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My goodness how the world has changed in only one month!!!!

I don’t need to go into what is happening, you KNOW all the details! And, you know that as quilters and sewers we have been making fabric face masks for our families, for friends and to be donated to hospitals and other health care facilities.

Along with many, many other quilters /sewers I too, have been making masks. Here are just a few that I have made. Click on any photo for a larger view.

I started making masks that had the elastic, but when I wore them, the elastic was too short and my ears hurt after only a few minutes. So I began making masks with ties on them. They are MUCH more comfortable and are adjustable too!

I came up with my own version of the fabric face mask which is easy to sew up.

It does take a bit of pressing, but that isn’t hard to do.

Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this fabric face mask. For a pdf version Click Here

Note – the following instructions have a lot of photos

Fabric Needed

Outer Fabric and Ties 1/4 yard of cotton fabric. Any type of print / pattern will work.
Note – You will need the full 40 inch width of the fabric. You could use a Fat Quarter, but you will have to piece the fabric tie strips together.

Lining Fabric – 1 – 8 x 7 inch piece of lining fabric. I used a light color or light color print.
Note – 1/4 yard of lining fabric will make up to 5 pieces of lining for 5 face masks.


Outer fabric and ties –

Cut 1—8 inch x width of fabric (wof) strip.

From this cut – 1 – 8 inch x 7 inch piece of fabric.

From the remaining strip of 8 inch wide fabric, cut into 4 – 2 inch strips. These strips will be about 32 – 33 inches long. You will need 2 of these strips for the ties for one face mask.

You can get creative and mix and match the extra fabric strips and use them to make more face masks. All you need are 2 – 8 x 7 inch pieces of fabric to go with the extra ties! Any strips that are left over will go into the quilting scrap bag.

To make one mask you will need –

1 – 8 x 7 inch piece of print (outside) fabric, 1 – 8 x 7 inch piece of light colored (lining) fabric,
2 strips of 2 inch x 32 – 33 +/- inches of fabric for the ties.

Make the Pleats

Place the printed fabric and the lining fabric WRONG sides together on the ironing board and press them together.

Mark for the pleats – I prefer to do this on the lining fabric so I can see my marks.

The 8 inch edges are the top and bottom and the 7 inch edges are the sides.

Starting at the bottom (straight) edge, begin measuring UP and make marks on BOTH sides edges.

Make a mark at 1-1/2 inches, 2-1/2 inches, 4 inches and 5-1/2 inches. See photo below.


Hold BOTH pieces of fabric together and treat them as one piece.

Fold right sides together along the 2-1/2 inch line and PRESS. HARD!! Hold the iron and steam that fold in place!!! Do the same thing on the 4 inch line and the 5-1/2 inch line.

You will have 3 pressed folds that go across the fabrics from side to side.

Bring the fold at the 2-1/2 inch line down to the marked 1-1/2 inch lines. This will create a pleat. PRESS HARD along this pleat/ fold.

If your ironing board has a padded surface, you may want to put pins at the side edges to hold the pleat(s) in place.

Bring the fold at the 4 inch line down to 1/2 inch ABOVE the first pleat. You should be able to feel the (back) edge of the fold that is under the first pleat. Have the pressed edge of the new fold against that fold. PRESS HARD along this pleat/ fold.

I know, this is as clear as mud! Don’t worry, when you feel it, you know what I am talking about!

Bring the fold at the 5-1/2 inch line down to 1/2 inch ABOVE the second pleat. You should be able to feel the (back) edge of the fold that is under the first pleat. Have the pressed edge of the new fold against that fold. PRESS HARD along this pleat/ fold. You now have 3 pleats.

Remove the pins from the ironing board and place them on the pleats you made.

The mask should measure 8 x 4 inches.

Pressing the Ties

We need to press the 2 – 2 inch x 33 +/- inch strips of fabric as if they were bias tape.

Here is a link to a video that shows how you can do this with needles or long straight pins on your ironing board.


If that isn’t working for you, you can press the strips as shown below.

Note – I am using a smaller strip of fabric so you can see things better. You will do this for the whole length of the tie fabric strips.

Step 1 – fold the strip in half lengthwise, WRONG sides together and press.

Step 2 – Open the pressed strip and fold about 3/8 inch of the bottom edge up towards the center fold. Press in place.

Step 3 – Turn the strip 180 degrees and press up about 3/8 inch on the other long edge. Leave a little space open along the center of the strip.

Step 4 – Fold wrong sides together and press again.

You now have the ties for your face mask folded as if they were bias tape.

Cut the Ties

Take one of the pressed ties and cut off a 5 inch piece. From the other pressed tie, cut off a 5 inch piece. 

DO NOT cut both of these pieces from only one tie. That will make the (longer) tie too short!

Make the Mask

Mask Sides

Step 1—Take one 5 inch tie, open it up and place the right side of the tie on the WRONG side of the mask.

Stitch with a straight stitch, slightly inside of the first fold from the raw edge. Click on the photo to see the stitching.

Step 2 – Turn the mask over and fold the tie up as shown in the photo below.

Step 3 – Fold the tie OVER the raw edge of the mask. The folded edge should cover the previous stitching line.

Step 4 – Stitch close to the folded edge. I prefer to use a 3 step zig zag stitch or serpentine stitch. You can straight stitch this line or use a decorative stitch. Trim the edges of the side ties even with the top and bottom edge of the mask. Click on the photo to see the stitching line.

Repeat Steps 1 – 4 on the other side raw edge of the mask. Both side edges are now covered with the tie fabric.

Fold the side edges together and mark the top and bottom center of the mask with straight pins.

Top and Bottom Ties

Step 1 – Take one long tie and open it up and find the middle and mark with a pin.

Step 2 – With the wrong side of the mask facing UP, match the (right side) middle of the tie to the middle of the mask. Pin in place. Pin again at the mask side edges. Click on the photo to see the pins.

Step 3 – Stitch with a straight seam just above the first fold from the mask raw edge. Back stitch at the start and stop. Click on the photo to see the stitching line.

Step 4 – Turn the mask over and fold the tie up and then over the mask raw edge, just like you did on the sides. When the tie is in position, begin stitching, back stitching at each end of the mask. Keep the tie folded and continue stitching with a straight, serpentine or other decorative stitch all the way to the end of the tie.

Step 5 – Rotate the mask and go back to the start of your stitching line. Begin stitching where you started before and continue stitching until you are at the end of the tie. This tie is now completely attached to the mask.

Repeat Steps 1 – 5 with the other tie on the remaining raw edge of the mask.

Your fabric face mask is now complete!

Grandson Nathan and Son-in-Law Albert, wearing masks that I made for them!

I hope you enjoy making fabric face masks from these instructions. Let’s hope we don’t have to wear the masks for a long time!

Please send any photos of masks you have made from my instructions.

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