Cloth Face Mask Patterns, Fabrics and Filters from CDC and Crafters

Cloth Facemask

Are you looking for masks to buy or sew, using current scientific info and mask patterns for the most effective protection? Think folding a scarf or using a bandana or old t-shirt with hair bands are good enough? Not good enough.

Masks MUST fit well!

Masks are far more effective using several layers of various, yet specific fabrics and thread counts.

Hopefully, YOU will find this helpful and share this info! Widely and often. DO NOT ASSUME people know this! Few really do the research to protect themselves and others.


You might want eye protection. Are you a hair stylist or someone who needs hair cutting capes or similar? Info beneath mask info on very bottom of post.


I am merely sharing my fave patterns and info, with no affiliate links. Do your own reading because info changes. Never stop asking questions! Do not assume all masks or material work equally well. They do not!

I shared this with pals who are creating masks. One created merch with my punk photos. His mother is a seamstress and they are starting to make masks. Plus others wondering about which masks to buy or make.


I’ve been researching this info for months. I learned to sew when very young. I’ve been skeptical about many patterns and fabric info flooding youtube and blogs. My late mother was a registered nurse. I grew up on her books and spent decades talking to her about medicine.

My hunches were correct. Fit is really important! Tightly woven fabric plus fabric with electrostatic properties provide the best protection. Who knew?

I edited or included info I feel most helpful for those who prefer TL;DR or “too long; didn’t read. ” Still long cos if you don’t have time to read and pay attention, your life or that of your loved ones might be short.

What else are you doing with your life now? Am I brutal? Not as brutal as #Covid19 aka #Coronavirus. Devil’s in the details. But hey, feel free to skim or ignore me.

Masks can hurt ears. You can find ideas, but many of these cost, with affiliate links in linked articles. Easy Ways To Keep Your Face Mask From Hurting Your Ears and 10 Easy Ways To Relieve Ear Pain From Face Masks.

I prefer using a cord or shoelace hooked through ear loops or directly into side of masks. Use a sliding knot to adjust the fit. I have naturally curly hair. Many products in above linked articles possibly would tangle my hair.

Cloth Facemask

Face Mask Sewing Pattern by Craft Passion, EasyHerHimKidSew | Stitch

See how well fitting her mask is! “Since the outbreak of the recent pandemic virus, I have been perfecting and improvising this face mask pattern to include all the features that needed to fight against the spread of the disease. One of the features includes adding a slot or pocket for filter media to make the face mask more effective. Secondly, a nose clamp (aka nose wire) is added at the top edge of the face mask to provide a better seal at the nose bridge area. Thirdly, due to shortages of elastic band and also due to the comfort of the wearability, head tie made out of shoelace and t-shirt yarn are recommended to use here.”

Her Sewing Video is way cool, very detailed!

(TIP: If you have bias tape, you can use it to insert a pipe cleaner, florist’s wire or other wire, to easily remove when washing. If you only use it for the wire, 1/2 inch bias tape should be fine, cos you have to sew top and bottom. However, if using to tie the mask, people say you have to fold it in half and sew it, which requires a wider bias tape. I’d use 1/2 inch for a wire, slightly wider for pipe cleaner, and 1 inch or so for ties. I don’t see why you have to fold and sew the bias tape to use as ties. You decide.)


Craft Passion Face Mask Support Group You can post your face mask photos, ask questions about sewing or engage with other people’s posts. Not everyone can sew and have someone to sew for them. If you are sewing to donate, give-away or sew to sell, you may post your products and services in their Facebook group.


Sliding Knot is a GREAT way to easily adjust mask holder so it doesn’t hurt your ears by Ruth Van Sciver. See how to make a sliding knot for adjustable mask ear loops. #adjustablemask #adjustableearloops #adjustablemask #slidingknot #adjustableearloops. (I use sliding knots for corded necklaces.)

What material is best for homemade masks? (Medical News Today).

A team of researchers claims to have found the best materials for homemade face masks: a combination of either cotton and chiffon or cotton and natural silk, both of which appear to effectively filter droplets and aerosols.

For example, some recent studies suggest that reusable masks made of cotton may be ineffective at filtering droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

How well the mask fits is also crucial.

The team experimented with various samples of cotton, chiffon, flannel, silk, spandex, satin, and polyester — on their own and in combination.

They tested the fabric to see if it could filter out tiny aerosol particles. Researchers believe that SARS-CoV-2 may disseminate not just through droplets — for instance, from coughs — but also through minute particles that spread when people simply breathe, which are much harder to catch.

The researchers found that a sheet of tightly woven cotton — of 600 threads per inch — plus two sheets of chiffon, made from polyester and spandex, seemed to make the most effective combination, filtering out 80–99% of the particles, depending on their size.

The team even suggests that the performance of this combination is comparable to that of N95 masks, which are used by healthcare professionals.

Other combinations that perform well, according to the researchers, are tightly woven cotton plus natural silk or flannel, and cotton quilt with cotton-polyester batting. [flannel might be a bit warm this time of year, or any time in certain locations.]

The researchers explain that combinations involving a fabric with a tight weave, such as cotton, and one that can hold a static charge, such as silk, are likely effective because they provide a double barrier: mechanical and electrostatic.

Yet they emphasize that for these masks to be truly effective, they have to fit very snugly.

The effect of gaps between the contour of the face and the mask, as caused by an improper fit, will affect the efficiency of any face mask,” they write.

“Our findings indicate that leakages around the mask area can degrade efficiencies by [approximately] 50% or more, pointing out the importance of fit.”


Sew face masks out of cotton and chiffon or natural silk to protect against COVID-19 (ZME Science). Alexandru Micu, April 27, 2020 in Health & Medicine, News, Science.

A new study from the University of Chicago reports that a multi-layered mask made from cotton fabric and chiffon or natural silk can be just as effective as N95 masks against the coronavirus.

Their results show that one layer of “tightly-woven” cotton combined with two layers of polyester-spandex chiffon (a type of sheer fabric most commonly seen in evening gowns — can filter out between 80% to 99% of all aerosol particles in a sample (depending on their size). Such performance, they add, is close to that of an N95 respirator mask.

The chiffon can be swapped for natural silk or flannel without losing filtering ability, or the whole thing can be replaced with a cotton quilt with cotton-polyester batting. The combination of two materials is important, however. The team explains that the cotton creates a physical barrier to incoming aerosol particles, while materials such as chiffon and natural silk can become charged, and serve as an electrostatic barrier.

Essential for such masks to be perfectly fitted. Even the slightest gap between the mask’s edges and the user’s skin can reduce their filtering efficiency by 60%.


Making your own mask? Researchers say some fabrics can filter nearly as well as an N95 (Boston Globe).

Fabric from a cotton sheet combined with material from a prom dress, an old tie, or a pair of pajamas could be used to make a mask with a filter that’s nearly as good as the N95 mask, according to new research.

A new study from researchers at the University of Chicago says that a combination of cotton with silk, chiffon, or flannel can create a well-functioning filter.


Study: High Thread Count Cotton, Silk Among Best Materials for Face Masks (WTTW)

Fabrics with tight weaves, such as high thread count cotton sheets (the study tested 600 thread count cotton), natural silk, chiffon weave and flannel were effective and can provide good protection, according to the study. Researchers also found combining different fabrics in multiple layers to be effective.

None of these completely eliminated the risk of transmission. I don’t know if over time it’ll be as good as an N95 mask, but it provides significant protection based on what our findings from our data say,” Guha said.

Based on those findings, Guha recommends combining high thread count cotton with two layers of silk or two layers of a chiffon weave (the study tested a 90% polyester, 10% Spandex fabric). “Other kinds of fabrics may work as well,” he said, adding the study was limited in scope.


DIY Face Mask Filter Materials: What to Use, What to Avoid.

Jennifer Maker is a crafter who has done extensive research about various Filter materials. You might be surprised at her findings. For example, coffee filters are rather ineffective. She also provided a pattern, with filter pocket, adjustable ties and nose guard.

DIY Face mask Patterns – Filter Pocket and Adjustable Ties!

Youtube video.

Calling all sewists! My brother-in-law Chad (who is a respiratory therapist at the hospital I was born at) just called me about making face masks because they are running out at the hospital. He made it very clear that some sort of mask is better than no mask. I’ve researched the best materials to use per the CDC guidelines and the Cambridge University study and created a sewing pattern that can be cut by hand with my free printable PDF.

Important: These DIY face masks do not replace the need for N95 masks. Rather, they are a last resort when no N95 masks are available. Some mask is better than no mask at all. If you have an N95 mask and want to learn how to make a cover to extend its life, let me know and if there’s enough interest I’ll make a pattern for that, too!

This DIY face mask pattern has several important features, all requested by my favorite respiratory therapist. Most of the features are optional, so you can keep it simple with just two layers and some ties, or go for full-featured version with three layers, a filter, and an adjustable nose guard. Your choice!

MATERIALS LIST: [check her original video, because I edited this]

  • One piece of 100% cotton heavyweight T-shirt, about 10″ x 12″ — can be new or old, but should be clean (you can sterilize it by boiling it, drying it at least 104°F, or using a hot iron)
  • Two pieces of 100% cotton or cotton blend closely and TIGHTLY woven fabric, like that on a hypoallergenic pillowcase, about 10″ x 12″
  • 1/4″-3/8″ wide ribbons or ties, at least 72″ (six feet) to make four 18″ ties — ribbons/ties make it adjustable and fit better (ribbons might not work well for sliding knots, bias tape or shoelaces might work better)
  • Thread
  • (Optional) Something you can use as a filter, such as pieces of a a HEPA Air Filter, 1900 strength, 12″ x 7″ (you can iron this flat with a low temp iron ) or pieces of a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner bag
  • (Optional) 20-22-gauge wire or floral wire, 4″ long (to make a fitted top to go over the bridge of your nose) (some use pipe cleaners)
  • (Optional) Fabric marker (good if you want to mark the seam allowance) (chalk, pencil, pen, thin marker, who cares, you are going to sew it!)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread for hand sewing)
  • Pins (for keeping fabric attached while sewing) (some use hair clips, small binder or paper clips –  anything to hold layers of fabric together)

How to Sew the VERY BEST Fitted Fabric Face Mask with Filter Pocket and Nose Support. Daisy Multifacetica

Step by Step tutorial:  SEE link for complete info. #mask4all #facemasktutorial #diyfacemask

Supplies needed for medium adult mask:

  • Fabric: (she is using 100% cotton and polycotton) (Not sure what is that? Cannot be 100% cotton with another blend?)
  • 7 by 14″ for front layer
  • 7 by 14″ for middle layer (can be fabric or fusible (iron-on) interface)
  • 6 by 14″ for the back layer (pocket)

Ear support, use any of these options:

  • 2  pieces of thin elastic = 8″
  • 2  pieces of Tshirt Strips = 8 ¾”
  • 2 soft elastic ponytail holders
  • Medium hair ties
  • Large hair ties
  • 1 elastic headband
  • 1 long shoelace
  • 1 Satin Ribbon (not good for sliding knots), Paracord, or similar

Nose wire: Pipe Cleaner or 10cm or 4″ of lined floral wire [lined with batting] 10cm by 2cm of batting to line the wire.

Patterns from XS to Large.

Facebook for access to all of her Patterns.

Daisy’s DISCLOSURE: *** this is NOT medical GRADE face mask***. It is a suggestion for homemade fabric Face Mask with filter pocket. CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.


Eye Protection: Safe Handler Duarte Premium Over Glasses | ANSI Z87.1, Impact Resistant Polycarbonate Lens, UV400, Anti-Fog & Anti-Scratch. We are told not to touch our eyes. Best protection are safety glasses with side protection. These are lightweight and comfortable. I put mine in a sealable one quart freezer bag, so they don’t get scratched.

They “provide well-rounded protection against high-velocity impact, splashes, dust, infrared light, welding, fog and more.” I initially bought these to protect my eyes when drilling, sanding and doing a variety of fix-it and crafts. These fit over most glasses, which is requirement for many, including myself.


A hair stylist pal back ordered “disposable hair cutting capes” from Amazon. Use an existing cape for the pattern. Most disposable capes are about 52 x 43 inches. I initially suggested buying bolts of 45 or 54 inch wide cheap fabric, hot gluing ribbons or string at the neck (one set back from neck, to allow wrap around), and if needed, sew two pieces together quickly and easily with a sewing machine.

Another possibility: contact plastic suppliers. Ask their advice about a roll either 44 or 52 inches wide (based on your measurements and their inventory) of lightweight plastic. You can tape two or more pieces if needed. Plus just tape it at the neck.


I don’t know if or when I’ll update this. Took many hours to research and to compile and write. I’m ready to start sewing. First gotta wash thrift store but too small 96% cotton, 4% spandex black jeans, china silk I’ve had since I tie-dyed and batik’d back in late 1960s and early 1970s!, some poly/rayon chiffon, lightweight satin, some cotton and other various bits of fabric. Plus bias tape I’ve had since … oh gosh, 1960s. I’m a lifelong crafter, sewer, artist who rarely throws anything out. Although I do my best to stay organized, took some time to find my supplies. Finding my craft pipe cleaners took the longest! LOL.

STAY WELL. Social Distancing is our life. THIS is our lives now and for the near future. Protect yourself and others.

Do you recall the families lived in an attic for 761 days? They didn’t hang out at the beach, restaurants or go shopping. They didn’t complain loudly. You can read about it in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Shabbat Shalom.

#SocialDistancing #FaceMaskPatterns #FaceMaskFabrics #EyeProtection #Covid19 #Corona #Pandemic

2 thoughts on “Cloth Face Mask Patterns, Fabrics and Filters from CDC and Crafters”

  1. Brenda Perlin

    Thank you very much Jenny. This is very helpful and appreciated. So much to learn and we want to get it right!

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