DIY: WI Face Masks

The Government has now advised the wearing of face coverings to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in some circumstances. We have therefore created the below patterns for you to create your own face covering.

For advanced stitchers, we offer a pattern for a fitted mask and for those less adept at sewing, we provide instructions on how to make an easy sew, folded face covering. Additionally, you will find a pattern for a button band that will take the elastic pressure of your ears and make your face covering more comfortable to wear.

A selection of patterned face masks

Fitted Face Mask

PLEASE NOTE: These face coverings are recommended for PERSONAL use only and are not suitable for healthcare professionals, who need to wear certified PPE masks, which are in short supply. These masks are not suitable for donation to health or care services. Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions. Further details of the Government guidelines can be found here.

Before you begin

The Government has now advised the wearing of face coverings to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in some circumstances. “Face coverings are not intended to help the wearer but protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.”

What is the best fabric to use for your face coverings?

One of the biggest challenges is finding a suitable fabric to make your mask from. It needs to be one that is dense enough to catch viral particles, but still be breathable so that you can wear it!

The best fabric to make your face covering from is a tightly woven, 100% cotton fabric, such as craft cotton, used for by patchwork and quilting, bed sheets, curtains or even old shirts, as long as they are entirely made of cotton.

One of the best ways to check whether your fabric is dense enough for the job is to hold a piece of doubled-fabric up to a bright light and if you can easily see the fibres in the fabric, then it’s not suitable, if it’s a denser weave and the light doesn’t pass through it as much, then that’s a good one to use. For this reason, jersey fabrics, such as T-shirts are not the best, as they create holes between the threads when they stretch, which can allow the virus to pass through.

Always prewash your selected fabrics in a hot wash to pre-shrink the material to ensure that they do not change shape when they are made up and washed. However, if you only have cotton t-shirt fabric available, although not ideal, this would be better to use than nothing at all.


Another reason for using a good quality cotton fabric is that 100% cotton can be washed at a 60-degree wash, which is hot enough to kill bacteria. Hygiene is very important when using any face covering and the Government has stated that, “It is important to use face-coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.”

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