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How to sew a fabric face mask

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Let’s start by saying we are in unprecedented times. Who could ever have believed that the situation developing around the world could ever come to be in real life, and outside of scary movies? It’s a bewildering and scary situation for many, and now we need to pull together, everyone do their part to support our caregivers, emergency workers and the sick.

More governments and local health authorities around the world are now either suggesting, recommending or even in some cases mandating, the wearing of fabric face masks when leaving the home for essential travel for food or medical supplies.

Of course, these homemade face masks are NOT CDC compliant, not medical-grade, and do not provide full protection against viruses and other germs. However, with medical-grade equipment being in short supply, we are all advised to leave the medical-grade equipment for the professionals who need them. The fabric masks can be disposed of after use or washed and reused.

Who may be able to make use of fabric face masks:

  • Hospitals of course
  • Care homes for the elderly and disabled
  • Cancer care centres
  • Community nurses
  • Emergency services such as ambulance crews and police officers
  • Those recommended or mandated to wear them by their local authorities when leaving the home for essential travel and services

If you are considering sewing a face mask for a healthcare worker or hospital, please do make sure the design and materials used are approved by them or their organisation before starting work. Many are not taking any home-sewn fabric masks as they are non-compliant with medical needs.

If you DO wish to sew them for your own personal use and that of your family or friends, here is a roundup of some of the patterns that we consider look the best. Stay safe, stay well, stay indoors. Wash your hands often.

Where to get mask sewing supplies

Several of the large online fabric stores are not accepting orders or have a huge backlog. We’ve tracked down one specialist store we like for mask supplies (including filters) and lots of small independent sellers on Etsy who are ready to ship to you right away. Check out these:

Face mask sewing patterns

All of these are video tutorials to help get you started as sewing a face mask will be new to most of us. Check in the video description for a link to download any printable pattern if there is one.

Stay safe and well everyone and please follow your local medical advice.

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