How to Make a Pleated Face Mask in Under 15 Minutes | 5 Steps

Comparable to underwear, face masks have become a necessity for daily function. These pleated face masks are *slightly* different than the masks I sell on Etsy! I use this serger to finish my raw edges, but in this tutorial I only use my sewing machine.

Do you have 20 minutes? Do you have the attention span to follow five steps? Do you for some reason need to learn to make yourself a face mask? If you answered yes to any of those questions, follow along below!

you'll need

  • this pattern + printer

  • cotton fabric: for ONE MASK, you’ll need a piece a fabric that is 17-in in length and 6.75-in in width

  • elastic: two 13-inch pieces of elastic, either 1/8-in or 1/4-in in width

  • sewing machine

  • iron + ironing board

  • notions: thread, scissors, chalk (or other washable marking pen/pencil), pins, sewing clips (or binder clips), lighter


  • wash fabric + dry Whenever I buy new fabric I immediately wash and dry it as soon I get home from the store as a habit. Cotton WILL shrink.

  • download + print pattern Before we even begin cutting the fabric, you’ll need to download this pattern and print it out. Ensure it’s to scale by measuring the 1x1-in box. Although it might seem superfluous to include a pattern for a rectangles, I created this to better visualize where the pleats would occur on the fabric. Plus, if you’re ever in the position to batch make masks, this pattern expedites fabric marking.

step-by-step instructions

step 1 | cut + mark fabric | 0:32

  • Print the pattern. Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut it out.

  • Mark the exterior piece of fabric first using the horizontal guides on the pattern piece. Connect the lines. These will serve as guides for pleating.

  • Then mark the interior piece. This line will serve as the fold for your hem.

step 2 | sew right sides together | 1:33

  • Fold and iron the lengthwise edges of the interior piece, using the markings you made in step one. This will conceal the unfinished edge.

  • Clip/pin right sides of fabric together.

  • Sew along markings on the top and bottom. This should allow for a 1/4-in seam allowance.

  • Flip the right side out and iron seams.

step 3 | create pleats | 2:53

  • With the exterior piece facing up, lightly spray the fabric to dampen.

  • Begin folding pleats, using the markings as guides. You should begin by folding the top of the mask. Iron each pleat into place before moving to the next one.

  • Pin pleats into place. Pin toward the center of the mask.

step 4 | hide raw edges | 3:39

  • Using the exterior pattern piece, mark the vertical guides on the top and bottom of the mask and connect the lines.

  • Fold the edges in twice using the markings as guides. Press and clip edges to hold them in place.

  • Sew using the marking to hide the raw edges. This also creates the tunnel that you’ll string the elastic through.

  • Take out the pins once you’re done sewing either side of the mask.

step 5 | finish! | 4:50

  • If you haven’t already, cut the elastic. I use that is 1/8-in in width, but you could also use 1/4-in or bungee cord if you have that.

  • Lightly singe the ends to prevent fraying.

  • String the elastic through the tunnel. I have this super cool tool that Alyssa’s mom got me from Japan, but a safety pin works just the same.

  • Adjust the elastic fit your face and tie the knots. Pull them into the tunnels to be concealed.

  • Lastly, you can either put these through the wash or take a hand towel and some water to wash off the markings/tailor’s chalk.

aaaaand, here is the finished product!

Again, these pleated face masks are *slightly* different than the pleated masks I sell on Etsy since I use a serger but the dimensions are the same!