FREE Face Mask Sewing Tutorial with Hair Ties & Size Options - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

FREE Face Mask Sewing Tutorial with Hair Ties & Size Options

It’s time to come together and use our gift of sewing to pay it forward during these difficult times. We have come up with a FREE tutorial for you to make a face mask out of our favorite precut, Jolly Bars! However, this project can be made using any of your scraps in hopes that you can use it or donate to those in need. Since elastic has been in short supply, this one uses hair ties, which you might have at home. The double layer of fabric creates an opening for inserting a filter for added protection. Be sure to follow these steps when wearing and handling masks to avoid spreading germs.

This mask is NOT medical grade, but with a shortage of supplies, many hospitals and clinics are asking for basic masks like these. You can read more on the CDC’s recommendations for face masks on their website. If you would like to donate masks to medical centers locally, we recommend that you contact them beforehand and ask what requirements need to be met. Some need masks to be made from special materials or with a filter pocket, or with fabric ties instead of elastic loops.  Some need masks to be made from special materials. Not sure which material provides the most protection? Check out this article. We also have a free tutorial for a face mask with fabric ties.



Let’s take our quilting community to the next level and sew to make a difference that counts! We hope you enjoyed this basic tutorial and we can’t wait to hear about the impact it has for you.

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  1. do people realise that nothing from the store comes clean and ,say, fabric with chemicals (sizing) on it ,as well as fingerprints, is not …well, health friendly…

    1. Molly – Just wash your fabric first. Something is better than nothing. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. These are great for immuno-comprised individuals and those in nursing homes etc. Surgeons can have the medical grade ones. Thank you for sharing the pattern, FQS!

        1. We make quilts and clothes for infants by washing and drying fabrics…do the same so that the fabric is soft and easy to have on your face.

        1. Need some help please. What size hair ties are you using? Most are to small. He ones for a head band are to big. I’m disappointed and cat make any of them work. HELP please. Dianne

          1. Many people are saying they prefer ties for better fit and comfort. The bands annoy their ears. Bias tape works well for this!

          2. I agree hair ties too small I was actually using two hair ties per side for ear loops . I cut metal part off both and tied them together to make a bigger ear loop. Works perfect !

          3. Rope elastic may be better to use, You can cut it to size. Just play around with it. If it is too tight, it will cut into the skin behind the ear. If too loose it may not conform to face as you would want it to. Or, tie two hair elastic pieces together. I am a nurse, and I am making these for my grandchildren for an Easter bunny gif. As an added feature, I would fix the back section where it is two overlaying pieces that can be pulled a apart. Take some hepa filter fabric or hepa filter vaccuum bags, cut to size, & add in between your cloth layers. You can remove the filter & air dry between use. You will have made an excellent safety mask.

          4. Take a T-shirt and cut a 1 inch strip straight across the bottom – cut many as a matter of fact! Trim sides especially if there is a seam. Now take ends of strip and stretch it out. Don’t worry, you can’t stretch it too far. Relax the strip and it is now resembling a stretchy cord. Measure & cut to fit. Tie cord together. Place “cords” with tie portion in the middle of side fabric. Fold fabric edge over to cover cord & stitch down. Viola!

          5. I’ve used elastic headbands that are flat and about same size as 1/4” cut then measure 10”.You need two for each mask. Been successful. Got them at the dollar store.

          6. I am going to use a bungee cord. You slit it open and there are lots of elastic cords inside. Open it on one end and cut at the other end. The elastic should pull through, but if it does not slit the whole bungee cord from one end to the other. Cut the elastic to a size that will fit. Try ahead of time for the exact measurement. Good luck and thanks to all who are making these for others and hospital,, EMTs, firemen, Walmart workers (Walmart has not supplied their workers with masks or hand sanitizer yet, supposedly the truck is coming, but at what cost for this delay!!)
            Judy Brown

          7. I used an old t-shirt and made small circles instead of the hair ties. They are very soft and work perfectly. I could make them the way each family member needed them.

          8. The Dollar General has hair ties made for “thick” hair. They are a bit bigger than the regular hair ties. I am going to try them out myself. I think they will work great.

          9. I use the light/medium hold pony tail holders. They’re pretty comfortable and has worked extremely well. I tried the strong hold and they hurt.

          10. just make your mask longer and it should work. The masks don’t have to be tight, I’ve run out of elastic and started using the hair ties……PS……I recommend all clients wash my masks in hot soapy water (by hand is ok) and dry in the hot dryer when they get home and also do this after each use..

          11. I ordered the 2mm thick hair ties from Amazon, they are thin and stretchy and I have found them to work the best. They can be a little hard to find, but well worth it.

      1. I want to use head bands to put buttons on the side, I don’t know how far apart the bottoms have to be any heads up would be great. Stay Safe, Stay Strong.

        1. I bought two different sized hair ties and they were way to tight, so I used nylon string thatI had when I made my roman shade curtains. I had to tie several knots before I got them just the right size for my ears and face. I cut a piece of paper towel or cut a coffee filter to put inside the folds. Of course the material needs washed and dried first to preshrink, then after every use. I make a small pan of soapy color bleach, then iron the fabric. The heat from the steam iron should kill any lurking bugs. It’s better than nothing.

          1. I lengthened the width of the largest pattern to 13” and use Jaír ties I find at dollar tree. It works perfect for my face and my husband’s.

        2. Made mine 5 inches from seam on headband and 1 1/2 inches from top or bottom. Used 4 hole buttons and stitched at least 5 times so when they wash buttons will not loosen. Hope that helps. Margaret

        3. Beverly, How long did you make the t-shirt pieces? Did you uses them as ties in the back? One in each end of the mask or two?

      2. Agreed. Hospitals are asking for these; I’m preeeeeety sure they know fabric comes from stores and gets touched by people.

      3. I also found the ponytail band to be too small. I fixed that problem by cutting the band in half and sewing each end into the corners. Also, you don’t need only elastic.
        You can use shoe strings, or any cord as long as it has adequate fit to go around the ears.

    2. The hospitals are sending thru sanitizers some hospitals have stated on utube videos

      1. Michael’s are open in central Florida. They are considered essential since they are ups drop point

      2. Order everything online. I am sure any fabric store has all the product you need and then some.

      3. Make T-shirt cords……read above. Cheap, easy, replaceable when needed. See my reply above to that question.

        1. Beverly, You are the bomb!! Your idea using T-shirts replacing elastic has kept mask making alive here in Annapolis! In addition to it beun* a Great idea it’s also much more comfortable then elastic! Quick question… do you have any experience how it holds up being washed? Fingers crossed… just cut up enough T-shits to make over 200 masks!!
          Thanks so much!! Donna

          1. Are you using the T-shirt cording as a tie around the back of head or as a loop around the ear?

      4. Joann’s and Michael’s are open where I live on the Treasure Coast. They do online order and drive up pick up too.

    3. I want to use head bands to put buttons on the side, I don’t know how far apart the bottoms have to be any heads up would be great. Stay Safe, Stay Strong.

    4. I ordered 50 yds of elastic from Mandala’s Crafts in Cedar Park, Texas. Hope to make many more masks.

    5. Wash the fabric first ubsing hot water and distilled vinegar. It will get sanitized this way. When I made a blanket for the koals in the fire in australia they told us to do this.

    6. You need to pre-wash it anyway which helps with shrinkage, and removes chemicals. I think many of us are using fabric we already have, and I will wash again when done, and then receivers will wash too.

    7. No need for you to wear one then, just stay home and safe then you don’t have to worry about the non health friendly just please wash your hands and have Kleenex to sneeze in or wipe your face after then wash or sanitize your hands to help others that’s what it is all about when you are in a public place. Remember you wear clothes that you wash and that is all you would have to do with your mask, Stay well and help keep others well as well as health care workers such as us Registered Nurses that take care of the sick. We care about you.

      1. I need to go to the grocery store, and need to wear a mask. Homemade is fine.

  2. I would think it would pull hard on their ear all day..
    You can buy stretched braid on a roll in the jewelry making section and make them longer 7 inch and sew them in or knot them. I made mine 7×9 ,three pleats 3\8 inch seams. Perfect for a woman.

      1. I used these exact ties for mine because in my area there is absolutely no elastic. I made both a mask with these hair ties and then fabric ties. I liked these better. For frequent washing, the fabric ties will hold up longer. For a longer duration of wearing, the fabric tie will be more comfortable. I think this pattern was created with the intention of using what people already had in hand. Many states are in lockdown and many people are without jobs and can it afford to buy additional materials. Thank you FQS for an awesome free pattern. It is pretty similar to the one by the CDC.

      2. What is stretched braid, would you mind sending an image.. we are out of elastic here and that sounds like it might be a good sub .. thank you

        1. They are using elastic hair ties. Like what you use to put your hair in a pony tail. I have Goody brand.

          1. See my earlier response re T-shirt cords. Cheap, easy, and replaceable when needed. Game on!

      3. I am using your pattern, love it.I stitch a pipe cleaner under the fold of the front fabric. I am using t-shirt knit for ties, cutting them 44″ long to make a long adjustable strap. The loop goes around the back of the neck and ties behind the head. Easier to take off and comfortable .

    1. I was thinking about hair ties being too small. I was told about headbands similar to hair ties. I have not been out to look for hair ties nor headbands. I have never had either one so I can not say anything else. I wish just once I could read through a post without someone saying no to these. There are many situations where these would come in handy. One of my local hospitals have greeters at the main entrance. They would be happy to get these. At Cleveland Clinic, they worked with someone and she designed a specific mask for them. I am sure not for the ICU but they are taking them. Happy Sewing.

    2. Thank you for this pattern. I just ran out of elastic but I have hair ties!
      If you make the face fabric just a little bigger at the top, you can fold it over again and insert a piece of wire or even a bread twist tie before stitching it closed. The wire helps the mask fit closely around the nose.
      With the pocket left open, a dry baby wipe or other non-woven material can be inserted in the pocket to add additional protection.
      I hope these ideas help someone. Stay home and stay safe!

      1. The head wraps at Dollar Tree work great! 6 in a pack for$1. One head wrap makes 2 loops.

        1. I saw in china they were making masks from paper towels stapling ties and then just throwing them away as done with them. Since with a pocket you can throw out what your using as a filter, before washing, a paper towel or coffee filter would work as well.

          1. Peeps! Don’t you realize how porous coffee filters and paper towels are? Better to use a non woven interfacing like Pellon. And don’t get me started on the HEPA products! They most likely have fiberglass in them ! Not good to inhale! I’m talking vacuum cleaner bags and furnace filters. 3M came out and warned us to NOT use their products for personal protection masks.

    3. I made my masks 9 X 6 and used 7 inches of elastic on each side. The people at the nursing home were delighted to have them. I delivered 50 last week. Now I’m back on duty because m family in Az wants some. Making the same size mask and using hair ties like these. I cut them to open up and use them the same as the elastic I used previously. They fit just right. No elastic to be found here or even on Amazon.

  3. Thank you for your tutorials. You are great at making the process clear and concise.

    1. Thank you FQS for being a leader in the community and helping us support the medical community during this crisis. Y’all are the best! ❤️

  4. DO NOT USE HAIR TIES, They hurt the eyes and the hospitals won’t use them. Your wasting your time if you use hair ties!!!

  5. Thank you! I’ve been making this exact pattern for the last couple of days. The EMTs were thrilled to have them. One even cried.

    1. Darlene – Actually our local hospital wants them w/ Hair ties. Hairties are holding up to the sanitize washings – where as elastic – is failing.
      The one thing i ran into Is you need to label what your sewing with– If adding a nose pc What are you using because metal has conductive properties ( I think i am saying this correctly ) and also was mention – not holding up to the sanitizing process I am full aware , all of this could change tomorrow ( shoot, it could change as i am sitting here typing ) Be a Tree, go with the wind 🙂 Make sure to label and store in plastic bags. Anything, is better then nothing at all

  6. Anybody thought of using thin elastic hair bands, the ones that go all the way around the head, instead of elastic? They come in cool colors, too.

      1. Amber – I wrapped a large headband and made it so it went around the back on top and bottom parts of my head, but exactly like this tutorial, which is what I love about the tutorial – it can be changed to fit all kinds of “securing devices”.

    1. I have used hair bands cut into 7” length and am making some child size today with the hair ties for our Victim Assistance Center. For hospitals call and s if they want them and details. This style I have given to local family practice group, nurses and someone delivering medications for my local pharmacy. Some hospitals want specialized ones with pocket for filter and ties to make close fitting easier.

    2. a nurse friend takes a jumbo paperclip and runs it thru the two pony holders and connects in the back of her head

  7. Thank you, FQS, for a timely and thoughtful tutorial. We are all in this together, so let’s keep pulling together!

  8. On the European sites the ladies are cutting up pantyhose to use instead of elastic , and they find them much more comfortable and softer than hair elastic.

  9. So, can someone confirm what the final dimensions are with the pleats?

    I’m also going to add a place to add a filter pocket – my daughter is a RN and she stated that would be very helpful. She also prefers the binding ties, instead of the elastic.

    Thanks in advance…

    1. How large should the filter pocket be? And is it placed in the very center of the mask?

      (PS My email address might sound like the name of a business, but I don’t have any business of any sort. It is my husband’s studio, because he is an artist. So I am want to make masks just as an individual sewist.)

  10. Is there an downloadable PDF for this? I have friends at work (I work in a nursing home, so we are still working!) who want to make masks for themselves and others. Thanks in advance.

  11. I am making fabric strip ties (like korean war masks lol) by cutting material. Trying to use what I have. Definately colorful using quilting cotton.

  12. My nurse friend that works in doctor office said they need FOUR layers of fabric. Batiks work best because of denser (higher) thread count.

    1. How about inserting furnace filters that remove pollen, bacteria and viruses? One large filter cuts into about 24 pieces. Just label the pieces “Face” in the same direction of the arrow on the box. Remove the filter, hand wash it, wash the cotton & sanitize it. Replace the washed & dried filter.. Viola! Super clean filtered masks

  13. Any chance you would have a tutorial on scrub caps. My daughter works in ICU and said they need them asp.

    1. Look on Pinterest. I found several free scrub cap patterns there. Some had a place to tuck longer hair too.

      1. If you make a pattern, do it on freezer paper. Once you cut out the pattern, you can iron it onto the fabric. (No pins needed) The pattern can be reused several times.

    2. Please please do notuse furnace filters or vacuum cleaner bags! They contain FIBERGLASS! Causes permanent damage to the lungs when inhaled!!! 3 M even came out with a warning to not use their products for personal protection masks!!

  14. Is there an easier way to make fabric ties. I made 4 of them for 2 masks and its so time consuming. I used 1″, folded both sides to the center and then folded over to make it 1/4″ then sewed all the way down the piece.

    1. I cannot find the video – but I saw someone fold the fabric for a double fold bias tape and thread it through the small hole of a cell phone cover (back of the cover to the front). As she pulled the cover down the length of the strip of fabric (gently hold on the end) it folded and she ironed as she went!! It looked like she started with about a 1″ wide strip of fabric.

    2. I saw a post where they used t-shirts cut into 1 inch strips ( cut horizontally at hem of t-shirt). After you make the cuts and have a 1 inch strip, pull the strip tight and it is a soft and I think perfect to cut your strip lengths.

    3. Clean out closets, check for like new tightly woven appropriate fabrics that can be upcycled. May even be able to upcycle elastic. Just a thought.

  15. According to the CDC and WHO, these offer zero (0) protection against Covid-19 and very little against any other virus since viruses are small enough to pass through cloth. They will help bacteria because bacteria is a microscopic elephant.

    1. The tutorial plainly states these masks are not medical grade. My brother in law is using home made ones over his N95 because he has to sanitize it and re-use it several times, and he can use them with non-COVID patients.

      He is also giving home made masks out to some of his patients who are coughing to help them from spreading germs. He said these patients are scared and really seem to be touched when he gives them a mask.

      It’s a good idea to check ahead with the hospital or medical professional you are making them for to make sure they can accept the masks and will use them.

      Before making them wash the fabric and dry it to help it shrink as much as possible and use a tightly woven fabric.

      1. Thank you, Margie. Those are excellent tips! It’s true, all kinds of people can benefit from a mask, and it’s a good reminder to not touch your face. Each medical facility has different mask requirements and can tell donors exactly what materials and features they need.

    2. The CDC is recommending the public wear these not to protect oneself from contracting Covid19, but to help prevent aerosolizing droplets from the simple act of talking. These are better than nothing and whatever we can do to help contain the spread in our communities seems like a good idea to me.

  16. I really want to print this but I cannot. Am I missing the “print” button??

    1. right click with your mouse and it will print (it was 11 pages for me) It’s not a PDF but it works!

    2. I haven’t found a PDF, but I printed pages 2,3, & 4. CTRL P and custom select the pages.
      Still staying safe at home…

  17. I am happily teaching my Kentucky Daughter and Granddaughter to make masks. Using prewashed materials of White Flannel facial side lined with Pellon 101 non-woven interfacing followed by an outside top layer of 100% cotton in cheerful patterns that is also lined with the 101 then using quarter inch round elastic for the ear braces. As an added safety measure e also steam set the pleats and seal each in a small zip-lock bag marked with the size. Our first shipment will be heading to a nursing home in North Carolina where my son and Daughter-in-law work. We found several other places locally that are sadly also in need.

    1. Janet- This is exactly what I was thinking.. the interfacing would be more filter-like than just woven fabric. Great work!!

  18. As a health care worker I hope that we will not reach this point, however I’m thankful that this tutorial has been made available just in case. In terms of laundering, the virus is fragile and will die in regular laundering. Sanitize cycle with some bleach should ensure they’re clean. If you are a layperson considering wearing these outside your home to protect yourself, please consider this. If you have contact with the virus it will stay on the outside of your mask. Take special care when taking off the mask to not touch the font. Place it directly in the washer when you take it off. DO NOT touch the mask while you are wearing it. You are most likely to contaminate yourself when handling soiled protective equipment. Thanks again. Stay healthy everyone.

  19. I have made several doz face masks using some bright Hawaiian material I have and the staff loves them. I cut a piece of material about 7″ x 8″ fold it in half so pattern area is inside. You have about 3 1/2 x 8. Insert a piece of elastic about 6″long (folded in half). Now its laying on the pretty side pin or clip in place, inside the folded part. Sew a seam down the short side going over the elastic several times to make it stronger. Do the same with other side. Turn inside out now you have the pretty side facing you, with the elastic loops on each side. Sew down the unfinished side long side but turn under the seam so you have no raw edges. Its all done, I stopped putting pleats in it, they really don’t have to have them. They make up fast like on assembly line. I live in a Retirement Center and the director even sent off to CA to get me 3 more yds of elastic. I am 83 and sewed most of my life. If you run out of elastic I have used ties of bias tape I had or you can fold over strips and make your own. They can’t get enough of them Adjustments can be made in the width and length if need be. Hope this helps at least one person thru this stressful time.

  20. Nurses ears are sore from constantly wearing face masks. Headbands with buttons to fasten the mask to help with the problem. Can you provide directions for sewing them?

  21. Thank you Jolly Jabber for this! I started a sewing group in NJ making masks for healthcare workers. We have been making masks with elastic. Now we’re being told the wearers’ ears are getting sore. Can you provide a pattern to make headbands out of fabric with buttons on the side for the elastic? I would be grateful for this. Thank you in advance!

  22. I would think grosgrain ribbon would make great ties.. quick and easy to work with.

  23. Can someone please clarify the pleats? Should I pleat the fabric every 3/4” from top to bottom or is it fewer? Looking at the photos, it looks like there may only be 2 pleats total, but I’m not sure where to place them. Thank you so much!

  24. Can someone please clarify the pleats? Should I pleat the fabric every 3/4” from top to bottom or is it fewer? Looking at the photos, it looks like there may only be 2 pleats total, but I’m not sure where to place them. Thank you so much!

  25. Thank you for this tutorial. I’ve been using it and making one side out of polypropylene fabric found in reusable shopping bags. It serves as a decent filter. Also, once I flip the fabric right side, I’m putting in a pipe cleaner into the top and sewing it in. It makes the mask shape to your nose.

  26. I peeled back the layers on an old N95 mask that I had used when sewing certain messy materials. Inside I found a material that was the same as what was in my Hepa vacuum bags. I’ve made over 200 masks for healthcare workers and they like the filter. One bag yields seventeen 4.5×4.5 filters. I stitch around them on each side to hold the 4 layers together. Kenmore Q/C canister bags. 6 count. #53292

    1. There is a pattern, by a dr’s wife, who makes masks from the Hepa Y bags. You can get 4 from a bag. She also puts a metal wire at the top so you can conform it to the nose. (left this in the wrong spot the 1st time)

  27. Has anyone made masks for toddlers? I need to make one for a three year old and a six year old. I’m afraid this child size will be too big…but not sure.

    1. There is a pattern, by a dr’s wife, who makes masks from the Hepa Y bags. You can get 4 from a bag. She also puts a metal wire at the top so you can conform it to the nose.

      1. I saw on a post that Hepa bags should not be used because it contains fiber glass.
        You can use a piece of flannel, coffee filter or baby wipe to insert inside mask. 🙂

    2. I made the child size and it was tiny. I thought it might fit a baby. So I made the small adult size for my ten year old boy but it shrunk a little in the wash so I’m going to give that one to my 4yr old grandson. I’m also making that size for my 7 yr old granddaughter. I’m going to try the adult medium for my 10 yr old. My brother and husband both have wide faces so I cut 8×13 inch pieces and that fits them.

    3. I just read someone state to use Hepa bags for filter, DO NOT USE read that it contains fiber glass and should NOT be used to be making masks.
      Just a precaution please read warnings before using 🙂

    4. The kids size of material squares to start is:
      7.5″ X 5″
      BTW: If you make a Lmens size, X-
      for Bearded or large head men)
      you will need a material squares of 10″ X 7.5″
      than half of that size
      is exact for “2” kids size. Makes less waste when laying
      out your materials…just remember two different prints
      front and back so users remember which side is used on face…

  28. You can also put a pipe cleaner in the top seam so you form it around your nose

  29. Hello, are we allowed to use this pattern and sell the masks? I love the pattern! Thanks for sharing it!

    1. This pattern is for personal use, and you can feel free to make and donate as many as you like. Not to use for selling.

  30. I am a sewing instructor and would suggest not using hair ties, but instead make a 42-48 inch tie. You can make your own starting with a 2 inch piece of fabric, press it in half, open it, press each side toward center, fold and stitch closed. Then, thread the tie through the sides of the mask, making a loop, and threading down the other side. You can also use bias tape, twill tape, seam binding, grosgrain ribbon, etc, in lieu of fabric ties. Try to keep the width no more than 1/2 inch for the user.

    1. I apologize…I new to this. I have an abundance of bias tape. I am confused about how to use it. Am I leaving it whole or cutting it in two pieces?

  31. What is the purpose of step 1? It seems like just an extra step/time that isn’t needed.

    1. Kim T
      I believe that is sewn that way so that you can insert a filter if you would like to after it is finished.

  32. Obviously most of us are sewers so lets take the concept and tweek it. Thank you for giving us the start. I work at a Rehab clinic and just wanted my staff safe, Idid some teeking and they work GREAT.

  33. if the ties are too short (and they ARE) I suggest (instead of cutting and going through a lot of trouble to connect them )simply loop them together you can add as many as you need t his way.

    1. I think you generally want it to be tall enough to cover the nose and chin, and wide enough to come within 1-1.5″ of the ears for good coverage.

  34. I’ve been making these. One tip, sew a triangle at bottom( fold mask in half and sew from fold down about 3/4 to 1 inch). Makes it fit better to chin.
    Thanks for sharing an easy tutorial.

  35. Thank you for the face mask sewing tutorial with the hair ties. So easily written even for a novice and all size ranges. This is a life saver as some of the patterns were so complicated, not free or needed elastic which is almost impossible to find. This is a good deed! Thank you, thank you……I am going to make as many as I can for myself, family and neighbors.

  36. Thank you for this pattern. I am an essential worker who is at double high risk. I can’t use the masks you see in the medical field due to a reaction to the chemicals/fabric type. The N94/95 smell so horrible that I get migraines. My managers and I have been trying to keep me from the public as much as possible. Ran across this pattern yesterday and am now making masks like crazy for myself and my coworkers (we don’t have masks).

    Took a bit for us to get the hair bands in at work but I got the Goody ouchless for fine hair. Bought them out as soon as they came in. Everyone in my home has tried the sample mask I made and said the straps are comfortable. We’ll see when I wear them.

    Thanks again for sharing this pattern. It’s a game changer for me.

  37. Wake Forest study for different fabric effectiveness for masks. Fabric makes a huge difference! Highlights:

    April 2, 2020 –
    ”team of doctors and scientists used rigorous testing, known as particulate filtration, to evaluate 13 different designs from approximately 400 masks made by community volunteers.”

    ”The goal was to find out which type of mask best removed particles 0.3 – 1.0 microns in diameter, the size of many viruses and bacteria, in comparison to standard surgical masks and N95 respirators.”

    Testing done by ”Manufacturing Development Center at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.”

    ”The best homemade masks achieved 79% filtration as compared to surgical masks (62% to 65%) and N95 masks (97%). But other homemade masks tested performed significantly worse, sometimes demonstrating as little as 1% filtration.”

    The best-performing design was constructed of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight “quilter’s cotton” with a thread count of 180 or more, and those with especially tight weave and thicker thread such as batiks. A double-layer mask with a simple cotton outer layer and an inner layer of flannel all performed well.”.

    ”The inferior performers consisted of single-layer masks or double-layer designs of lower quality, lightweight cotton.”

    Full article:

  38. Thank you for posting this – I have been making masks with elastic but I ran out. My husband’s aunt suggested I use hair ties but I wasn’t exactly sure of that process. This is so helpful!

    Also – for anyone worried about the material being dirty/chemicals/needs washed, you can put the masks in the dryer on super heat setting and it will help make them safer. Thanks again!

  39. I tried making the medium adult and it was definitely not adult size either in width or lengths. I was happy to find this patter because of using hair ties but it definitely is not working with the measurements given. Very disappointed and wasted a lot of fabric.

  40. The Dollar General has hair ties made for “thick” hair. They are a bit bigger than the regular hair ties. I am going to try them out myself. I think they will work great.

  41. I’ve come back to this pattern again and again and it’s a keeper (after 25+ masks for adults and kids, it seemed that would be enough – NOT!). The direction and photos are clear enough for even the novice seamstress, and the dimensions provided for little kids, youth, and two adult sizes make this perfection for everyone. Thank you a hundred times for posting. I finally printed out your directions so I don’t have to keep looking for you when I have to make the next batch. Be safe and healthy!

    1. Thank you, Nisi! I’m so glad the pattern has been useful for you and your family.

  42. This is a great, easy pattern! I had to use hair ties for my masks too. I found it easier to cut the hair tie in half. I then sewed it to the corners and even sewed into the rubber of the band. Thank you for all you do!

  43. This pattern has inspired me. I like the suggestion of cutting the hair tie at the joint. Also going to try make a long tube of fabric (say 10″ x 12″), sew edges together along the long edge, turn right side out. Thread two hair ties onto the tube. Fold under the edges on one short side. Tuck the raw edges of the opposite short edge into the folded side and stitch closed. You will end up with a mask with 4 layers of fabric instead of two. Slide the seam to one side so that it is not right over the mouth/nose. I’ve got this worked out in my mind. Now to do it! Perhaps it will inspire others.