinating fabrics and either stitching them the same way you would stitch the elastic in but keeping them long ties (approx 10″/tie, you would need 4), or  stitching 1/26″  folded bias tie on either side of completed mask (right side out).

-If you are unable to get your hands on fusible interfacing, I would recommend cutting 2 on the fold of your cotton fabric and essentially “doubling up” on the material as added protection. I have heard the recommendation of using at least 3 layers of cotton as a mask to aid in your chances to keep from breathing the virus in… just remember that the interfacing works as a filter to protect from particles and droplets in the air and interfacing would be the best solution if you can get a hold of it.


Can I sew these by hand if I do not have a sewing machine?

It is possible. I would not recommend this method as the masks will need to be able to withstand washing regularly but if you are confident in your hand sewing skills and don’t mind the amount of time this will take you…then go for it!


What is your favorite funny movie… one that leaves you “in stitches“?

The Princess Bride, of course!


Please stay safe out there, and stay tuned for more new content on the Regal blog, Instagram page, and our customer newsletter. 

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