How to Make a Fabric Face Mask

By Logan Bright Modified on March 30, 2020

Toronto's Michael Garron Hospital calls for donations of homemade face masks during the coronavirus outbreak.

Instructions on how to make your own homemade fabric face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto has put out a request for volunteers with sewing skills to help with the shortage of personal protective equipment.

The masks are meant for hospital visitors, discharged patients, and the broader community at large to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These masks are not meant for front line healthcare workers, who need a higher quality mask known as the N95. But these homemade face masks are great for those of us who need to be out in the world during this crisis.

How to make a homemade face mask


  • standard sewing gear: sewing machine, measuring tape, etc.
  • dark-coloured polyester fabric for the outside of the mask
    • substitute 100% cotton if you can't get polyester
  • light-coloured 100% cotton fabric for the inside of the mask
    • this part goes against your skin, so you'll want 100% cotton!
  • elastic or cloth ties for ear loops

You can use any old scraps of fabric you have around the house: tea towels, old shirts, and so on. Just check the tag to be sure what material you're working with. And of course, make sure it's clean!

Quick instructions

  • Prep your darker coloured, exterior fabric
    • Women: 23 x 16 cm
    • Men: 24 x 17 cm
    • Children: 22 x 15 cm
  • Hem it, and pleat each side
  • Prep the lighter coloured liner
    • Women: 21 x 14 cm
    • Men: 22 x 15 cm
    • Children: 20 x 13 cm
  • Hem each side of the liner
  • Place the liner inside the mask so the hems kiss!
  • Sew across the top and bottom only
    • This way you could fit a filter in — paper towel works well, as do coffee filters
  • Cut two elastic or cloth straps, around 17 cm each
  • Sew them on and you're good to go!

To keep your mask clean, wash daily with hot water and laundry detergent.

If you have the skills and the time, please consider making a few homemade fabric face masks for Michael Garron Hospital's Mask Challenge. Check out this PDF from Michael Garron Hospital for more detailed instructions, with pictures!

To learn how to make your own homemade, WHO-approved hand sanitizer, click here. To learn how to disinfect your phone, mouse and keyboard, click here. To learn how to cut your own hair at home, click here.

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