Facemasks: how to make them

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Posted: April 08, 2020

This article is for the more adventurous who’d like to make their own facemasks. We start with how to fold one up with a bandana and rubber bands (in a pinch) and then we proceed to making a very basic mask and we end on how to make a fashionable high end mask. If this is all too much work for you, see our article about how to buy masks in Nairobi.

How to fold a simple face mask from a bandana (no sew)

You will need:

A bandana or a cloth of choice

2 hair ties


  • Fold the bandana or cloth vertically until you are left with a piece of cloth big enough to cover your face
  • Put the hair ties around both ends of fabric and move them to the centre
  • Take one end of the bandana and tuck it into the other end
  • To wear the mask, put the bandana to cover your nose and mouth and put hair ties behind your ears.
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How to make a functional face mask

You will need:

A piece of cloth

Sewing machine


Bonding wire


  • Measure the piece of cloth to cover both your nose and mouth and from one cheekbone to the next
  • Cut the cloth, fold some pleats into it and pin them in place
  • Sew the fabric as pinned on both ends
  • Measure 1.75 inches of the remaining cloth and sew on the length of the fabric leaving some room for the bonding wire on the top side of the mask
  • Insert the bonding wire on the open side and sew around it to secure it
  • Cut two 8 inch pieces of elastic to sew on the sides
  • Sew the elastic on the sides
  • Cut excess thread and the mask is ready for use
  • To try it on, secure the elastic bands behind your ears and make sure the bottom part of the mask moves past your chin.

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How to make a high end, fashionable facemask by Mimi G

You will need:

A sewing machine

A printable pattern; get one here

Two pieces of cotton clothing fabric (one for the lining) that are closely knitted together

8 to 10 inches of elastic


Safety pin


  • Cut 2 individual pieces of both the lining and outer fabric using the printable pattern as a guide. For your lining, use the shorter indicated length and for the outer fabric use the slightly longer one.
  • Match the 2 pieces of similar fabric right sides facing each other and pin them to secure their shape
  • Backstitch the front ends of both fabrics separately using the sewing machine or by hand giving a quarter inch seam allowance
  • Press both your seems together with your iron box, right sides facing and align the seam lines and pin the top and bottom sides
  • Backstitch across the top and bottom leaving a quarter inch seam allowance
  • Turn the joint fabric right side out and press again using your iron box.
  • Fold half of the outer fabric on both sides, press with your iron box then fold again and press again
  • Stitch along both sides of the edges leaving enough space for your elastic to pass through
  • Fold the fabric into two and press with your iron box
  • Measure elastic that will cover your head comfortably
  • Attach the pin to one side of your elastic and sift it through the ends starting on one side and leaving a tail end and finishing on the other side also leaving a tail
  • Overlap the tails by half an inch and then stitch using zigzag pattern
  • Your face mask is now ready!
  • To try it on, pass both the top and bottom elastics through your head. Have the top elastic sit on your head and the bottom on your neck.

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