Know Your Fabrics, Sewing Inspiration & Ideas
Posted: April 04, 2020

Sew Your Own Face Mask - UPDATED JANUARY 2021

Sew Your Own Face Mask - UPDATED JANUARY 2021

The Remnant Warehouse Guide To Sourcing Materials & Information for Making Masks


Please do your research before you arrive.

We ask that you come in knowing exactly what you need as we need to limit the amount of time spent in store. We ask that any accompanying persons (husbands, wives, friends, kids etc) wait outside while you shop. Our staff won't be able to guide you through each step of making a mask and what fabrics you will need, as everything that you need to know about making masks can be found online through this post, as well as many other sewing websites. We will be able to point you in the direction of where to find our cotton fabrics and which elastics are available for purchase, but for all other information you can find it in this post.

Better yet, you can order everything that you need online and either have it delivered or pick up in store with Click and Collect.

Sew Your Own Face Mask

Most of the face masks that are being made ask for patchwork cottons, as these are a high quality 100% cotton fabric with a tight weave. The tight weave is important, as it provides greater protection than a loosely woven fabric.

Recent DHHS recommendation of 'waterproof outer layer': In a perfect world, yes, a waterproof outer layer would be ideal, however, most of the waterproof fabrics available in Australia aren't specialised for this purpose. By design, most waterproof fabrics aren't breathable. We advise against using our stock service waterproof fabrics, like the Oxford Waterproof or Waterproof Polyester for masks.

We do have one fabric that is waterproof and may be more breathable than the others if you are insistent on using a waterproof outer layer. This is a cotton blended fabric, and is available in just one colour: (Water Resistant) Cotton Blend- Tobacco. As always, we recommend ordering a sample first to see whether it might be suitable for you.

Most customers have found 2 layers of a finely woven cotton fabric (patchwork cottons fit this description) to be the most comfortable. Others have used 3 layers and been perfectly happy with this, while some feel that it is harder to breath through 3 layers. We suggest experimenting for yourself to see what is most comfortable.

There are a few variations of the mask patterns, we've listed 3 popular styles & tutorials below.

NOTE: these masks are not a replacement for medical grade surgical masks. The Remnant Warehouse sells fabrics for crafts, fashion and homewares, and cannot make recommendations for the use of these fabrics for health preservation or treatment.

Here are 3 styles of Face Masks that you can make at home.

Mimi G Style - Face mask with elastic around the head:

This mask has a video tutorial and the link to print the pattern is in the video description. This mask style is shaped to the face and the elastic goes around the back of the head and the neck. Some people find this mask more comfortable to wear for longer periods than the ear elastic masks.

Erica Arndt - Pleated face mask with ear elastic:

Another mask with a video tutorial and the link to print the pattern is in the video description. This pleats in this mask allow it to expand as needed over the . Some people find this mask more comfortable to wear for longer periods than the ear elastic masks.

Craft Passion - Face mask in several sizes with elastic around the head and optional nose wire & filter:

This is perhaps the most comprehensive mask, as it comes in multiple sizes and has several options for including a filter, bias tape and nose wire. The shape is similar to the Mimi G mask and shaped to the face, with a few more options.


100% Cotton Fabrics for Face Masks

Patchwork cottons are recommended for all 3 styles of masks. We have over 2000 patchwork cottons available online, but we have sorted these by colour and print, and you can also sort by price. Instructions below to help you find what you're after.

Finding patchwork cottons by print style, or by colour

On a computer, hover over the Quilting Fabrics menu option, then scroll down to where the Patchwork Cottons by Print / Pattern options are, or the Patchwork Cottons by Colour are. Select the menu option you desired.

On a mobile, toggle the main menu (three lines) button in the top right hand corner, tap on Quilting Fabrics, then scroll down the menu to where the Patchwork Cottons by Print / Pattern are, or the Patchwork Cottons by Colour are. Tap the menu option you desire.

Video example below

Finding low cost patchwork cottons

If you're looking to make many and need the most affordable fabrics, here are 2 suggestions

1. Head over to our Patchwork Clearance category. Go to Clearance - Clearance Cottons & Quilting

Video example below

2. Filter all patchwork cottons by price

Go to Quilting Fabrics - All Patchwork Cottons. When that page opens, click the arrow next to where it says 'Sort By' to Price. It will then show the products in order of price.

Video example below

Looking for plain coloured patchwork cottons?

We have a large range of plain colour patchwork cottons, click here for plain coloured patchwork cottons, or find them under Quilting Fabrics - Quilter's Cottons


Elastic for Face Masks

Most narrow elastic could do the trick, but for greatest comfort it's better to go with a thinner elastic (2mm - 8mm wide). Our braided elastic and bungee cord elastic have been the most popular picks for face mask elastic.

We've put together our recommendations for elastic best suited for masks below, but there are hundreds more in our Elastic section online that could also work.

A MAXIUMUM OF 30M PER ELASTIC APPLIES due to the current shortage. There are no exceptions to this. We understand that there are many charitable and noble efforts making masks for vulnerable members of the community, however, these limits will still apply. We ask that you consider these members of our community and only purchase what you need when you need it.


We are continuing to get elastic in as we can, but we don’t always know what is coming in or when. The best thing to do is to go online and order what you can with what is currently available there (up to 30m per elastic). If one of the elastics that you want is out of stock, just put your email in the box to subscribe to stock notifications on the product page, that way as soon as we receive any more stock available to order you will instantly receive an email notification.

Interfacing for Face Masks

A lot of the mask patterns work without interfacing, while others do suggest it as an option.

I personally prefer the masks without interfacing, as I like using natural fibres, like 100% cotton where possible. There has been a mixed bag of interfacing recommendations, most of them pointing to a non-woven interfacing (which is 100% polyester). Some have been using sew in interfacing, and other using iron on. None of the interfacings that we sell have been manufactured or certified for medical use, as they have been produced for the fashion & craft industries. That's not to say that they aren't being used for temporary interim masks, but we are not experts on the matter, and we can't advocate the use of fashion interfacing for face masks. Another thing to keep in mind is that the majority of our interfacings have come in as designer remnants, so they have been in studios, ateliers and warehouses before making their way to us. Me personally, I would stick to the 100% cotton masks, but if you wish to have a look at interfacing, head to our Interfacing section under Basics - Interfacing.

Some customers coming in store have advised that they have just been using a tissue or even a cut up coffee filter that is removable and disposing each day, using a mask design that allows the filter or tissue to be easily removed. There is a lot of ideas and discussion available online, just google search or reach out to a group or some friends on Facebook - you won't need to go too far to find someone who has made some or tried different options.

If you still have questions regarding our stock, please refrain from phoning the store, simply submit your enquiry on this form and we will get back to you as soon as we can: Contact Us

From the team at The Remnant Warehouse, we hope you are all keeping safe and well