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Updated on April 18, 2020

Sewing a reusable fabric face mask is fun and easy. Forget about cutting, when you don't have all the right materials. Especially when purchasing fabrics at this time can only be done online and that would require waiting which doesn't bode well when the inspiration to sew is now now.  However this is when we can look around our home and get a chance to upcycle some materials.  Here we propose alternative materials to the Gauze Pocket,Outer/Lining and Elastic.

Gauze Pocket Alternatives

The most common query we have is finding an alternative to the gauze pocket.  The objective of the gauze pocket is to hold a disposable filter in place. Therefore it can be any thin, light, soft and breathable material.

Muslin / Swaddle

If you have young children at home, you are most likely to have a swaddle tucked in your drawers. Most swaddles are made of a gauze like material called Muslin. They make excellent replacement material as they are soft and light (and pretty too)


Old Clothes with Lining

Try to find some old clothes that comes with lining. Given the fast fashion market, anything with lining is most likely old. Opt for the lining only if you know its made out of cotton. If it feels synthetic or if it is made of polyester and/or nylon, avoid it. These materials are not very breathable. Most lining are light, smooth and thin because one of the roles it plays is to provide the wearer with comfort.


Use your outer/lining material

If you can't find other alternatives, just use the same material as your Outer / Lining fabric. Can't go wrong with that.


Outer / Lining (Densely woven fabric) Alternatives

The filtration mainly happens at these first two layers and hence our pattern recommends densely woven fabric. Below are example of materials you can easily find in your household that fits the profile.

Quilting cottons

Finally your stash of quilting squares are going to come and save the day. Now make matchy quilt dresses and reusable face masks.


Mens' shirting cotton

This is what CYC Tailor is doing with their scraps which are actually very high quality scraps as they make high end apparel. So time to ask the men in your house to surrender their old shirts. Doesn't hurt to encourage them that they can still lose weight but fit into newer clothes instead of that same old one. That one day where they will go back into their heyday size will come.  It will. 


Pillow Case / Bedsheet cotton

Love the prints on your current pillowcase and bedsheets but they are so last year? Well, retire them and save the world.  You now have enough material to make reusable face masks for yourself, your family, your extended family, neighbours and neighbour's neighbour.  You get the drift. Now break out your new bedsheet you have been dying to use shop for that new 3000 thread count bedsheet you have been dying to buy .


Elastic Alternatives

There was a real shortage of elastic bands in Chinatown just before the start of Singapore's circuit breaker as everyone scrambled to get a hold of some. Haberdashery and fabric shops closed but a few (Namely Lye Nai Shiong and Brighton) has opened a week and half later into the circuit breaker as they are now essential services.

DIY ties by upcycling old t-shirt

Upcycle a t-shirt into a continuous yarn. Check it out here. If this t-shirt can put you to sleep, your ears will purrr with comfort.


Hair Ties

Hair ties are prefect because they are comfortable. Thanks to tabao, if you have bought a packet of cute hair ties for your kid, truth is one packet probably has so many it could tie ten pony tails on all her classmates with extra to spare. So make a face mask and put these excesses to good use.


Rubber bands from takeaways

It's not glam but its practical. Enjoy your meal, wash those bands and upcycle them. Link one or two to get your preferred length. This works well for those with short hair as they tend to snag those long luscious locks. 


Elastic shoe laces

Since you are hardly stepping out of the house, you have nothing to lose if you sacrifice the lace of that pair of shoe that happens to have those elastic shoe laces. You could potentially make 3 to 4 sets with a pair.



For those crafty knitters like this awesome lady, knit your ear and head loops away. My, aren't you just so talented to sew and knit. You got it, now's the time to flaunt it!


Stay safe and happy sewing!

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