How to Sew a Simple Fabric Face Mask


  • Tightly woven cotton or alternatives (Batik, cotton duck)
  • ¼” – 1/8” elastic or alternative options (knit jersey cut in strips, self-made fabric straps, or bias tape)
  • Sewing Machine, such as the Brother SE1900
  • Basic cutting and sewing notions


● Fabric: 2 by 6″ x 9″
● Elastic: 2 x 7″ strips
● Fabric Straps: 4 x 20″

Children: Ages 8-13

● Fabric: 5” x 7 ¾”
● Elastic: 6.5” strips

Children: Ages 3-8

● Fabric: 5” x 7”
● Elastic: 6 ¼” strips

Note: Those with smaller faces may find 5.5” x 8.5” to be more comfortable, with the elastic 6 ¾”

Step 1

Pin the elastic to the corners, and baste stitch into place just to secure from moving.

Step 2

Place liner over exterior so that the right sides are together, and pin into place, being mindful of the elastic or straps.
When sewing, leave a 2″ gap at the center bottom or top so you can flip right sides out. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Make sure that the elastic is through the seam allowance. You can even back stitch at the corners a few times to ensure they’re secure.

Step 3

Clip a little bit off the corners, being sure to not go into the stitches or elastic. Flip right sides out through the opening, and press.

Step 4

Topstitch just along the top edges, making sure to secure the opening.

Step 5

● Fold over three even pleats about 1/4″ each starting 1/2″ down, and pin. You need three for each side so remember to make sure they’re even.
● Topstitch folds down using 1/4″ seam allowance.

For the Alternative Jersey String Face Mask

With this variation, you can substitute a basic jersey cotton t-shirt or any knit fabric for the elastic.

Step 1

● Cut strips of “T-shirt string” as an alternative for the elastic straps.
● Measure 1″ strips, and cut. If the knit you are using is thin, you may want to go a bit wider (1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ strips). If it’s a thick knit, you may want to go thinner (about 3/4″). When you pull these strips, they shrink and become stretchy string. You want them to be no smaller than 1/4″ in width once pulled, so you may have to do some testing.

Step 2

Cut 4 x 20″ strips, and repeat the sewing process above.

For the Alternative Fabric Strap/Bias Tape Mask

Another option can be made with fabric straps. You can use bias tape, a bias tape maker, or fabric-made straps.

Step 1

● Cut 1.5” strips (you need 4 x 20″ long)
● Press the sides into the center
● Fold again to create a double-fold strap
● Then topstitch the 2 ends together just along the edge

Step 2

● Create the mask piece without the straps sewn inside
● Stitch 4 x 18” straps just along the corners right sides facing
● Create 3 even folds in between the straps. Pin or use clips
● Flip the straps flat encasing the raw edges
● Topstitch straps and folds into place

Alternatively, you can use a loop turner (this is easier than the folded strap).

● Cut 1 1/4″ wide x 20″ long strips
● Sew right sides together just along the edge
● Flip right side out with the loop turner

Finally, keep in mind that there are many options—and no right or wrong way—to create a homemade face mask. Experiment with different fabrics, colors, patterns, and materials to find the combination that works best for you. For general information on mask making, check out How to Make a DIY Mask.

  1. Cloth face masks have not been proven to provide effective protection against the spread of viruses. Visit the CDC for more information.
  2. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.