Introduction: Sew an Emergency Face Mask

Ideally our essential employees would have access to proper protective gear, but that's not where we are right now. Use your isolation time to keep our high contact workers safe.


7x9 rectangles of tightly woven cotton fabric. Bar towels, quilting squares, bandanas (2 per mask). 7 inch lengths of 1/4 inch elastic. (2 per mask). Sewing machine, thread.

Step 1: Cut Rectangles

Cut 2 7x9 inch rectangles of fabric.

Step 2: Position Fabric

Place the two right sides together.

Step 3: Begin Your Seams

Starting on the bottom third of a long side, begin sewing the fabric together with about 1/4 inch seam. I just lined up with the outside edge of my presser foot. Sew until you are about two thumbs to the end. You need this space for the elastic.

Step 4: Insert Elastic

As you approach the end of the 1st seam, put one end of one elastic between the layers on a diagonal. You want to make sure you don't accidentally sew over the elastic in future steps.

Step 5: Cornering

I like a backstitch at corners. This is optional. Turn the fabric after you have sewn in the elastic. Peek between layers to make sure the elastic will not end up in the seam. Sew to almost the bottom again.

Step 6: Secure the End of the 1st Elastic

Bring the loose end of the elastic over to the corner, sew it in place and corner. Your next seam will be a long side.

Step 7: Insert 2nd Elastic

About 2 thumbs from the end, insert the end of a piece of elastic. Sew it in place and corner.

Step 8: Sew Second Short Side

Continue to almost the end, watching out for your elastic. Secure the end of the second elastic, and corner.

Step 9: Bottom Side

After cornering, sew about 1/3 of the way up the last seam. You need to leave an opening to turn it right side out.

Step 10: Turn It Right Side Out

Stick your hand in the opening and turn it right sides out.

Step 11: Topstitch!

Topstitch all the way around. Nothing fancy. Unless you're a fancy person. Then go wild.

Step 12: Pleat

Make 3 pleats on each side of the mask. Pinch the fabric, fold and pin. Sew along the pleated edge to hold them in place. Repeat for the other side. Go slowly in this step, it's a lot of fabric to sew through.