Making a face mask just got even easier! This DIY face mask minimal sewing method can be made either by a sewing machine or by hand. It’s really a cinch, literally! Instead of pleating, I teach you how to create a comfortable fitting face mask using a new CINCHING METHOD.
This adult face mask has four protective layers and an easy to access filter pocket that is accessed from the bottom of the mask, out of the way from your mouth. The ties are made from upcycled t-shirts which makes this mask comfortable to wear. I have given the measurements for a TEEN AND CHILD MASK as well.
Recycle an old t-shirt or use a cotton piece of fabric to make your mask. I will demonstrate the sewing machine and hand sewing method in this tutorial.
Face Mask Minimal Sewing Method Materials and Items Needed
- FABRIC (14.91 cm) cotton fabric, knit fabric, or upcycled t-shirts (cut 16 ½ x 16 ½ inch)
- SCISSORS/ROTARY CUTTER (OPTIONAL)
- PINS/CLIPS (OPTIONAL) I LOVE THESE FABRIC CLIPS!
- RULER/SEAM GAUGE
- SEWING MACHINE (OPTIONAL-can be sewn by hand)
- BAG TWIST TIES, CRAFT PIPE CLEANERS (If using craft pipe cleaners, cut to 4 inch
- UPCYCLED T-SHIRT/ OR KNIT FABRIC (for the mask ties)
- Safety Pin
- Needle & Thread, if sewing by hand.
Cutting Out Mask
Cut the fabric to the correct measurement for the size.
- ADULT: Fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches (14.91 x 14.91. cm)
- TEEN: Fabric 15.5 x 15.5 inches (39.7 x 39.7cm)
- CHILD: Fabric 14.5 x 14.5 inches (36.83 cm)
Cut off the bottom 16.5 inches of the shirt, LEAVE THE HEM INTACT!
Cut the same width (16.5 wide).
Cut a piece of fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches.
Cutting Out Ties
The beauty of knit fabric is that it doesn’t fray, and when pulled it will curl. You may be asking why do we want it to curl? When it curls it creates a little tube, like an enclosed tie, but you don’t have to sew it to keep it that way like you would a woven fabric.
If you don’t have any knit fabric or T-shirts to make ties with, I found a great resource where you can purchase this stuff already made. It’s called “FARMYARN”. This yarn is made from recycled lycra fabric that is REALLY stretchy and durable. It’s like elastic and can be used in so many ways ie: FACE MASKS! You can read more about it and buy it HERE.
Cut two strips either crosswise or lengthwise 1 inch wide. (2.5) cm
Cutting along the bottom of a t-shirt, the fabric will curl and expose the wrong side of the fabric.
(Which doesn’t matter if using a plain color, preference only).
But if you want the right side of the fabric exposed, cut the shirt lengthwise.
Pull the strips to stretch and curl the fabric.
You can either have the ties tie over the head and behind the neck, or you can make it so you have a continuous permanent loop behind your neck. (That way you don’t have to tie it every time) I personally just like regular ties.
CUT TWO STRIPS 32 INCHES (58.42 cm) long
CONTINUOUS STRIP 33 INCHES (83.82 cm) long
If you don’t have a strip long enough, you can sew two pieces together.
Fold the fabric in half with Right Sides Together (RST).
(T-Shirt fabric, have the hem edge be on the side).
Using a ¼ inch seam allowance, sew along the long unfinished edge using a straight stitch or sew by hand USING A RUNNING STITCH. Backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.
Turn inside out.
WOVEN FABRIC: Fold unfinished edges under ¼ inch and press in place. Do this on both sides.
T SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step. (Knit fabric will not fray).
Fold WRONG SIDES TOGETHER making a shorter tube.
Line up pressed edges of the two layers.
WOVEN FABRIC: Sew the 2 layers together, topstitching close to the edge.
You will start at one point and sew around until you meet the starting point (Sewing around the tube). Backstitch.
T-SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step
Applying Nose Wire
Take the twist tie or pipe cleaner and insert it between the two FOLDED EDGES of the doubled tube.
(Opposite of where you just topstitched)
(If using a pipe cleaner, barely fold the ends under and crimp in place. This will keep the sharp point from poking through the fabric!).
Center it side to side and down ¼ inch from the top edge. The wire will be sandwiched between the two layers. Clamp or pin in place.
Make a casing for the wire so it stays in place when washing the mask.
If sewing by hand, use a simple running stitch.
Feel with your fingers where the edge of the wire is and start stitching down from the top a few stitches. (You will be sewing through all four layers of fabric). Leave your needle in and lift up presser foot and pivot fabric.
Sew along the bottom of the wire to the other edge of the wire (feeling with your fingers where that is).
Pivot and sew back up to the top edge. Leave your needle in and pivot again to sew along the top edge. You will have sewn a little box around the nose wire.
Sewing Tie Casings
Sew down the sides of the mask ½ inch from the edge.
If sewing by hand, you can just use a simple running stitch.
Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Inserting Mask Ties
Attach the safety pin to the end of the tie.
Thread the tie into the casing starting at the top of the mask. Pull out and continue threading the other side from the bottom up to the top.
REGULAR DOUBLE TIE:
Thread each tie into the casing.
Cinching the sides of mask to gather.
No Pleats, Yea!
Decide how tight you want the neckband to be by trying the mask on. Once you’ve situated it and it feels tight enough, clamp in place. Remove mask.
Take the ends of the ties and hold them together. Pull to gather each side of the mask until the gathered section measures 4 inches.
Repeat on the other side.
REGULAR DOUBLE TIES:
Take the ends of the ties and hold together. Cinch the fabric to gather evenly until the gathered fabric area measures 4 inches. CLAMP IN PLACE OR PIN IN PLACE.
Tacking down ties
Sew the ties in place by sewing back and forth over the end of the casings, making sure to catch the ties underneath.
Repeat on both sides of mask. (This can be done by hand or by sewing machine).
Masks can be washed and dried with other clothing.
See my other face mask tutorials HERE.