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  • Writer's pictureRobin Ankerich

Reusable Face Mask

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold and hospital staff started to speak out about mask shortages, I was ask to help make medical-grade mask from blown-fiber surgical fabric. About the same time, I started making cotton mask for my family and those in my apartment building. Very quickly I realized that the standard mask patterns did not fit my face well. After many, many mockups and attempts with different patterns, I have finally figured out what works for my face.

Explanation of Materials

While most people are making mask with 2 layers of cotton, I read a few research articles that state a layer of cotton plus two layers of organza was better than two layers of cotton (though I did not save the original journal article I read, here is another sites link). So that is why I use one layer of cotton and two layers or organza. To prevent collapsing into your mouth, I reinforce the middle with a 2” piece of muslin across the middle. The wire is cushioned by flannel which also insulates the bridge of the nose to prevent glasses fog/air leakage. And the final material explanation is the foldover elastic; I use it to help fit the lower edge of the mask into your neck/chin while also being soft.


1 – Pattern Piece

1 – Piece of woven cotton fabric (at least 7” x 11”)

2 – Piece of organza fabric (silk or poly) (at least 7” x 11”)

1 – Piece of woven bias cotton (2” x 9 1/8”)

1 – Piece of bias cotton flannel (1 ¼” x 6”)

1 – Piece of 5/8” wide foldover elastic (6” long)

(If you only have standard elastic ¼ - ½” will work, but the foldover elastic is soft and will help not to rub.)

1 – Piece of 20-gauge wire (5” long)

1 – Tie – (My preferred tie is made from ¾” strip of knit fabric or upcycled t-shirt that is about 50” long. The knit fabric gives and stretches. Otherwise a 1” wide strip of woven cotton bias double-folded into itself and edge stitched will also work).

Image of the mask pattern. To have the mask properly sized, download the PDF. (Middle section should measure 2" tall).

Mask Template Vector
Download PDF • 70KB

I have created a PDF for the instructions. Rather than list them here, feel free to download the PDF to see the instructions complete with photos.

Mask Instructions
Download PDF • 1.84MB

Interior view of face mask.

The side view shows the gather created by the tie channel and the pleats along the middle section.

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