How to Make a Face Mask With Fabric Ties

A pleated face mask, scissors, and a pin cushion

The Spruce / Stacy Fisher

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 mask
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

If you want to make a reusable mask but you don't have elastic, or maybe you're just looking for a softer touch, then this tutorial is for you. Instead of elastic, you'll create fabric ties and attach them to the mask. The ties are then tied around the wearer's head to secure the mask around the nose and mouth. Since you have the ability to change how tight or loose you'd like the fabric ties, this mask can fit both adults and children. This mask also has pleats, which you could skip, but adds a bit more comfort to the mask.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron


  • 1/4 yard main fabric
  • 1/4 yard lining fabric
  • 1 yard binding fabric


  1. Cut Your Fabric

    Cut a 9" x 6" rectangle of the main fabric and the lining fabric. This will be the face of the mask. Cut two strips of fabric 2 1/2" x 43" for the binding. Set aside the main and lining mask pieces for now.

    Three pieces of fabric cut out on a table
    Stacy Fisher
  2. Make Your Binding

    If you have pre-made binding you can use that here or you can make your own with the strips you cut in Step 1. Here's how you do it.

    1. Fold the strip in half by the long edges with the wrong sides together. Press and then open.
    2. Fold down the top edge of the fabric strip and bring it down to meet the middle line you just creased with your iron.
    3. Fold up the bottom edge of the fabric to meet the top edge.
    4. Fold the strip together just like you did at the beginning.
    5. Repeat with the second fabric strip.
    Fabric folded into quilt binding
    Stacy Fisher
  3. Get Ready to Sew

    Place the main fabric down on your table with the right side facing up. Place the lining fabric on top, right side down. Both pieces of fabric should have their right sides facing each other. Use sewing pins to pin the short sides of the mask.

    Two pieces of fabric pinned together
    Stacy Fisher
  4. Sew the Sides

    Sew along both the short ends of the fabric with a 1/4" seam allowance. Secure your stitches at the beginning and the end to keep the mask secure. Then turn it right side out and give it a nice press with your iron.

    Two pieces of fabric sewn together
     Stacy Fisher
  5. Create a Fold

    Now it's time to create several folds to help you easily mark where the pleats will be added later. Fold the bottom long edge of the fabric up to meet the top. Press.

    Pink and white checkered fabric folded together
    Stacy Fisher 
  6. Finish Folding

    Fold the top edge of the fabric towards the middle, using the pressing line from step four as a guide. Repeat with the bottom edge of the fabric. Press and then open the mask back up. You should have three creases. These are where your pleats will be.

    Pink and white checkered fabric folded together
    Stacy Fisher
  7. Pin the Binding

    Open the binding and tuck the mask fabric rectangle into the folds of the tape so the raw edge of the mask is enveloped by the tape strip. Pin. You'll want to have equal amounts of binding coming off of both sides of the mask, use a ruler to make sure you get it right. Pin the other fabric strip in the same way to the bottom of the mask.

    Binding pinned to fabric
     Stacy Fisher
  8. Attach the Binding to the Mask

    Stitch along the entire length of the bottom long edge of the top binding tape to secure it to the mask, tucking in the ends of the strips as you go. Repeat on the bottom, this time stitching the top edge of the tape. The long edges of the mask piece should now be covered with the binding.

    Binding sewn to a piece of fabric
     Stacy Fisher
  9. Create Pleats

    Fold the fabric of the mask accordion-style to create 1/2" pleats using the pressing lines you made at the beginning as a reference. Pin the sides as you make the pleats so they stay together until you can sew them.

    Pinned pleats on a face mask
    Stacy Fisher
  10. Sew the Pleats

    Sew along the sides to secure the pleats. Repeat on the other side. Be neat with your stitches, these will show on the front of the mask. Your mask is finished!

    Sewn pleats in fabric
    Stacy Fisher

Alternatives to Binding

Instead of making your own binding, you can use pre-made bias binding or quilt binding for the ties. You could also add strips of jersey knit from an old t-shirt instead to secure the mask.

Caring for Your DIY Mask

It's easy to care for your fabric mask. Wash it with your regular laundry to clean after each time you wear it.

Watch Now: Make Your Own No-Sew Face Mask