Make your own fabric mask at home with this sewing pattern from a designer


President Trump announced on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that Americans wear face coverings in public to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The additional public health measure does not replace social distancing but is primarily aimed at preventing those who have the virus – and might not know it – from passing it on to others.

The Washington Post spoke to Grace Jun, assistant professor of fashion at the Parsons School of Design and CEO of Open Style Lab, who wrote this model after consulting with the New York Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and the NYU Langone Medical Center. “Accessible design,” Jun said, “is better design. “

This pattern is designed to be machine sewn, but it can also be sewn by hand.

Download the sewing pattern to print at home here.


  • Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
  • Ruler or ruler tape
  • Pins or clips
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread (polyester works well for added strength)
  • Iron or heavy books
  • Optional: safety pin


  • Two pieces of 100% cotton fabric 12 inches long and 7.25 inches wide (tightly woven cotton or quilted cotton). If possible, use two different colors to indicate the inside and outside of the mask.
  • A 12 inch long, 7.25 inch wide piece of stabilizer or lightweight, breathable and stiff fabric.
  • Fourteen inches of 1/8 inch flat elastic, stretch yarn, or extra fabric for ties.


Cut your pieces and mark the lines of dots

Cut three rectangles of fabric 12 inches long and 7.5 inches wide:

  • Two pieces of cotton fabric
  • One interface piece

Stack the fabric: top layer should be thicker cotton / quilting (red in pictures above), middle layer should be the interface piece, and last layer below should be softer cotton (white on images above).

Draw all the lines of the pattern on the top layer of the fabric. Cut along the continuous line through all three layers so that you have three pieces of equal size.

Cut two pieces of elastic, each at least seven inches or longer to allow for an adjustable fit.


Sew the darts

Fold your fabric stack in half with the top layer on the inside (red in the pictures) so that your triangular darts are sewn onto the white / inside layer. Clip or pin together.

Sew a 1/2 inch dart onto what will become the top of your mask – for your nose. Sew another 3/4 inch dart on the other side for the chin. Note that these can be adjusted to be smaller or larger to fit the wearer.

You can open the darts or flatten them.


Sew the curved zigzag lines

Sew along the curved dotted stitch lines with a zigzag stitch.


Sew the top and bottom outer edges of the mask

Fold the top and bottom edges (long sides) of the mask inward along the marked seam allowance and press and pin or clip. Sew over the top of the fold to close. (This will leave a raw edge. You can finish your edges before sewing to finish if you wish.)


Sew the horizontal zigzag lines

Sew along the horizontal dotted stitch lines with a zigzag stitch.


Attach the elastic straps to the mask

Fold the edges of your fabric tabs 1/2 inch or longer and sew 1/4 inch from the edge to create a tunnel for the elastic. Thread the elastic through the tunnel (a safety pin attached to one end will make it easier to put on). Try on the size and adjust the length as needed. Sew or tie the ends of the elastic together.

To create this pattern, Jun used a tightly woven quilted cotton fabric or a cotton fabric with a high thread count. A 2013 study published in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness found that well-fitting, homemade cotton T-shirt masks offer some protection against droplet transmission, the method by which the coronavirus is spread.

Jun also designed a vinyl companion mask, which would make it easy to wipe down and disinfect. Clear vinyl would also leave the mouth visible when communicating with a hearing impaired person.

– Phoebe Connelly, Joanne Lee and Suzette Moyer

Grace Jun explains how she created her mask model

In New York City a few weeks ago, at the epicenter of that country’s coronavirus crisis, Grace Jun received an urgent phone call from a friend who needed a face mask. The conversation wasn’t just about one friend letting off steam on another. Jun specializes in adaptive design, that is, creating products that can be used by people with various disabilities. And his girlfriend, Christina Mallon-Michalove, suffers from motor neuron disease that not only compromises her breathing, but has also crippled her arms and shoulders.

After sending her one of the last disposable masks she had, Jun got to work on something reusable.

She designed a face cover – a face cover that can be sewn at home, a face cover that aims to provide a better fit for a wider range of faces than the standard pleated variety. Jun’s mask is not medical grade, and it does not replace the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing rules. But now that the White House has issued guidelines urging people to wear face coverings in public, Jun is offering what she hopes is a more inclusive, do-it-yourself option – one that she says could be. sewn from washable fabric, or even a transparent shower curtain, which would make it easy to wipe down and sanitize. Clear vinyl would also leave the mouth visible when communicating with a hearing impaired person.

The Jun pattern, wider than the standard, is distinguished by its simple, vertical folds. They run along the bridge of the nose and chin and are intended to make it easier to customize the fit. There are also distinctive curved seams at the top and bottom which Jun says would allow the mask to follow the jaw line without compromising breathability. The mask can be attached to the head using fabric ties or elastic hair bands.

“Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, I think anyone can get away with it,” Jun says. “If you can’t sew, you can use staples or safety pins. “

There are countless iterations of face coverings available online: plain cotton, floral prints, even sequins – which can be a bigger dose of fashion than you really want from something that, hopefully. , is very, very temporary. There are a myriad of YouTube tutorials on how to create them.

Jun’s reflection on how a mask interferes with lip reading is a natural extension of his daily job. As an assistant professor at the Parsons School of Design, she teaches a course in clothing construction that asks students to incorporate the needs of consumers who use wheelchairs, some of whom have limited use of their arms, or who do not. don’t have a lot of manual dexterity. Jun is also the Managing Director of Open Style Lab, an incubator of accessible and fashionable clothing designs, wearable technology, and other universally usable products. Mallon-Michalove is a member of the board of directors of the non-profit association, which was established in 2014.

What is the future of adaptive design? This is the question posed by Open Style Lab. “There really isn’t a tangible example unless you realize it,” Jun says. This health crisis has amplified a host of financial, racial and social disparities. Jun did not want the needs of people with disabilities to be totally ignored.

“If you look at that stuff, the disabled community is the most ignored. And that includes aging, ”says Jun. “We will all face the handicap of aging. “

A mask shouldn’t be another obstacle.

– Robin Givhan


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