Introduction: Face Mask Using Pleating Board for Construction

There are a ton of mask patterns and tutorials out there. None were quite what I wanted so I made my own and figure I'd share as everyone has a different face.

I do not feel comfortable with masks that have a seam up the middle although I’m sure they aren’t giant virus-admitting gaps, I just can’t get over that thought and I haven't liked a lot of the pleated masks I've found, so I've mashed together a bunch of ideas until I came up with something that worked for me.

It fits my face pretty well and the nose flaps inside reduce or eliminate my glasses fogging up.
I've used thin quilt batting in the nose flaps for padding and to catch sweat.

The size and shape works well for me, but some adjustments may be necessary to optimize this pattern for specific faces.

I’ve assumed that anyone making these will not be making just one (after a test run if it works for you) so I also included instructions for making a pleating board to speed up the process.

Disclaimer: These 2-layer cloth masks are not medical grade. They’re better than nothing, but if you have access to proper filter masks, use those! Also, be sure to wash between uses, a dirty mask is no help to anyone!


Tightly woven 100% cotton fabric. Preferably with 180+ thread count. Quality quilting fabric is ideal. A fat quarter is sufficient for one mask.

Cotton sewing thread.

Needles and Pins.

A sewing machine or lot of time.

Approximately 24" length of 1/4" elastic of 1 yd ribbon/cloth tape.

Sturdy string or thin elastic.


Thin quilt batting or interfacing for the inner flaps by the nose.
A sheet of card stock (I used a file folder)

Step 1: Pattern and Cutting

Download and print the pattern file. The file is an 8.5x11" jpg.

Be sure to print without margins or the pattern will be reduced in size. The large pattern piece should be 10.5" tall.

Cut out the pattern pieces.

Fold cloth bottom to top, right sides together, then left to right.


Place the pattern on the folds as indicated.

Pin and cut fabric to pattern.

Step 2: Initial Assembly of the Mask

Open vertical fold and press flat.

Position batting (or interfacing) as shown.

Sew along the top edge, securing the batting.

Trim batting or interfacing as shown on the pattern.

Clip the corners and turn right side out.


Sew a seam about 1/8” from the bottom edge to form a casing.

Step 3: The Pleating Board

Form pleats as indicated on the pattern and baste the edges about 1/8” from the sides.

If making more than one mask, it is a good idea to make a pleating board using the pattern as shown.

This will save much measuring, pressing and pinning.

Use a sturdy card stock or thin cardboard. Here, I'm using an old file folder. Mark on the wrong side of your card stock and fold the pleats according to the pattern, use a ruler to ensure a straight edge.

Position the mask panel on the template, matching the positions of the pleats as shown on the pattern.

Push the fabric evenly into the creases using a ruler or a strip of card to ensure that the fabric is all the way down into the valleys.

Press with high heat and steam.

Allow the fabric to cool completely before removing from the template.

(I keep a square of granite tile on the ironing board to use as a heat-sink to cool the fabric quickly.)

Step 4: Adjusting Pleats and Basting

Push the pleats together, fold the nose flap to the inside of the mask and press.

The mask should measure 3.25" from top to bottom.

If the measurements are off, adjust the tightness of the pleats and re-press.

Baste the edges to hold the pleats in place while sewing on the casing for the ear/head straps.

Step 5: Strap Casing

Sew a 7” strip of cloth of any length in half, right sides together.

Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press open seams.

Turn right-side out.

Press flat.

Cut 2.25” strips from the tube and fold sides to center then in half as for bias tape.

Sew the channels to the side as you would apply bias tape to bind quilt, only leaving top and bottom open.

Step 6: Chin Fitting Technology!

Using a darning needle thread a sturdy string or very thin elastic through the bottom casing for final fitting under the chin.

Step 7: Straps and Fitting

Take the length of elastic or ribbon for securing mask to the head and thread through the casings at the sides.

You can do loops for ears if you wish, but I prefer to use a longer strap that goes over the head and down to the back of the neck. In the finished mask shown here, I am using a ribbon with a drawstring clip because I am out of elastic.

Position the mask with the padded flap to the inside on the top with your nose in the slot.
(Though you might try it inside-out, you never might work better for you.)

The straps should be in position around your head, one strap at the base of the skull, the other higher up.

Pull down to open the pleats until the bottom is under your chin, it will be a bit loose under the jaw.

Adjust the position and tightness of the elastic until the mask stays in place comfortably.

Once the mask is in place, gently pull on the drawstring at the inside bottom of the mask to gather up the loose material under the chin. Aim for a snug, but not uncomfortable fit. Tie off the string and trim the excess if desired.

You may need to experiment with the position of the nose flaps for the best seal/least glasses fogging.
I also suggest lining the mask with a facial tissue or paper towel to capture moisture from your breath and further reduce the chances of glasses fogging.