It's washable, it's reusable! It'll help protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors from catching The 'RONA!

I got the basic pattern for these out of a really old 1920's surgical nursing textbook.

They called for something called "muslin". No clue what that is.

So I makes them out of 100% cotton. All cotton, all day. Bolt fabric, old tee shirts, that horrible beige suit from the 80's... yeah it's time to have that suit serve a better purpose.

Cut the fabric to 10 in. x 24 in.

Then fold it in half lengthwise to make a 10 inch x 12 inch rectangle.

Step 1: Stabitty Stab Stab.

Take that 10 in. x 24 in. rectangle and fold in half lengthwise.

This will give you a 10 in. x 12 in. rectangle.

Sew the loose edges of the fabric together 0.5 inches in from the edge. Or 1 cm for our metric folks out there.

Theoretically you could use fabric glue or hot glue. But I don't know if it would make it through the washing machine or not.

One thing I do know.

Fabric. Does NOT weld. At all. I know, I've tried.

Step 2: Iron It!

Iron your double layer rectangle out to get rid of any wrinkles.

It should measure 10 in. x 12 in. at this point.

Step 3: Youbetcha.

Should look something like this.

Step 4: Mark It!

Lay a light pencil line at 6 in along the 12 in. side of the rectangle.

Step 5: Fold It, Again.

Fold the stitched end down to the line we just marked.

Line the stitches up with the line we drew at 6 in. It should overlap the line we drew.

This is the beginning of the pocket for our filter.

Step 6: Create the Pocket.

Now we fold the unstitched end, left to right, over top of the other.

Line it up with the stitches of the previously folded bit. It should overlap the previous fold by 0.5 in.

It should measure approximately 10 in. x 5.75 in. at this point.

Step 7: Closer Look at the Pocket.

Here we can see the folds.

The "top" overlaps the "bottom" by half an inch to form the pocket for our filter.


I found it helps to iron it out at this point.

I double check my ends to make sure it's still 10 in. x 5.75 in.

Step 9: Stick It. Repeatedly. With Thread.

Now sew down the "left" and "right" sides of our mask to complete the internal pocket.

I use 0.5 in. or 1 cm spacing for pretty much all of this.

Step 10: Hardware Time!

Cut off a piece of 18 gauge Aluminum or 22 gauge Stainless Steel wire for our nose piece.

I used Aluminum here.

(You could also add a piece of wire to the bottom of the mask for a tighter fit. )

Step 11: Heavy Metal!

Open up our pocket and put the wire, or wires inside.

Push them up inside nice and snug against the crease.

The second shot is blurry. My apologies. But it's the wire up against that inside crease.

This wire, or wires is actually quite important to getting a good fit on the mask. Without it unpleasant things can happen like your glasses fogging up at the worst possible moment or, EGADS!, you could catch The 'Rona if you have big gaps around your mask.

I don't want to catch The 'Rona. I'm pretty sure you don't want to catch The 'Rona, either.

No catchy catchy.

Step 12: The Inside of My Pocket.


This is the inside of my pocket.

This is what happens when you sit on your phone.

In case you were curious.

Step 13: More Poking of the Thread and Needle.

Sew up the wire or wires we just installed.

May be hard to see but I sewed about 0.25 in or 5mm from the edge to hold the wire into place.

Step 14: Fabric Origami Time.

This is where we start to form the folds to make the actual mask.

I make my first fold here and then iron it as I go.

Step 15: More Fabric Origami...Fabrigami? Oribric?

I then fold the other side up to meet the first, and then apply some ironing.

Step 16: Getting Closer Now.

This is a photo of how the pleats should be folded.

Kind of a "W" ish shape.

Step 17: Stabby Stabby.

I then secure either end of the mask with pins before sewing them together.

Step 18: Both Ends Secured.

As you can see I am an utter amateur at sewing. And photography.

But it should look something like this on either end.

You'll probably do better as I'm mostly thumbs.

This is why we don't give sewing machines to welders! Just awful!

Step 19: Bringing It Together...

Now to form the loops for the ties or elastic ear loop bands.

I elected to go with ties on this because, for some strange reason, elastic has gotten super scarce where I live.



I make about a 1 in. fold in the ends and then sew it.

If I would be using elastic bands, I would cut them to 8 to 10 inches long, tie the ends together to make a loop and then fold the fabric here over the elastic loop to make ear loop thingies instead of tie cords.

Step 20: Rope a Dope.

I then cut two 36 inch lengths of nylon cord for the ties.

I have a big head, and any less than that I can't tie it behind my nugget without struggling.

I used 3/16 in. diameter cord. Because I first tried it with heavy duty cotton string, and then tried untying it with exam gloves on and I couldn't do it with the gloves on so I made the ties bigger so people wearing gloves could tie or untie them without having to grope the back of their head and make everyone else really uncomfortable for having to see said gropening.

Step 21: FILTERS!

This is what I have been using for filter material. They're about 4 bucks for a pack of like 10 at the local Farm N Barn or Home Despot.

I cut them in half. I get two filters per sheet.

These can be reused if washed GENTLY by HAND and then left to dry in the Sun for a day.

Step 22: Finishing the Assembly.

Step one.

Remember the pocket we made way back when? Yeah open that up like a letter to Santa.

Step two.

Stuff a filter in there. It helps if you put a corner in first, and then coax the rest in. They don't really go in all that easy. But I prefer the extra layer of filtering against The 'Rona.

Step three.

The "envelope" pocket should overlap back on itself naturally.






Super cool. Radical.

And this is about what it should look like when it's done. I've got a big head and a massive mug and these things fit "bigish" even on me. They'll even fit over a regular n95 respirator quite nicely.

If I precut all my materials and get going on it. I can make these things 15 mins per piece, if I use elastic, 5$ a unit. And I started sewing... like. Yesterday. So if clumsy Welderman can sew a mask, you can sew a mask.

Fight The 'Rona! Help our healthcare folks out! Sew some up, give'em away, sell 'em. I don't care, just get them out there and for Pete's sake, WEAR 'EM!

Just remember folks, this is what happens when you give a sewing machine, the internet, and wayyyy too much free time to a welder in the middle of a pandemic with a horrendous PPE shortage.

Just awful. Simply awful.

Thanks for your time! Hope you enjoyed! Stop by again real soon.

Oh yeah.