How to sew a cup-shaped cloth mask

SINGAPORE – I received many enquiries from readers after I wrote about making masks at home with my mother Sheila Khoo, 68, a sewing enthusiast who makes cloth masks to give to friends.

She uses mostly 100 per cent cotton fabric and her mask has a pocket and inner flap to hold the filter – a dried wet wipe. The filter should be changed with every use.

Here is her guide to making a 3D cloth mask.


• DIY mask template 1

• Piece of cardboard to create a cardboard template

• 36cm x 20cm piece of fabric for outer layer of mask (A)

• 2 pieces of 20cm x 12cm fabric for inner layer (B)

• 2 pieces of 19cm x 11cm fabric for inner-layer pocket (C)

• 8cm paper fastener

• 2 pieces of 35cm elastic cloth cord

• Lighter or clear nail polish

• Dried wet wipe (folded into 14.4cm x 10cm)

• Scissors

• Pencil

• Plastic yarn needle or hair pin

• Tacking pins

• Thread

• Sewing machine


1. Cut out the mask pattern.

2. Trace its outline on a piece of cardboard. Cut out the template.

3. Draw lines on the template to indicate the fold for the ear-loop seam (2.5cm from the straight edge) and the fold for the inner-layer seam (6cm from the straight edge).

4. Fold fabric A for the outer layer in two, with right sides facing each other.

5. Place the two pieces of fabric B with right sides facing each other.

6. Place B on top of A, with right edges aligned.

7. Place the template with the curved side on the right. Align the left edges of inner-layer fabric B with the fold for the inner layer on the template.

8. Pin the fabric together.

9. Trace the mask pattern onto the fabric and cut out.

10. Use a pencil to draw an upward-pointing arrow to mark the top side of the mask (the part which will cover your nose and cheeks) on the right side of fabric A and fabric B. Remove the pins.

11. Take each piece of the fabric B, with right side facing down, and make a double fold of 0.5cm each along the straight edge. Sew along the fold to prevent the edge from fraying.

12. Pin the two pieces of fabric B together, right side facing each other. Sew the curved edge together, 0.5cm from the edge.

13. Make three snips along the seam allowance of the curved edge to prevent it from bunching up when you turn it over.

14. Turn the fabric over, with right side facing up. Sew along both sides of the seam, 0.2cm from the seam. Set the inner layer aside.

15. Repeat steps 12 to 14 with fabric A.

16. To create the inner flap of the mask: Take each piece of fabric C, right side facing down, and make a double fold (0.5cm wide) from the edge of the long side. Sew 0.2cm from the edge.

17. Pin the edges of outer-layer A and inner-layer B together, right side facing each other, making sure the top parts correspond.

18. Pin inner-layer C to A, aligning the unsewn edges together.

19. Sew the top part of the mask together, with a 1cm seam allowance, and the bottom part of the mask together, with a 1cm seam allowance.

20. Cut away the excess of fabric C.

21. Make snips along the curved seams to prevent the material from bunching up when turned over.

22. Flip the mask over to the right side.

23. Position the paper fastener inside the mask along the top curved edge. This serves as the nose grip. Use two tacking pins to hold it in place.

24. Stitch along the top curved edge with a seam allowance of 0.75cm.

25. Sew on either side of the paper fastener to hold it in place.

26. Stitch along the bottom curved edge with a seam allowance of 0.25cm.

27. To sew the ear-loop seam, on each side of the mask make a double fold and sew along the inner edge.

28. Use a lighter to lightly burn the ends of the elastic cord to prevent it from fraying. Alternatively, use clear nail polish to coat the ends. Adjust the loops to fit your ears.

29. Use a plastic yarn needle or hair pin to thread the ear loops.

30. Wash and dry the mask before use.

31. Insert a dried wet wipe to serve as a filter.