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DIY: Washable Face Mask from Rediscover

A step-by-step instructions to make your own washable face mask.

Makers across Aotearoa are sewing up a mask storm and so can you! We’ve heard this pattern from Julie at Rediscover.co.nz  is the best pattern out there according to mask makers.

Try at home with off cut or repurposed fabrics.Short on elastic? No problem, Amanda from wastefreeland.nz created some fab masks upcycling elastic found in socks. See here

It works really well and is very comfortable. Simply wash the mask in soapy water after using then dry and reuse the mask. Easy.

Original Post: 5 April 2020 from Rediscover.co.nz : Julie Legg,  Waikato based Lifestyle & Food Blogger. Foodie. Gardener. Gatherer. DIY Lover. Writer. Vocalist. Curious Thinker.

For the past six weeks I have not been able to find hand sanitiser nor face masks…and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

In these challenging times, I know I am not alone when it comes to feeling a little anxious.

The jury is still out (at time of writing) – do we need to wear masks?  The NZ government is awaiting advice from WHO, yet reports from overseas suggests that masks are highly recommended. This isn’t the channel to debate the finer details, however I feel that we need all need to take personal responsibility. If we all abide by the hygiene guidelines AND can cobble together a mask from our sewing kit, then it’s not a backward step.

Who are we protecting?  Others – by not infecting them, Ourselves – by not breathing in respiratory droplets of infected others but probably foremost: it helps to hinder the ability to touch our own face in a less-than-ideal environment – the supermarket in my case, as I am this household’s designated shopper.  Some studies report on average we touch our face up to 23 times an hour.

These Washable Face Masks are made from everyday cotton fabric. This design covers the nose and mouth, snugly fitting under the chin, and is breathable.

I’ve chosen to have different fabric for the outer and lining layers for a bit of colourful Covid handiwork. I had spare material from my sewing kit but struggled with the tie-backs. I forfeited some elastic I found in a hat and used a tie-cord from an old pair of track pants…as you do!

A couple of you spotted my Instagram Story yesterday so as requested….here’s the step-by-step instructions to make your own washable face mask (including a downloadable template):

Handmade washable face masks

While there are different designs, this is how I’ve made mine. This template fits my cheery face — feel free to adjust the template to a larger cut if required.

These cotton face masks can be washed in soapy water in your regular wash. Dry thoroughly then reuse, rewash as required.

  • Page 1: for those with a printer – print on landscape A4 and adjust your settings to ‘actual size’
  • Page 2: for those without a printer – this version has the dimensions so you can create your own template based on the measurements provided.

Step 1:

Fold your chosen outer fabric in two; pin and cut to the outer layer template. Repeat for the lining fabric using the lining template (which is slightly shorter) – it can be the same fabric, or you may wish to choose another.

Face mask: outer templateFace Mask: inner lining templateStep 2:

Align cut outer fabric, print sides facing each in, then pin along the ‘nose’ (the long curve). Sew a simple stitch approx .5cm from the edge to secure the two pieces together. Repeat for the lining fabric, print sides facing in.

DIY face maskDIY Face MaskStep 3:

Place your two sewn fabrics on top of each other, print sides facing in, so the top of the ‘nose’ pockets align as does the bottom edge. Pin and sew a simple stitch along the top and bottom to adjoin these two pieces.

DIY washable face maskStep 4:

Turn the mask inside out so it exposes the outer fabric and the lining. Pretty! You can see it taking form now. You may wish to iron the seams flat at this stage, although it is not essential as you can flatten the seams with your hands. With the exposed wings of outer fabric on either side of the mask, turn in to ‘tidy’ and secure with a simple stitch.

DIY face maskDIY face maskStep 5:

Fold the wings over the lining and pin down. You want to create a cavity to pull through a tie-back or elastic so ensure there is enough room to thread through a safety pin – then sew down the inside edge. Do this for each side.

DIY face maskStep 6:

Find some elastic, ribbon, bias binding, cord – or create your own tie by folding over fabric and sewing into a thin ribbon. Use a safety pin to help thread your chosen tie through the cavity created in step 5.  Continue threading through the other side so it becomes one tie.

If using elastic, secure the two ends with a safety pin, try it on and adjust the elastic length for comfort. The bottom piece of elastic sits low at the base of your neck, the other sits higher above your ears – you’ll work out what is most comfortable. Once you’re happy, sew the two ends together.

If using a tie-back, adjust the length for comfort too.  As above, one part of the tie will sit at the base of your neck and the other (which needs tying each time you put the mask on) will be elsewhere on your head that’s comfortable and easy to tie/untie.

DIY face maskDIY washable cotton face masks


A special thanks to Chantel, a fellow crafter, for pointing me in the right direction. My Englishman and I are now kitted out and feel more ‘ready’ for our supermarket journeys.

Stay safe.

Julie x

Valid until Tuesday 14th of December 2021

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