DIY Face Mask

We are in strange times, and everyone is still kind of processing everything. Hopefully you all are doing well out there and finding things to fill your time with. I am so grateful that my husband and I have been able to keep working. Both of us are working in human services/care. I have been able to transition to working from home and my husband is still going in to work. Initially I wasn’t going to make this into a post. However, with the encouragement from my husband I decided to go ahead with it. There is so much information out there on how to make a DIY face mask, and the one I am making is made to specializations that my husband wants and needs for work.

He works in a long term care facility and has frequent interactions with seniors. One of the things he needs out of his face mask is for it to be made of cotton fabric. Also, to have at least 3 layers and to have different material on the front and back. This way someone can tell the difference between the inside and outside of the mask. We also wanted to make it really comfy around the ears so it can be worn for a long time. Another feature I added to this DIY face mask is a bit of tucking around the nose area to make it fit better.

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I was able to make this mask with scraps that I had from leftover projects. I made two different sizes, a medium size (perfect for me) and a large size which is more appropriate for my husband.

Check out this post on basic sewing terminology for any of the sewing terms in this post.


I have made two different sized DIY face masks. The medium is 8 inches by 10 inches and the large is 8 inches by 12 inches. For each mask you will need to cut three pieces of your given size – one for the outside, one inside and the final is the layer that is next to the mouth. That needs to be a different color. You will also need two hair ties. Where the two ends of the hair ties meet, there is a bit of a hard melted area. Cut on either side of the melted area and this will form a string shape. You will need to do this to two hair ties, one for each ear. You could also use elastic, though I didn’t have any, but I did have extra hair ties.


The next step is to press in three pleats into the mask so it can expand to cover the nose and mouth. To do this I pressed the fabric in half then made three approximately 3/4 inch pleats. The big thing is when you have the pleats folded the short edge of the fabric needs to be 3 and 1/2 inches wide. This took a bit of fiddling but it worked in the end (it doesn’t have to be perfect!) Repeat the process on the other two pieces.

DIY face mask making pleats

Next, stitch close to the edge along the side so the pleats stay in place.

This next step is optional, but I found it was helpful. Take the front piece of the mask and place it right side up. Next, take the hair tie and pin it to the edge of the fabric about 5/8 inch from the edge of the fabric. Make sure the lop is turned in toward the center of the mask. This will make sure when you flip the mask the elastics are on the outside. Stitch the ends of the hair tie carefully down. This is a lot of bulk for the needle to go through, so take it slow. I found it help full to stitch the hair tie down first so it didn’t slip out on me when I was trying to sew it all together.

Putting it together

It is really important to place the pieces in the right order before sewing. Place the top piece down, right sides up with the hair ties pinned down so they don’t get in the way. Next, place in the inside piece (it doesn’t matter what side is facing up) but make sure the pleats are going the same direction of the top piece. Finally, place the back piece right side down and make the pleats go in the same direction. Pin carefully and leave a spot open so you can flip it. I like to double pin where I plan to leave a space open. See the picture below for reference.

DIY face mask layering

Carefully stitch around, back stitching at the start and end, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Carefully flip through the hole that was left and press it with an iron. Finally, stitch around the edge leaving a 1/4 to 1/8 inch seam allowance and close up the hole left to flip.

DIY face mask flipping
DIY face mask

Lastly I folded the fabric back on itself along the edge on either side of the nose about 1/4 inch and stitched along the existing seam. This creates a bit of molding around the nose.

That’s it, a DIY face mask! It took me less time to make (around 15 minutes) the second time. Before giving it to any one make sure you ask about washing instructions. I know that my husband has to hand wash his and leave it at work.

I hope you fount this helpful and that you are saying safe.


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1 year ago

These look so good! I haven’t thought to make it myself

1 year ago

My sewing supplies (including my machine) are all buried in a storage unit. I’m so sad about not being able to make our masks.

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