How to Sew a Basic Face Mask

Two sewn face masks laying on a table

The Spruce / Stacy Fisher

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 mask
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

If you're able to sew in a straight line, then you can sew a basic face mask. This is a great face mask sewing pattern for those new to sewing or those who need a refresher, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make. The free basic mask pattern is available in three sizes that can fit children and adults.

Follow these steps to sew this easy face mask.

Tip

Keep in mind that your mask should ideally be made of at least two layers of washable, breathable fabric.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

Materials

  • 1/4 yard Cotton fabric
  • 1 1/2 foot 1/4-inch-wide elastic

Instructions

  1. Cut Your Fabric

    This mask can be made in a few different sizes. Here are the fabric pieces you'll need to cut depending on which size you'll be making:

    • Adult (fits most): 9 inches by 6 inches (cut 2)
    • Child: 7 inches by 5 inches (cut 2)
    • Extra large: 9 inches by 7 inches (cut 2)
    Two pieces of fabric with scissors and a pin cushion
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher
  2. Cut Your Elastic

    Cut two lengths of elastic that are 7 inches long each, regardless of the size of mask you are making.

    Two pieces of elastic laying on top of floral fabric
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher
  3. Pin the Elastic Onto the Fabric

    Lay one of your pieces of fabric right side up on a table. Take one of your elastics, and pin it to the short ends of the fabric about 1/2 inch from the top and bottom edge. Repeat with the other side.

    Elastic pinned to floral fabric
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher
  4. Get Ready to Sew

    Place the other piece of fabric right side down on top of the fabric piece that already has the elastic pinned to it. The two pieces of fabric should be right sides together. Pin to secure.

    Two pieces off fabric pinned right sides together
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher
  5. Sew the Mask

    Sew around the rectangle with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. You'll be creating a loop with the elastic, so be sure to only sew the edges of the elastic into the edge of the rectangles and not into the whole seam allowance on the sides. Leave a 2-inch gap on one of the long sides for turning.

    Two pieces of fabric sewn right sides together
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher

    Tip

    Sew over where the elastic is sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric a few times. This will make sure the elastic is very securely sewn and won't pop out of the mask.

  6. Turn the Fabric

    Reach inside the fabric rectangle, and turn it right side out. You'll have a rectangle of fabric with two loops of elastic sticking out of the sides. Tuck in the seam allowance from the gap, so your rectangle is even. Press the fabric rectangle with your iron.

    A partially sewn floral face mask on a table
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher
  7. Optional: Add Pleats

    Adding pleats to each side of the face mask isn't necessary, but it will help it fit the contours of your face better. Here's how you do it:

    1. About an inch down from the top of your mask, grab some fabric and fold it up accordion style like you're making a pleat. Pin.
    2. Make two more pleats the same way, pinning to secure them.
    3. Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew the sides of the masks to set the pleats into place.
    Pinned pleats
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher
  8. Finish the Mask

    Topstitch all around the face mask, making sure that you're closing the gap as you do so. Your mask is finished! Loop the elastic around your ears, and cover your nose and mouth with the mask.

    A floral face mask with scissors and a pin cushion
    The Spruce / Stacy Fisher

Fabric Alternatives

Cotton fabric works best for this project. If you can't find cotton fabric, consider cutting up an old shirt or using an extra tea towel.

Elastic Alternatives

If you don't have elastic, you have a couple of options—just remember that these need to be stretchy because they'll be fitting over the ears. You can use rubber bands or loops cut off of tights, leggings, or even socks. Here's a free pattern for a face mask that uses fabric ties instead of elastic.

Caring for Your Mask

It's recommended that you wash your mask after every use. To do so, just throw it in with your laundry, and wash normally as you would the rest of your clothes.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. "How to Wash a Cloth Face Covering." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.