Written by Kumiko Toya
In crowded cities in some Asian countries, wearing masks in the community is widespread - much more so than in Western cultures.
People in Japan, Korea, and parts of China regularly wear what are often called “courtesy masks” — masks worn to prevent their germs from infecting others. The point of the courtesy mask is the protection of others, not of oneself. If you feel a bit under the weather but could not take the day off, it is a common courtesy to cover your mouth and nose with a mask, so as not to spread your germs all over the place, or on your fellow commuters.
Wearing a mask in Japan is also becoming part of fashion. It is not uncommon to see masks with different colors and patterns such as army camo or animal-print. Reusable cloth masks are also popular as they are eco-friendly and comfortable.
We are sharing how to sew a reusable cloth mask. It's so comfy, and super easy to make!
How To Sew a Simple Fabric Face Mask
- Approximately 13" x 10" fabric.
- Elastic band
💡You can add a pocket to place filters (such as a microfiber melt-blown non-woven fabric) in Step 8.
💡This is a medium size mask fits for women and teenagers . To make a kids' size mask, print the pattern in 95 percent scale. To make a men's size mask, print it in 105 percent scale.
Small (Kids) and Large (Men) sizes are included in this new pattern. Thank you Michelle for making the PDF free for us to download!
Patterns with 0.5" grid are now available in case you do not have access to a printer!
1. Click to open and download the PDF pattern. Print out the pattern in Full Scale. There is a 2 inch scale-marking to check if you are printing it in the right size.
2. Trace and cut out two fabric pieces.
3. Place the two fabric pieces face-to-face. Sew the short sides with 1/2" seam allowance.
4. Clip curve along with the seam allowance. Be careful not to clip on the stitches.
5. Align the stitched lines. Fold each side of the seam allowance down and press the seams open with an iron.
6. Sew the long sides with 1/2" seam allowance. Leave 1/2" openings on both sides to insert elastic band for later step. Leave a 1-1/2” opening to turn right-side out.
7. Turn right-side out
8. Topstitch. Don't sew on the openings to insert the elastic band. 💡Option: you can leave the opening on top unsewn to make a pocket to place filters.
9. Using a bodkin (a hairpin is an alternative), put the elastic band through the opening and tie a knot. Repeat the same to the other side. The length of the elastic band needed depends on the person. Try your mask before cutting the elastic band.
💡 Olaf from Germany shared a great idea with a photo! In step 8, make a little more space on the top edge so that you can insert a nose wire. (Olaf used a piece of pipe cleaner) The mask will fit more snugly on your face. This is a great tip especially for people who wear glasses. Click here for more ideas of DIY nose wires.