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They say that necessity is the Mother of invention and I have to say I agree! Today when I read the New York Times daily newsletter I saw there were instructions for making masks to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. The CDC is now suggesting that masks for everyone out in public is a good idea. I know they couldn’t hurt. Here’s How to Make a Mask from a T-Shirt!

But the problem, as with the meds and ventilators, is there aren’t any to be ordered. So my first default was to buy some bandanas. Unfortunately, these were sold out at Amazon. My next idea was to buy a sewing machine and make some masks for my family. Again I was stymied because the sewing machines were sold old at JoAnn’s fabric stores! Enter Mr. G.Q. He thought we should just wait until the supply is restored because lots of companies are busily producing them.

Not good enough for me. So he suggested we cut up a man’s T shirt. I thought that was a great idea. He wanted to cut the shirt up lengthwise but I wanted to go widthwise on the T shirt to be able to get long enough straps. In the end we compromised. I will show you step-by-step below. But the gist is we made two width-wise with all-in-one attached straps and two from the remnant lengthwise pieces that attach via Velcro! See what you think. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions for improvement. The reason why the T shirt is a good base is that the knit doesn’t unravel easily, so it’s more likely to stay useful longer by not fraying apart.

Here’s what we did:

How to Make a Mask from a T-Shirt

We started with Mr. G.Q.’s medium sized men’s T shirt laying smoothly on the counter. Right under the armpits we cut a straight horizontal line across the shirt leaving a black tube piece and a piece containing the top yoke of the shirt.

Next we cut the tube piece in half into two pieces, (cutting across the shirt).

Now was the actual mask creation. First, I cut through one side of the tube (see where the scissors are placed in this photo above) thus making a long strip of flat fabric. I had read that the mask part should be approximately 9.5 inches wide and 6.5 inches high. And the ties should be about 15-16 inches long. So I effectively cut an “H” out of each end of the long strip.

That’s it for the basic mask. You’ll get two of these out of a man’s medium T shirt.

Next we made two a little more complicated masks out of the yoke. Here’s how:

First we cut across the armpit seams to open up the fabric into a longer piece.

Then we cut open the shoulder seam.

Then we cut off the neck band.

Now we have two completed tie masks and two “band masks” that are almost done.

This step because we used a black T shirt is a bit difficult to see but what we did is we applied a piece of Velcro on one side of the strip and on the other end and the reverse side of the fabric we attached another strip of Velcro. Because the mask will taken on and off repeatedly, we stapled the Velcro in place as well as used the self-adhesive of the strips. The placement of the Velcro depends on the size of the head of the person wearing it. So put on one side an then stretch the mask across your nose and mouth, trying to best assess where the second strip should go. Voila! Four masks! What do you think? Pretty neat, huh? Who knew where lifestyle blogging would lead!!!

Here I am wearing each mask, front and back. I prefer the tie one as it’s easier to adjust. Both will work.

Let me know your thoughts and ideas!

Stay safe!


Dr. Julie

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