Which Fabrics are Best for Face Masks?

Which Fabrics are Best for Face Masks?

Luckless UK Face masks in Frida Kahlo and polka dot fabric


In recent months, face masks have become a staple part of our day-to-day lives, and it is advised not to enter most public premises without wearing one. If you are an avid creator of fabric garments, you may be looking to start making your own face masks for yourself, as well as your friends and family. Sewing your own face masks also allows you to show off your own personal style and we are even seeing coordinating face masks with dresses in the fashion magazines! We have previously explained how to make your very own face masks, so we wanted to provide further advice about the specific fabrics that should be used as more guidance is now available from trusted professionals. 

What face mask fabric do professionals recommend? 

According to leading scientific organisation The American Chemical Society or ACS, “Cotton, the most widely used material for cloth masks performs better at higher weave densities (i.e., thread count) and can make a significant difference in filtration efficiencies.”

quilting cotton for facemasks

There are several options for face mask materials, but one of the most popular choices is layered quilting cotton. This is a good choice for face masks as it is much thicker than most fabrics, with a heavier yarn, higher thread count and tighter weave. However, if you do not have access to quilting cotton, other cotton fabrics are a great choice but should be paired with a lining to improve their effectiveness. Two-layer masks perform better than single layer masks for their purpose, as they make it much more difficult for virus particles to pass through both layers. 

Which fabric is best for face mask linings?

cotton poplin for facemasks

The face mask lining is an essential part of the mask, as this is what is going to prevent it from irritating your skin as well as stopping the transmission of any germs, and the linings are often made from cotton poplin. This tightly woven cotton is a great choice because it traps the germs and is often used as a natural lining in other garments. You want to ensure that your lining fabric is of the highest quality, as too many layers of fabric will only provide minimal improvement - so you need something that is strong and breathable but still effective. 

Here at Fabrics Galore, we have a wide range of cotton poplins available, in a selection of plain colours - which would be great for face mask linings - as well as more novelty cotton prints for the outward facing side of the mask. 

If you are looking for an alternative to cotton poplin for face mask linings, interfacing fabric is also another great choice. This type of material is often used as an additional layer for the inside of garments, such as collars, cuffs, waistbands and pockets, helping to add firmness, shape, structure, and support to the clothes. It was actually shown that face masks which incorporate interfacing were found to stop up to 60 per cent of particles, so this would be an excellent choice for a homemade face mask. 

Interfacing fabric for facemasks

Fabric face masks better for the environment

One of the biggest issues with disposable face masks is the amount of waste when they are disposed of irresponsibly - we have all seen the pictures of birds with the elastic trapped round their feet. However, by creating your own fabric designs, this is so much better for the environment - especially if you are using more sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton. The fabric varieties can be washed and reused multiple times, preventing landfill in the countryside and ocean. If you have little ones, the masks can even be customised and labelled for school accordingly for each of your children - so you don’t need to worry about them being mixed up. 

Do you want to make Christmas face masks? 

christmas cotton for facemasks

As Christmas is fast approaching, you may be looking to do some festive crafting for December - so why not design your own Christmas face masks? Here at Fabrics Galore, we have a wide range of festive prints which would be perfect to not only get in the Christmas spirit, but also keep yourself and others around you, safe. The Christmas fabrics we have available are mostly made from cotton, so try to stick to this naturally breathable material when making your face masks. This is to ensure it is effective at stopping germs, but also breathable for the wearer. You could even design your own Santa hat to match the mask - the possibilities are endless! 

Purchasing face mask fabrics from our store or online

If you would like to learn more about our range of fabrics suitable for face masks, you are more than welcome to telephone us on 020 7738 9589 or visit our online store. You can also sign up to our free newsletter, where you can discover our latest fabrics available at Fabrics Galore.

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Welcome to the Fabrics Galore London online store, packed full of beautiful fabrics to inspire your next dressmaking, patchwork quilting, craft or home furnishing sewing project. We stock a huge range of different materials alongside designer fabrics from Liberty, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely, Laura Ashley, William Morris and Alexander Henry. We source the highest quality fabrics, so whether it be a cotton, linen, viscose, chambray, jersey or wool, we have you covered.Check out our dressmaking fabric for something with drape, fabulous Liberty cotton lawn prints, quilting fabrics for patchwork inspiration or the home furnishing section to pimp your pad. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get sewing!

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