Fabric Recommendations for Sewing Homemade Face Masks


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All fabrics are not the same, so which should you choose for your homemade face masks? Of course any fabric face mask is better than none at all, but you can make your masks more effective by choosing the right fabric to begin with.

Experts are testing different materials and some choices are already coming out on top. I’ll share my recommendations below. You can also read this article from the NY Times.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:


Woven cotton fabric (such as quilting cotton) has been found more effective than knit (stretchy) fabric.

If you have high quality quilting cotton available to you, such as the brands that you would buy at a quilt shop, this is the time to use it. I’m not trying to bash the fabrics that you buy at Walmart or other big box craft stores, but truthfully, there is a difference.

High quality quilting cotton costs more because it is more tightly woven. That makes it better at blocking small particles instead of letting them through.

Hold your fabric up to sunlight. If you can see through the threads – it’s not very tightly woven.


Next, did you know that batik fabrics are even more tightly woven than regular quilting cottons?

Batik fabrics are typically made in Indonesia and are decorated with a traditional process using hot wax and dye. The process requires very tightly woven fabric.


That makes batik fabrics specially suited for applique and other projects that need fabric less likely to fray.

It also makes batik fabrics great for face masks.

I don’t have a lot of batik fabric in my stash, but what I do have, I have been using to make masks using the Olson Face Mask Pattern (I also adjusted it for child sizes).

When I use fabrics that are not batik, I have been careful to select other high quality tightly woven cotton fabrics.

While a double layer cotton masks is probably all that is necessary for those of us who are not in the medical field, I also shared how I have made filters from HEPA fabric for my sister in law who is a hospital nurse.

Thank you for everything you are doing to help our communities! If your local medical providers are asking for homemade fabric face masks, they must really be in need. Let’s help them! In addition, I have put together a list of U.S. hospitals and medical facilities asking for homemade face masks. I also encourage you to check the website of your local hospital (or call them) because there is probably a need right in your own community.

Stay healthy and safe!



Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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    1. Hi Marge –
      I gave all of the filters I made to my sister in law who works at a hospital because I don’t feel they are necessary for regular people like us who are mostly staying at home. A cotton mask with two layers of tightly woven fabric are all I use when going to the grocery store – plus I stay 6 feet away from everyone else! My sister in law did say that she is only planning to use the filters one time each.

      Hope that helps!

  1. Madeleine Young says:

    Do you have a personal favorite line of solid color quilting cotton? Maybe one that holds up in the wash nicely? I’d like to use the best for fabric masks for me and some of my coworkers at the grocery store.

  2. I was able to buy mask tie strings in bulk from Wayne Mills Inc. 1-800-220-8053

  3. How do you feel about using flannel for the masks? I have tons of it for baby blankets and burp cloth.

  4. Eve Braun says:

    AnArticler in my emails from AARP had Chiffon as a very tightly woven cloth and I have incorporated it with the Quilters cotton that I have been using and a finely knit T-shirt fabric against the face. These are lightweight and easier to breathe through. I wash in a lingerie bag and use the Chennille sticks (pipe cleaner) in a sewn channel at the top of the mask over the nose and cheek that can be removed for washing. I do not use the dryer but air dry mine.

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