Making masks from clothing.

Yes, you can reuse fabric from your unused clothing…

Don’t throw away those unwanted cotton or cotton-blend shirts. If they’re made with a  woven fabric, (not knit fabric like t-shirt material), you can recycle them into masks.  Here’s what you need to get out of your fabric source to make one mask that complies with the Ventura Co. requirements.

mask ingredients

How to make the maskshere. (includes downloadable mask pattern piece, instructions and awesome video!)

Mask pattern layout:

  • Wash and dry your shirts on your machines’ highest settings.
  • After the wash/dry is complete, turn the shirt into flat fabric pieces by cutting off parts like cuffs, collars, sleeves and double-fabric areas like yokes and button plackets. Slice open the sleeves at their seam. Press every part flat.
  • Unless the shirt is from a very tall person, it’s going to be hard to find a 40″ long section for the top and bottom ties. So unless you have another source of fabric that has that length, you’ll need to piece your ties together from (2) 20″ long pieces.  (See sketch above.)

This really ugly tall man’s dress shirt with long sleeves had a huge amount of fabric, fully enough for 3 masks (with pieced-together ties).  Here’s our first experiment.


Here’s the pattern layout we did for a smaller shirt with short sleeves. Unlike our first experiment, this shirt was much beloved but unusable due to bleach stains.

back piece



  • After finishing mask, please wash your hands, wipe down your ironing board, and iron the mask(s) on HIGH to help kill germs and put them in ziplock bags (you can put more than one mask in a bag).
  • Learn how to donate your masks to Ventura Co. first responders here.
  • Learn about volunteer/donor opportunities in Ventura Co. (and elsewhere) here.