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TOM BIHN Reusable Cloth Face Mask Pattern + How-To Videos

UPDATE 04/28: Large Size Pattern Now Available!

Hey folks! As you may know, we've been offering our Reusable Cloth Face Mask as a "buy one, donate one" for the last week or so.

Some of you may want to make the mask at home yourselves instead of buying one from us. Makes sense to us. While we've gotten pretty efficient at making masks, we know that it's really the combined efforts of home sewers and small shops all across the country that will ensure that everyone who wants a cloth face mask can have one.  

Download the pattern for our ORIGINAL SIZE Reusable Cloth Face Mask here.

Download the pattern for our LARGE SIZE Reusable Cloth Face Mask here.

Sizing information to help you determine which pattern to use can be seen here.
 
Please make sure to read the instructions for use and warnings for our Reusable Cloth Face Mask; the same applies to the mask you'd be making. If you need more copies of the Warnings and Instructions For Use to distribute with masks that you are providing to others, please download the Instructions For Use and Warnings PDF and print additional copies on your home printer.
 
My brother Dan and I made two quick videos about home mask making. It’s such an awesome thing to see so many folks pitching in and making cloth masks for themselves and others.
 
In the first video, I’m showing some production tips for folks who are interested in making masks at home, or are already doing so. There’s quite a few how-to videos out there already, many of which demonstrate how to sew some very simple as well as some very clever mask designs. What I thought I could add was some more general techniques to increase your speed and output: if you’re making a mask in half an hour or an hour, that’s great, but think of how many more masks you can make if you can get it down to five or ten minutes each? I’m sure there’s efficiency tricks that you’ve developed yourselves – please add them to the comments below the video.

 


The second is a step-by-step, realtime video of me sewing one of the masks we make in our factory in about four minutes. I’m a pretty good sewer, but the professional sewers that work in our factory would of course put me to shame. But this little video does show the steps and hopefully, along with the PDF pattern you can download and print, you can make these same masks at home if you want.

 
A few notes on using the pattern and selecting materials:
 
  • Our cloth face mask is “one size fits most”. Before we offered this mask to you, we made tens of thousands of this mask for healthcare professionals; the healthcare professionals chose the dimensions of the mask based on a “one size” that would work best for their varied staff. During that time, we also donated thousands of masks to various individuals and groups and gathered feedback on sizing and comfort. We learned that this mask fit most folks well and that pretty much everyone found it to be comfortable. Unfortunately, it was too small for a few folks, and unfortunately, that is difficult to avoid in a “one size fits all” situation. The good news is that since you're making this at home you can adjust the sizing of the mask as you see fit; let us know how that works!
  • Fabric: we use a ~4-1/2 ounce / 150gm, 65% polyester / 35% cotton poplin. Slightly heavier will work, much lighter might get harder to work with. There’s articles on-line about what fabrics work best, so check those out for sure.
  • The more common “elastic” that you used to be able to buy in the fabric store is hard to get right now; if you can get it, 1/8” or 3/16” / 3mm or 5mm seem to work well. No elastic in the local store? Feel free to get inventive: anything that’s soft and stretchy can be substituted – think straps off an old bra or yoga pants cut into strips. We haven't seen this material ourselves, and can't vouch for whether it'll work, but received a link to it as a tip from a mask maker; HiKoo’s® Tee Cakes (yarn made from recycled t-shirts).
      • We sew a piece of 1/2” / 12mm nylon herringbone tape across the bridge of the nose so that you can slide a twisty-tie or piece of pipe cleaner in there to gently pinch/seal across your nose. This is optional of course. In the factory, we hot cut the ends of the herringbone tape to fuse the fibers together so they don’t fray: if what you use to create the channel can’t be hot knifed (like it’s cotton), simply cut it another inch / 25mm longer and fold the ends over as you sew.
      • Share any tips or tricks you’ve invented in the comments below.
      • Good luck and thank you for the important work you're doing.
      UPDATES (19 April 2020):
        • Yikes, y’all are sharp! Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency in our PDF and instructions. 

          Regarding the question to mirror or not mirror to two parts of the mask: either way works! You can make “lefts and rights” if that makes more sense to you, or you can just make all the sub-assemblies the same. I’ve found that making them all the same means I spend less time thinking, counting and sorting, and more time sewing: just grab two parts with their ear loops sewn into position, flip one atop the other and go! Once the mask is done and right-sided-out, it doesn’t matter which way you’ve done it - no one will ever know :) The only wrong way to do it would be to sew two ear loops onto one piece and none onto the other: then you’ll get a mask with two ear loops on one side and zero ear loops on the other side :)

         

        Some of you pointed out that I didn’t make this clear on the PDF, and I’ve fixed that now – thanks for your keen observation and feedback.

        • I added small rulers (standard and metric) to the new pattern as well, so you can compare your printed version to your own ruler and make sure it's printed at 100% scale.
        • I also made a simplified mask pattern with a 50mm / ~2" grid overlay so if for whatever reason that helps, you've got it here. UPDATE 28 April 2020: Large size with grid is here.
        • Thanks for making masks at home! Keep up the good work!

         

        21 comments

        Tom Bihn

        ←Update on orders placed for bags Reusable Cloth Face Mask FAQ→

        21 comments

        • Bonnie Jacques on

          Really appreciate all of your efforts and sharing. Great pattern and thank you for the additional size!

        • Susan Moore on

          We have successfully created a child size version of this mask by cutting off the seam allowance on the regular size pattern. We reduced the earlobe elastic to 6 inches. You could also increase the elastic and tie a knot in the end to make it adjustable for smaller faces. We use the gentlest and narrowest spandex elastic we can find for added comfort.

        • Elizabeth on

          Ear loops – I’ve used 12" gutless paracord (not elastic). The report from my family and friends is that they’ve been able to adapt the non-elastic, sturdy ear loops in different ways. The loops are large enough so that some have added a friction bead/slider to adjust and tighten the ear loops. Others have knotted or tacked the ear loops to a fixed length. Others have added one more tie through the back of the two ear loops to pull the mask tight, but take the pressure off their ears. [FYI, for other makers gutless paracord is ~1/5" wide, available and its cost is similar to 1/4" elastic.]
          On the nose bridge I’ve sewn a longer 5" sleeve that will fit a coffee tie. By putting that sleeve and wire stiffener on the inside of the mask I’m able to mold the top the mask to my cheeks and in that way my eye glasses don’t fog up.
          Thank you, so much, for making your mask pattern available and for creating a pattern that’s truly fun to make.

        • Leslie on

          Hi, thank you SO much for this pattern. I am from South Africa and there is a desperate need for masks in the vulnerable community. At last a pattern that is quick to make and fits so well.
          Any chance of a child size?

        • Maureen Hoffmann on

          Tom, Your generous provision of the mask pattern was mentioned at the end of this article. THANK YOU.
          https://b-townblog.com/2020/05/10/port-of-seattle-will-now-require-cloth-face-coverings-for-all-at-sea-tac-airport/?fbclid=IwAR3aKw8SAzmgU4KFZ0nKY5nIDECd2AHQOx-rhbROw6B3d-DMBKvSqcdHRG4

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