Fabric choices for home-sewn masks in light of COVID-19

Well, I haven’t found myself writing a tutorial in a long time.

Drew got me going with researching fabrics and patterns after he came across some good information about home-sewn masks. Earlier today I posted a little experimentation done with fabrics to ensure that they can be sterilized – you can find that post below. I’ll follow up this post with the two styles mask I’ve made, and the modifications for each.

I’ve been doing a deep dive the last couple days about fabric for face masks. This is what I’ve come up with, with some tests: Reading these articles (among MANY others):



*edit – the original article I had here evaporated*

This article – especially if you click through to read about the fabrics used – has similar information to the original one. The fabric information sheet is here
And this one about how surgical masks are made

informed some testing.

The attached photos are prewashed, boiled for 10 minutes (to sterilize) and dried on hot, with no shrinkage.

Two samples of sewn fabric, described in the text following.

Fabrics are (black) polypropylene bag fabric with lining of 2 layers, 4 layers, 6 layers of polypropylene frost cover fabric (remay), and a final sandwich layer of bag fabric.

Dot fabric sample is prewashed 100% cotton with lining of 2 layers, 4 and 6 layers of polypropylene frost cover (remay) fabric and a final sandwich layer of the same cotton.

fabric samples in boiling water

The big difference between them is in how long they took to dry – no surprise, the cotton took longer.

I’m going to make up masks now from each using a standard 3 pleat mask pattern, with a modification for the nose piece that Drew’s been 3D printing. The advantage of the 3-D printed piece is that its heat form-able, and will not have to be readjusted (read: you won’t touch your face) once it has been heat formed to fit an individual person.

Fabric samples washed and dried, as described in text. They show no shrinkage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *