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Make your own fabric mask at home with this designer pattern

On Friday, President Trump announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now recommending that people in the United States now wear public face covers to slow the spread of the novel corona virus. The additional measure in the area of ​​public health is not a substitute for social distancing, but above all it is to prevent those who have the virus – and may not know it – from spreading it to others.

The Washington Post spoke to Grace Jun, assistant professor of fashion at the Parsons School of Design and executive director of the Open Style Lab, who wrote this pattern after consulting the Mayor̵

7;s Office for People with Disabilities and the NYU Langone Medical Center. “Accessible design,” said Jun, “is better design.”

This pattern can be sewn with a machine, but can also be sewn by hand.

Download the pattern here to print it out at home.


  • Cloth scissors or rotary cutters
  • Ruler or ruler tape
  • Pens or clips
  • sewing machine
  • Thread (polyester works well for added strength)
  • Iron or heavy books
  • Optional: safety pin


  • Two pieces of 12 inch long and 7.25 inch wide 100 percent cotton fabric (tightly woven or quilted cotton). If possible, use two different colors to show the inside and outside of the mask.
  • A piece of 12 inch long and 7.25 inch wide interface or lightweight, breathable, stiff material.
  • 14 inch 1/8-inch flat rubber, stretch yarn or additional fabric for ties.


Cut your pieces and mark stitch lines

Cut three fabric rectangles 12 inches long and 7.5 inches wide:

  • Two pieces of cotton fabric
  • An interface piece

Stack the fabric: The top layer should be a thicker / quilted cotton (red in the pictures above), the middle layer should be the interface piece and the last layer below should be a softer cotton (white in the pictures above).

Trace all pattern lines on the top layer of fabric. Cut all three layers along the solid line so that you get three pieces of equal size.

Cut two rubber bands, each at least 20 cm long, to allow for an adjustable fit.


Sew the arrows

Fold your pile of fabric with the top layer on the inside (red in the pictures) in half so that you sew your triangular darts onto the white / inner layer. Clip or pin together.

Sew a 1/2 inch arrow on the top of your mask – for your nose. On the other side, sew another 3/4 inch arrow for the chin. Note that these can be made smaller or larger depending on the wearer.

You can cut open the arrows or flatten them.


Sew the zigzag lines

Use a zigzag stitch to sew along the curved dotted stitch lines.


Sew the top and bottom outer edges of the mask

Fold the top and bottom edge (long side) of the mask inward along the marked seam allowance and press and pin or pin it. Sew the top of the fold to close it. (This leaves a raw edge. You can finish your edges before sewing to finish them if desired.)


Sew the horizontal zigzag lines

Sew with a zigzag stitch along the horizontal dotted stitch lines.

Step six

Attach elastic bands to the mask

Fold the edges of your fabric bottles over 1/2 inch or more and sew 1/4 inch from the edge to create a tunnel for the rubber band. Run the rubber band through the tunnel (a safety pin attached to one end helps threading). Try on the size and adjust the length as needed. Sew or tie the ends of the rubber band together.

Jun used a tightly woven quilt or high thread count cotton fabric to make this pattern. A study published in 2013 in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness found that well-fitting, homemade masks made from cotton T-shirts offer some protection against the transmission of droplets, the method by which the coronavirus spreads.

Jun also designed a vinyl mask that makes wiping and disinfecting easier. The clear vinyl would also make your mouth visible when you are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired.

– The Washington Post

Grace Jun explains how she created her mask pattern

A few weeks ago, in New York City, at the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus crisis, Grace Jun received an urgent call from a friend who needed a face mask. The conversation wasn’t just a case where one friend vented to another. Jun specializes in adaptive design and develops products that can be used by people with a range of disabilities. And her friend Christina Mallon-Michalove has a motor neuron disease that not only affects her breathing but also paralyzes her arms and shoulders.

After Jun sent her one of the last disposable masks, she worked on something reusable.

She designed a face covering – one that can be sewn together at home and offers a better fit for a wider range of faces than the standard pleated variant. Jun’s mask is non-medical and does not replace the rules on social distance from disease control and prevention centers. But now that the White House has issued guidelines asking people to wear face coverings in public, Jun offers a wider do-it-yourself option – one that she recommends made of washable or even clear Shower curtain could be sewn, which makes wiping and disinfection easier. The clear vinyl would also make your mouth visible when you are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired.

Jun’s pattern, which is larger than the standard, is characterized by simple vertical folds. They run along the bridge of the nose and chin and are designed to make it easier to adjust the fit. There are also distinctive, curved seams at the top and bottom that, according to Jun, would allow the mask to follow the jaw without compromising breathability. The mask can be attached to the head with fabric bands or elastic hair bands.

“Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, anyone could do it,” says Jun. “If you can’t sew, you can use staples or safety pins.”

There are countless iterations of facewear available online: plain cotton, floral prints, even sequins – which can be a larger dose of fashion than you really want from something that hopefully is very, very temporary. There are countless YouTube tutorials on how to create them.

Jun’s consideration of how a mask interferes with lip reading is a natural extension of her day job. As an assistant professor at the Parsons School of Design, she teaches a clothing making course where students are asked to take into account the needs of consumers who use wheelchairs, some of whom use their arms to a limited extent or who do not have a lot of manual dexterity. Jun is also the managing director of Open Style Lab, an incubator for accessible and fashionable clothing designs, wearable technology and other general purpose products. Mallon-Michalove is a board member of the non-profit organization founded in 2014.

What is the future of adaptive design? That is the question that Open Style Lab asks. “There’s really no concrete example if you don’t make it,” Jun says. This health crisis has widened a variety of financial, racial, and social differences. Jun didn’t want the needs of people with disabilities to go completely unrecognized.

“When you look at such things, the disability community is most ignored. And that includes aging, ”says Jun.” We will all face the handicap of aging. “

A mask doesn’t have to be another hurdle.

– Robin Givhan

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