Free Face Mask Sewing Tutorial w/ Pictures

In the face of COVID-19 I've seen a community of sewists come together to help put a small dent in the nationwide shortage of PPE for our healthcare workers. Whether you are sewing a mask for yourself, for a friend or loved one, or making these masks to donate... thank you for using your skills to help alleviate some of the pressure we are all feeling right now.

I've been sewing masks for friends, relatives, and some local nurses who have requested additional supplies (many are given only one mask for an entire week). It's a small way to feel less helpless (and bust through my fabric stash) during this time spent staying at home.

DISCLAIMER: I make no personal claims to the efficacy of these masks. Making and wearing a fabric face mask is your personal choice.There are a plethora of places where you can research the subject of fabric face masks on the internet (and I hope you do so).



  • Sewing machine

  • Thread

  • Scissors

  • Pins

  • Iron

  • Fabric (high quality, tightly woven 100% cotton or flannel is suggested)

  • 1/4" Elastic (or make your own fabric ties)


Adult Small (ladies)

  • One 8.5" x 15" rectangle of fabric

  • Two 7" long pieces of 1/4" elastic - OR- 4 pieces of 2" x 18" fabric for straps

Adult Medium (men's)

  • One 9" x 16" rectangle of fabric

  • Two 8" long pieces of 1/4" elastic - OR- 4 pieces of 2" x 20" fabric for straps


1. Cut all of your pattern pieces using the details above depending on the size of mask you are making. Note: the photo below shows both elastic AND fabric strips... you will be using one or the other.

2. Fold your large rectangle of fabric in half with right sides facing together so that the short ends meet. Sew a 5/8" seam along the edge (not the fold) to create a tube of fabric.

3. Turn the tube of fabric inside out and iron to reveal your finished seam, we will treat this seam as the "bottom" edge of our face mask.

4. Finish both raw edges on the sides of your tube by folding them in about 1/2" and ironing.

5. Hop on your machine and begin to sew your elastic (or fabric strap... see below) in place by inserting about 1/2" of the raw edge of your elastic (or fabric strap... see below ) into the tube 1/2" from the top of the mask. Don't forget to BACKSTITCH!

6. Continue to stitch down the edge of your fabric, when you get near the "bottom" edge, insert the other end of the secured elastic into the tube and stitch into place. Don't forget to BACKSTITCH! Repeat these steps to secure the other piece of elastic to the opposite side.

Your mask is now ready to pleat and should now look like this:

7. Pleat your mask by creating neat folds in the fabric about 1" apart. Use your iron to make this crease nice and neat and pin your pleat in place right after ironing.

Your mask should feature 3 pinned pleats and look like this:

8. Run your face mask through your machine again for a final stitch (this will keep your pleats in place and help secure your elastic even more). Note: Depending on your fabric choice the pleated sections of fabric can get very thick and will become hard for your feed dogs to move through your machine, sew slowly and help ease your mask through the machine by gently pulling from behind your presser foot. If your needle gets "stuck in place", lift if from the fabric using your hand wheel and reposition the mask so that when you reinsert the needle you are a little bit "forward" from where you were stuck.

9. You are finished! Your face mask should look like this:


To create your straps, cut your 4 fabric strips to size (see details above).

Fold the strip in half along the length of the strip and iron to create a center crease.

Take the raw edges of your strip and fold them in so that the unfinished edge meets or is near the center fold that you created in the previous step. Your piece should look like this:

Now fold the strip in half again so that the neat edges meet each other and your raw edges are hidden inside. Your piece should look like this:

Run the strip of fabric through your sewing machine to finish your strap and repeat for the remaining three straps.

Attach the finished straps to your mask in a similar fashion to how you would attach your elastic, placing the raw edge of the strap inside of the tube and sewing in place. Don't forget to back stitch!

When you have all four straps attached your mask will look like this:

Go back to step 7 above to create your pleats. When your mask is finished it should look like this:


That's it! I know there are a lot of amazing tutorials available for masks right now and everyone will gravitate to a different style and method of construction... this is just my take featuring a few tips I found while sewing to help make the pattern more simple and quick to whip up.

Happy mask making!


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