How to Sew a Basic Face Mask (with adjustable elastics)

face mask pattern adjustable ties

Use my free pattern to sew easy, breathable fabric face masks with just a little bit of fabric and adjustable elastic loops. A reusable and washable mask like this is perfect to throw in your bag and always have handy. Learn how to sew a basic face mask in this post.

Comfortable Adjustable Ear Loops

Did you know that adjustable elastics are easily available now? This means you can sew face masks that have adjustable ear loops! The masks that I sewed 6-9 months ago are great, but this time I was able to find the perfect ear loops with an adjuster that are soft and comfortable, plus they ensure a good fit. Even if the adjuster falls off, we have found that the masks still work and feel great if we tie a knot in the right place instead.

I changed the template that I used for cutting out my face mask fabric (to account for sewn-in elastic loops), so I’m sharing a new free downloadable template with you that includes 5 different sizes from child small all the way up to adult extra large.

Watch the Video Too!

This easy sewing tutorial also includes a video with tips and tricks so even if you’ve never sewn face masks before, your first one will turn out perfect, I promise! The video should start automatically in the video player within this post, but if it doesn’t, you can find it on my YouTube channel here.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below contains everything you need (including the free template) and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional.

DIY Face Mask Pattern

These new face masks are shaped very similarly to the Olson Mask Pattern that was previously my favorite. I needed to change the design to account for shorter sides (no elastic casing) plus I added 4 extra sizes. I’m not using filters with these new masks, but you want a fabric face mask with a filter pocket, check out my Olson Mask Pattern instructions and video.

I gathered some new information about using cloth face coverings to protect from COVID-19 from the Center for Disease Control website. It says:

Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured. Upwards of 80% blockage has been achieved in human experiments that have measured blocking of all respiratory droplets, with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control.

These fabric masks have 2 layers of fabric, but of course you can use more layers than that if you would like better protection. If you layer the

After you are vaccinated, you can sew a pretty Vaccination Card Holder Wallet to keep your record in.

Click here to download the free SewCanShe Face Mask Templates

The free template includes the following sizes:

  • child small (for ages 2-5)

  • child large (for ages 6-10)

  • medium (great for tweens, teens, and women)

  • large (for women who want a more generous fit plus men)

  • extra large (for men who want a more generous fit)

The top of the mask fits over the nose and rests comfortably below the chin.

To sew a face mask with my template, you’ll need:

  • about 1/8 yard tightly woven cotton fabric (or other fabric of your choice – lots of people substitute cut up t-shirts)

  • 2 adjustable fabric ties for the ear loops (you can use a 6-8” piece of elastic if you prefer)

  • thread (I suggest polyester thread for strength and durability)
  • a sewing machine or hand sewing needle

This easy tutorial doesn’t require a ruler or bias tape so it’s perfect for someone who hasn’t sewn before. A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you can’t watch my video this post contains step by step instructions too.


Cut out the free template along the line for your desired size.

Use the template to cut 2 fabric pieces for the mask exterior (1 reversed) and 2 fabric pieces for the lining (1 reversed).

The easiest way to do this is to fold your fabric in 2 layers right sides together, pin the template on top, and cut out both pieces of fabric at once. Then repeat for the remaining set.


Attach the Elastic Ear Loops

1. Place the two mask exterior pieces right sides together and pin or use clips if desired. Sew the curved edge with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

Sew the two lining pieces together along the curved edge in the same way.

2. Sew the ends of the ear loops to the mask exterior piece at the short sides.

The ends of the loops should be 1/4’’ away from the corners as seen above.

Tip: watch my video above or on YouTube for a different speed method for sewing on elastics!

Sewing the Mask Together

1. Place the mask lining piece on top, right sides together and pin around the edges.

Tip: make sure that the top edges of the mask are lined up – and one is not upside down! 🙂

2. Sew all the way around the mask with a 1/4’’ seam allowance, leaving a 2’’ opening along the bottom edge on one long side for turning it right side out.

3. Trim a little bit away from each corner at the sides of the mask to reduce bulk, without cutting the stitches.


Finishing Your Adjustable Face Mask

1. Turn the face mask right side out through the opening and press gently, poking out the bottom corners with a chopstick or turning tool. Turn the edges at the opening to the inside and press.

2. Topstitch all the way around 1/8’’ from the edge for a nice professional look (and to close the opening at the same time).


Enjoy and stay safe in public settings! Remember, sewing our own PPE (or personal protection equipment) can help ensure that people who can’t sew can find what they need at the store. Use gentle soap to hand wash your fabric face mask as needed.

I’m adding this tutorial to my list of the 5 Best Easy and Free Face Mask Patterns. That article includes free patterns for a rectangle mask with pleats, a gaiter style mask, and the Olson Mask that has a filter pocket. Let me know which one is your favorite!

If you would like to insert a nose wire, check out my post How to use a Pipe Cleaner (or other wire) to Make Your Fabric Face Mask Fit Better.



Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂