Free Face Mask Pattern

UPDATE: At the beginning of the pandemic, this pattern was used to assemble kits for volunteers to make and donate. 

We may soon forget that it was impossible to meet with anyone to teach anything in person back in the spring of 2020! But that's how it was when we had no idea what Covid was, or how it was spreading.

It's still a great mask for ease of instructions and quick sew-up, and still the one I'll use when I need to quickly make a batch for my own household. It requires very little precision or practice, suitable for most beginners looking to sew a mask.




The goal of THIS pattern:

To make a pattern that could be distributed to a team of people, to sew on their own at varying degrees of skill, with the best chance of fitting faces universally, even when sewn with varying degrees of seam accuracy (very important). To sew as many masks as possible successfully with our team's skill level and equipment/materials at hand, in the least amount of time.



I make no claims about my masks preventing the transmission of any virus in any capacity. 

Let's Begin:

Download the Face Mask Instructional

I'm working with a modified pleat-style mask that is an amalgam of lots of common patterns and measurements on the internet, and tweaking them to suit my own methods, equipment, and supplies. 

Why I like THIS mask pattern:

9x9" of fabric covers a LOT of face. 

Elastic requires less resources per mask. Ties would require 18"x4 just for one mask. 

It's square. Good because 1) Zero fabric waste between a grid of squares that can be cut quickly and easily. 2) Makers can't screw up the orientation, every side is equal.

Best starting off tips: 

Make ONE and test that one on a large face and a small face. See why...

My husband tried on this mask that fit me perfectly. Wow. That's not what his ears normally look like! I actually think this might be a glaring oversight of the movement. Legions of women might be making masks to fit their own smaller faces. Check the fit on large faces, too! (Also, this earlier mask was made with 1/4 inch elastic, not ideal.)

1/8" elastic has the easiest stretch. Elastics can vary greatly. If you have to work with what you got, make sure you test the first one in case it isn't fitting properly. Longer elastic can always be snipped and tied smaller. Too short elastic, can't be lengthened. Err on the looser side.

Comment with any questions and I'll check. Please be patient with the quality of photos and video, they are done with the interest of getting things up ASAP. I'm doing the most I can with hours that seem to be passing too quickly. I did manage to get the pleat video made!

Download the Face Mask Instructional
Note it's a 9x9 inch square mask. To use the pdf as a pattern, you will need to tile print it at 100%. 
If you don't understand the pleat directions on page three, I have placed a video at the bottom of this page.


Fabric: I am using surplus quilter's weight fabric and similar weight organic cotton sheeting. Some home sewing machines may gag on the pleats—use new, sharp, heavy duty needles.

1/8" elastic.

Twistie tie: Mine was laying around my house, no brand. I've since found more at Ace Hardware.

Here is a video aid for the final pleat making stage, which is hard to explain on just a paper pattern:


Substitute materials: 

Missing something?

Ties work: Without elastic, you can substitute four 18" long pieces of ribbon, shoelace, parachute cord, or sew tubes to make narrow strips for finished straps. Ties actually work very well, but in bulk require significantly longer amounts of material and might tangle in the wash. The wire we use is the twist tie or garden wire that is plastic coated and available from a hardware store in small packages, most come with a cutter right on the package. You can use pipe cleaners or bread bag ties too. Or, leave the wire out if it's a personal mask. Masks donated to hospitals though should include some kind of wire if at all possible. Fabric can be a pillowcase or sheet, or recycled cotton from cut up shirts. 

Target and or Walmart sell shoelaces, bedlinens and garden wire, some even have thread and fabric.


  • Judy Cruz-Murphy

    I’ve been making mask also.p
    Noting the elastic are hurting some ears, slipping off. I’ve made both your square ones and now utilizing a more fitted face pattern.

    I’ve come up with addingL ties to elastic which can be tied in back. My husband says ties make mask more snug to face and do not fall off.
    i don’t know how to copy my phots to send to you so will try another way if I can

  • jeannette

    Hi! The pleating video just helped me. I would like to get involved in your efforts. . Thank you so much for the information. Elastic seems to be a product that has been hoarded away. I can’t find any. Jeannette

  • Barbara Cornwell

    This is a wonderful and much needed service you are providing to our selfless and devoted medical providers. I’d very much like to help. I have a sewing machine but am no means a seamstress. I can however sew and the masks appear simple enough. May I help? Thank you for your service and for making a difference!

  • Betsy

    Oh, Dear, Lisa. I was afraid of this. I better check on my own order. Cross your fingers.

  • Lisa B

    FYI… CTS appears to be sold out of all narrow elastics, unless I somehow missed one that’s still in stock.

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