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The Best 9 Fabrics for Comfortable & Breathable Face Masks

best fabric for face masks

With face masks becoming the latest accessory for travelling, shopping or running errands, why not have a go at sewing your own? There are a huge range of face mask tutorials online which will allow you to sew your own face masks. You could even make a batch for all your family. Obviously, a face mask needs to be soft, comfortable – and most importantly – breathable. So it’s a good idea to get some information about what the best fabrics for face masks are before you dive in.

Why Sew Your Own Face Mask?

There are a huge range of face masks on the market at the moment. However, sewing your own ones allow you to show off your own personal style.

It’s also good to have a face mask spare, as it is advised to wash your fabric face masks after every use. So keeping a good batch at home is a great idea for making sure you have enough. Instead of going out and buying more, you could save money and sew your own.  

Best Fabrics for Face Masks

As we said earlier, your face mask fabric needs to be soft and breathable; something that isn’t going to irritate the skin on your face. Not sure where to start? Here are the best fabrics for face masks to help you find the perfect choice for you.

All of our fabrics can be custom printed with your designs and are ready to ship in 1-2 days. Then all you’ll need is a stable hand, some thread and elastic for the ears.

Airflow Light

is airflow the best fabric for face masks

Like the name might give away, Airflow Light fabric is a superbly breathable material, making it one of the best fabrics for face masks. The material has a honeycomb surface which allows the wearer to stay cool while wearing it and keeps clean air flowing through.

Heavy Matte Lycra

lycra fabric for face covering
Heavy Lycra Matte

Heavy Matte Lycra is made from a combination of polyester and elastane. It is slightly thicker than your typical Lycra and is known to be bacteria resistant. It’s one of our best fabrics for face masks. Please note: This doesn’t mean it will stop you getting COVID-19, it is more about reducing the spread. The fabric also offers basic UV protection. Lycra typically hugs the body and moulds well. If you would like a looser mask, it might be best to add another layer of cotton to the back for additional structure.


softshell for fabric masks

Softshell fabric is similar to scuba fabric. It has a super smooth face and a soft, brushed back – making it incredibly comfortable to wear. It is surprisingly breathable and moulds well to the body but always returns to its original shape.


Jersey is a superb poly-based spun yarn fabric which is both strong and stretchy. Great for all weather conditions, the quick dry material is ideal for sewing your own face mask to use when the weather is a bit rubbish. Jersey typically has a cotton feel and long-lasting matte print characteristics. Jersey is also quite crease resistant. So it’s perfect for sewing face masks to roll up and keep in your bag.

Jersey Options:

Chain Jersey has a parallel cording which creates indents and relief on the fabric. This texture is where the fabric gets its ‘chain’ name. The material is really breathable and comfortable for the body.

chain jersey for face covers
Chain Jersey

Rox Sports Jersey is a heavier fabric with a weft knit. The texture is smooth, flat, and unbelievably soft. Despite having a thick drape, it is a super breathable material – making it one of the best fabrics for face masks. Rox Sports Jersey is typically used for athleisure and gives great stretch.

rox jersey fabric
Rox Jersey

Olympic Sports Jersey is a quick drying fabric with a pin-hole surface effect that’s perfect for making breathable garments. Typically used for sports, this lightweight jersey is perfect for anyone looking to use their mask during high-intensity sports or outdoor activities.

breathable olympic jersey
Olympic Jersey

Quilted JerseyAt Contrado, we make our custom face masks from quilted jersey fabric. Created with a tightly knitted face, there is an extra layer of wadding between. This helps to create the quilted look which makes your face mask looks professionally made and fashionable. The material is water absorbent , too. Printing your quilted jersey fabric for face masks will have a slight off white shaded backdrop due to the natural colour of the material.

best fabric for face masks: quilted jersey
Quilted Jersey


Cotton Linen is made from a natural cotton and linen blend with a textured feel. It is cool and smooth to the touch – making it a great choice for face masks. The material holds its shape well and is slightly stiffer than other cottons.

cotton linen for face masks
Cotton Linen

Cotton Twill has a distinctive weave which is perfect for making fashionable garments and light upholstery. It is a beautifully soft fabric that feels comfortable on the skin but has a stiffer drape – making it a great fabric for face masks and clothing. Printing on cotton twill will have a creamy, muted white tone which adds a little character to your face mask.

cotton twill fabric
Cotton Twill

Feeling inspired to sew your own face masks? Why not get started by ordering one of our fabric swatch packs? You will get a feel for all our different fabrics. Once you’ve chosen your favourite one, we can print your chosen designs. Your fabric will be with your in a matter of days from your order and then you’re all set to get creative.

100 fabric swatch pack

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