April 17, 2020

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

A person sitting at a sewing machine to sew masks.


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

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.

UPDATE 06/16: Due to your requests for smaller youth sizes, we have come up with three different scaled down patterns; please share your feedback in the comments as to which size of pattern you think works best for which age groups. IMPORTANT: Make sure to read the CDC guidelines on cloth face masks and cloth face masks for youths. Per CDC guidelines, children under the age of 2 should not wear face masks.

Download the pattern for our 85% of the ORIGINAL (Small/Medium) Size Reusable Cloth Face Mask here.

Download the pattern for our 80% of the ORIGINAL (Small/Medium) Size Reusable Cloth Face Mask here.

Download the pattern for our 75% of the ORIGINAL (Small/Medium) Size Reusable Cloth Face Mask here.


Rachel has created a great YouTube video that demonstrates how to add a filter pocket to our Reusable Cloth Face Mask pattern. Watch the video here.

Note: Rachel's video demonstrates the use of a paper towel or coffee filter as a mask filter, which are suitable face mask filters. You may have seen reports elsewhere online of folks using HEPA or HVAC or other industrial filters, which can potentially contain fiberglass or tiny plastic particles that can cause permanent lung damage. Do your research on filters and make sure the filter you are using will not harm you.


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!


        Creative Commons License
        V1 Reusable Cloth Face Mask Pattern by TOM BIHN, INC. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
        Based on a work at https://www.tombihn.com/blogs/main/maskhowto.
        Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://www.tombihn.com/blogs/main/maskhowto.


        Barbara Robb - March 23, 2021

        This was only the second pattern I tried for homemade masks. I won’t be looking any further. this pattern is GREAT, easy to use, the “how to” videos are very helpful. I am very grateful, thank you TomBihn, for your generosity! So far, I have made 20 masks in about 8 hours. That is quick for me. But more importantly, I am not frustrated and annoyed after the effort. That shows just how great the pattern is.

        Allison - September 23, 2020

        I have now made masks from all five printable pattern pieces available on this page. I’m an occasional quilter, so I had an abundance of good quilting cotton fabric on hand already. It took me a while to get my hands on nice 1/8 inch soft white elastic, but definitely worth the search.
        My boyfriend prefers to wear a Large size to accommodate his beard, and I go back and forth between a Large and a Regular. Some days I feel like the Large works better with my glasses and doesn’t need any fussing, some days the Large feels overly large on my face and I regret it.
        I fold my fabric so that there are two layers, and then place the pattern pieces over top and cut using a rotary cutter. I find weights (any small object hefty object within reach) easier than pins for keeping the paper pieces in place while I cut.

        I love that I can make my own masks at home. They cost me less than $1/mask in materials, and I can use all kinds of pretty and colorful fabrics to make it a little more fun.

        MIchelle - September 10, 2020

        I’m using cut up t-shirts for my ear pieces. I aim for about 1/2 inch wide then pull on it so it rolls in on itself. Since I’ve found ear loop lengths to be quite variable between my friends, I make the loop long and thread a pony bead over it to allow for adjustments.

        Miranda - August 31, 2020

        For my 3.5 year old, an 80% mask with 7 inch elastic, sewn with a quarter-inch seam allowance, fits perfectly. My 9.5 year old daughter fits a S/M with 7.5 elastic, my 13-year old fits a Large size with 7.5 inch elastic, and I (43 year old female) needed the Large with 8.5 inch elastic. I couldn’t make any size fit my husband well. Hope this helps someone else figure out sizing! These masks are super quick to make, so I just fit them by trial and error. Great patterns!

        Coleen - August 26, 2020

        Instead of leaving open for a filter, I cut 2 each of 1/2 of the pattern out of light weight cotton quilt batting and sewed it to the wrong side of the piece the elastic is sewn to. Gives a nice breathable permanent filter layer. An edge stitch around the whole mask prevents any bunching with washing.
        Thanks for the great pattern!

        Leave a Comment

        Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

        We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.