Face Mask tutorial with ties

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Many of you have asked me for a simple DIY face mask tutorial since the CDC recommended wearing them.

I held off on doing a tutorial earlier on face masks but I have now made several different ones and made a few changes to come up with one that my daughter likes. She is the one going to the grocery store and I want her to be protected as much as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now officially recommended that everyone but infants should wear a cloth mask or face covering in certain public settings so many of us are making face masks for friends and family.

Something I don’t have in my stash is elastic so I have been making masks with ties. You can either cut four separate ties or make two long ones.

Face Mask tutorial with ties

If you would prefer to print out the instructions, there is a pdf below for you. I also have links at the end of this post for other patterns and important information.

I made the masks a little wider so they will work well for men. The size I made for my daughter is shown at the end, the fabrics are cut one inch shorter in width.

This pattern has 2 layers of fabric and a pocket in which you can add additional layers of disposable filtration material if desired.


  • Prewash your fabrics
  • Cotton fabrics including batiks
    • one – 11-inch x 9-inch (this makes the larger size mask)
    • one – 11-inch x 6½-inch (this makes the larger size mask)
    • 1¾-inch strips for binding
  • 7 inch – Wire, pipe cleaner, twist tie or flexible garden tie

Finish one long edge on each piece. You can zig-zag the edges, use a serger or turn under ¼ inch twice and topstitch.

Cut two pieces of fabric for the mask

Place right sides together, sew with a ¼” seam allowance. Mark approximately 2½” on each side and leave the center open.

Sew seam and leave opening

Press and turn right side out. Fold the front fabric to the back about ½ inch. Press the fold line.

Opening in back

Now fold back with right sides facing and sew the bottom seam with ¼ seam allowance.

Sew bottom seam

Notice the fold line is not at the top, do not press it.

face mask back

Fold on the fold line and press, the front fabric will show on the bottom. Press that also.

Face Mask fold fabric


Cut four 18 inch – 1 3/4 inch strips. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Open up and then press each side toward the center. Fold and press. Topstitch each tie.

Align each tie inside the mask at each corner, pin, and stitch a ¼” seam allowance on each side. Your ties will be inside (I hadn’t tucked two of them in yet).

Add ties

Turn the mask right side out and press.

Turn right side out

Next, add the 7-inch piece of nose wire inside of the mask.

Add nose wire

Sew close to the wire but don’t hit it.

Your pleats should fold downward

  • Make the pleats starting 1″ from the bottom on either side.
  • Fold the pleats with approximately the following spacing: 1″, ½”, 1″, ½”, 1″.
  • You want the sides to be about 3 – 3½ inches.
  • Topstitch the pleats and the bottom of the mask.
  • I used Clover Wonder Clips to hold my pleats.
make the pleats

You can place a filter inside the mask through the opening in the back.

optional filter

Note: if you would prefer to add the binding at the end, cut two 38-inch strips. Fold and press but don’t stitch until you fold the binding over the edges of the mask.

Use the following measurements for a mask that fits a smaller face.

Smaller face mask

You can also cut binding the width of your fabric and add the binding as the final step. Here are two made that way.

Face Mask tutorial with ties

I have been making most of my masks with wire for a flexible nose piece. You can use pipe cleaners, wire, twist ties but my favorite is the flexible garden tie that I bought at the Dollar Tree store. If you have one near you I would recommend getting it. I looked online but it seems like you have to buy a case of it right now.

I also found the garden tie on Amazon but the price is higher. If you don’t have any other access then this might be an option.

Flexible garden wire

Download the free DIY Face Mask tutorial

Stay safe and healthy my friends!

More information for you

Here is a great video for making the same type of mask.

The CDC has information and guidlines on using cloth face coverings to help preventing you from getting sick. There are also several patterns for masks.

Visit WeNeedMasks.org to look at their database of places that need masks. Some have a specific style of mask needed and patterns.

Joann Fabric has several patterns and information also.

Julie from The Crafty Quilter has an excellent tutorial for a different style of mask.

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  1. Wendy West says:

    Is the fabric 9″ wide by 7″ deep?

  2. Connie thank you very much for this fabric mask tutorial. I have been sewing many very similar to these but without the wire. So many people want so many different styles. I actually used ribbons for my ties. Safety first to keep us all well. Blessings Dear.

  3. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    Thank you so much, Connie!!!

  4. Shirley Yoder says:

    Thanks Connie, I am waiting on elastic that is being shipped to me from another state:) When you fold in the pleats, do you fold in both front and back layers at the same time? Our “issuer” of the pattern we used, said to fold in each side separately so they pull apart better for the filter piece. That took a long time. So I fold in the pleats, pressed(actually my husband did the pressing for me) then pulled them apart, layed them back, wrong sides together, and used a co ordinating fabric for binding piece to sew in the elastic pieces. We cut our pieces 8 inches. they said to make them universal size. We used any size elastic, available up and including 1/4 inch. That actually hurt my ears. We found that they (health care workers) preferred a longer elastic piece and they used a large paper clip to clip the two elastic pieces together and wore the mask with the clip holding it in place behind their head. does that make sense?

  5. Thanks Connie,
    I enjoy reading your emails…especially about the no-sew bandana from the CDC’s cloth face covering guidelines. I have shared this info with family members & friends.
    Thanks again for sharing and caring😊

  6. Yeah! A tutorial that actually works – thank you, Connie!