How to make a face covering

Wearing a face covering helps to stop the spread of COVID-19. You can make a face covering easily and cheaply from material that you might already have at home.

Make a face covering in under 10 seconds, without sewing

You will need

  • A clean piece of cotton material, for example a handkerchief, a section of an old t-shirt or a pillowcase cut into a square.
  • Something to make ear loops like hair ties, elastic bands or some string or ribbon tied in a loop.

Steps to make a face covering

Step 1: take your square material

Take a clean piece of cotton material — for example a handkerchief, a section of an old t-shirt or a pillowcase.

Cut into a square, if it's not already.

Step 2: fold the top inwards

Fold it from the top inwards a third of the way down.

Step 3: fold the bottom up

Fold from the bottom inwards, a third of the way up.

You should have an rectangle of material, folded into 3 layers.

Step 4: attach loops

Loop your hair ties or elastic bands over the ends of the folded material.

Leave enough room in the middle to comfortably cover your mouth and nose.

Step 5: fold the edges in

Fold the outer edges inwards.

This adds an extra layer of material over your mouth and nose. It also helps hold the face covering together.

Step 6: put it on

Pick up the face covering by the bands. Loop them over 1 ear at a time.

Wear the face covering with the join against your face.

Summary video

Make your own face covering with just a handkerchief or t-shirt and 2 hair ties.

How to sew your own face covering

You will need

  • Tightly woven cotton fabric, 39 x 19 cm
  • Water-resistant fabric, 19.5 x 19 cm. You can use nylon or polypropylene, for example a running-short fabric.
  • 2 x 20 cm pieces of elastic
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Cotton thread
  • Sewing machine

Steps to sew a face covering

Step 1: cut your cotton fabric for the outer layers

Cut out 2 rectangles from your tightly woven cotton fabric, each measuring 19.5 cm x 19 cm.

Step 2: cut out your middle layer

Cut out a rectangle from the water-resistant fabric for the middle layer, measuring 19.5 cm x 19 cm.

Step 3: cut your elastic

Cut 2 pieces of elastic, each measuring 20 cm long.

Step 4: pin your elastic

Take 1 piece of your cotton fabric, with the side you want facing outwards turned up.

Pin the ends of the elastic to the sides of your fabric. Make a semi-circle with your elastic so it doesn’t catch when you sew it. Pin the elastic in place.

Step 5: lay your fabric together

Lay your pieces of cotton fabric together. Make sure the cotton that will be on the outside of your face covering is turned inwards here.

Lay the water-resistant fabric on top of your cotton fabric. Pin all the pieces together.

Step 6: stitch your fabric together

Stitch your fabric together with a 6 mm seam allowance. Leave a small opening on one side.

Step 7: turn right side out

Turn the fabric right side out and sew a 3 mm seam around the outside to close the opening and finish the edges neatly.

Step 8: gather your pleats

Make 3 evenly spaced folds along the right and left sides of your face covering. Pin these in place.

Step 9: stitch your pleats

To complete your face covering, stitch across the pleats, 3 mm away from your first line of stitching.

Step 10: wash your face covering

Wash your face covering in hot water and detergent, either by hand or in a washing machine. Dry your face covering completely before using it.

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