In this easy tutorial, I'll show you a fast way to sew face masks for kids. With fall quickly approaching, your kiddo might be looking forward to joining activities again, and potentially heading back to a school setting.
Determining when and how to re-enter these social situations is a question we won't be tackling today, but there's a good chance that somewhere along the line, your child might be required to wear a mask. As parents, we're busy enough keeping schedules straight, gas in the car, and our kids fed, so I came up with an easy tutorial on how to sew face masks for kids!
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This tutorial walks you through the simplest, quickest, and easiest way to sew face masks for kids. In 10 minutes flat, you can have one of these done from start to finish! With three size options, you can be sure to find one that fits your child well.
Note: The CDC does not recommend children who are under the age of two wear a mask.
Supplies for Kids' Face Masks:
- Two pieces of quilting cotton - sizes listed below (The three fabrics used in these masks are Dark Starry from the collection Playground by Dylan M., Aerial in Clay from the collection Gathered by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics, and Ida's Pressed Flowers from the collection Her & History, aslo by Bonnie Christine for AGF.)
- 1/8" braided/flat elastic (I do not recommend woven elastic for these) While many big box stores may still be out of elastic, I'd highly suggest checking with smaller shops on Etsy! It's a great way to support small businesses, and many ship super fast!
- Simple Sewing Machine
- Cutting mat
- Rotary cutter
- Straight pins
- Iron & ironing board or pressing mat
Step 1: Cutting Your Kids Mask Fabric & Elastic
Since masks do need to be somewhat fitted to different shapes and sizes of faces, here are the cutting instructions for each size:
- Small (appx. ages 3-4): Cut two pieces of fabric to 4 1/2" x 6", and two pieces of elastic to 5 1/2"
- Medium (appx. ages 5-9): Cut two pieces of fabric to 5" x 7", and two pieces of elastic to 6"
- Large (appx. ages 10-14): Cut two pieces of fabric to 5 1/2" x 8" and two pieces of elastic to 6 1/2"
- Adult (appx. ages 15+): Cut two pieces of fabric to 6" x 9", and two pieces of elastic to 7"
When it comes to selecting fabric for masks for kids, a tightly woven quilting cotton is your best option. To make things fun, let your child choose the fabrics, or order some personalized fabric with their name on it from Spoonflower to be sure they never grab the wrong mask!
Step 2: Sewing the Mask
Place your two pieces of fabric right sides together.
Starting on one of the long sides, backstitch to secure your starting point, and begin sewing around the perimeter of the mask with a 1/4" seam allowance. When you get about 3/8" from the first corner, stop, lift your needle, and insert your piece of elastic as shown in the photo below.
The majority of the elastic will be inside the mask, but be sure you catch the other end with your stitching as you pivot and sew along the short side. Stop when you get 3/8" from the next corner, grab the other end of your elastic, and sew through it as you pivot around the corner. The loop of elastic will essentially look like the letter C between the two layers of fabric.
Because 1/8" elastic is not very wide, I set my stitch length to 1.8 to be sure I caught it with at least one or two stitches. If you stitch length is too long, the needle could potentially skip over the elastic and your elastic will not be secured.
Continue sewing around the perimeter, and repeat the elastic step when you get to the other short end. Leave a 1 1/2" gap when you get close to your starting point, and backstitch to secure.
Things are cooking right along! Your kid mask should currently look like the above photo.
Step 3: Adding Pleats to the Kids Mask
Turn your mask right-sides-out through the 1 1/2" hole you left in the seam. Your mask should now look like the photo below. Be sure to push the corners and side seams out using a chopstick, point turner, or similar object. Now you're ready to add the pleats!
Create two pleats on the short end of the rectangle, pinning securely in place. It varies a bit for each mask size, but do your best to create two pleats that are similar in size but don't overlap in the center, or where the elastic meets the mask. Repeat this step for the opposite side.
Step 4: Topstitch Your Mask
Starting over the 1 1/2" gap, topstitch around the perimeter of the mask about 1/8" from the edge. When you get to the pleats, sew across them once, lift your presser foot, pivot your fabric, and sew back across them again in the opposite direction (very close to your first seam), then lift one last time and sew across them a third time.
This adds a little bit of reinforcement since kids' masks might take some wear and tear! Repeat this on the pleats on the opposite side as well.
Voila! You're finished! That probably took you less time than it takes to make a batch of mac n' cheese. 😉
Comment below if you plan on making some face masks for kids or if you found this tutorial helpful!
No Time to Sew Masks? No Problem!
If you don't have time to make masks for your kids, or even if you just don't have the emotional energy, we've got you covered (pun intended.) My friend, Nicole, of Modern Handcraft, has made hundreds of face masks for kids and adults during this pandemic. Her masks sell fast, but she lists them in her shop as she makes them.
Included are different kinds of masks and lots of fun fabrics! Below is a picture of her son, Grey, sporting one of his masks.
13 thoughts on “Easy Tutorial: How to Sew Face Masks for Kids”
Thanks so much for this tutorial. Where I live in Australia, it is just becoming mandatory to wear masks in public, so the timing of this couldn’t be more perfect!
can”t wait to get started!
Hi Suzy! Thank you for the excellent tutorial on kid’s masks! So helpful. Would it be possible for you to put these instructions into a document/PDF available for printing?
Perfect timing! I’m planning to make some masks for our local elementary school to have on hand for those students that may need them!!
You’re awesome!! Thank you so much!! I’ve made hundreds of masks, but was at a loss for the kid’s sizes. Thank you so much!!!
Thank You for including sizes related to age! With some grandchildren living out of town, I can’t just run over with my sewing machine and personally adjust the mask to fit. At least with your sizes, I can get close to a good fit and rely on their Mom/Dad to do the final fitting. Very helpful! 🙂
Great tutorial Suzy! I have made a lot of masks too ( over 700) and am always peaking at tutorials for helpful hints. I do struggle with the best ear elastic tricks as thats the trickiest for future. I use t-shirt strips (3/4 “) and a bead (dollar store 😊400 for$1) which allows adjustable fit) . Thanks again . I live watching your videos. Your very entertaining 😉👍
Good tutorial. I found that using the triple straight stitch makes the stronger topstitch No need to resew around the mask which can perforate the elastic This can cause it to come apart from the mask easier.
Great tutorial. I would make more than one per kid so that you can have them wear a clean fresh mask each day. We are washing ours in a lingerie bag on gentle and air drying to save the elastic. A quick press after they are dry and they are ready to go again.
This is how I make my masks, although I stitch 2 times around the mask instead of back and forth on the sides.. I even attach the elastic at an angle, as do you. Stay healthy and safe Suzy and your
family too. Thank you for all your tips. By the way, I’ve donated about 200 masks so far. I started
making them for family and friends, and then friends of family and friends of friends.
Thank you Suzy for all of your tutorials they are always so much fun to watch and I can understand them real clearly… it’s funny how we’re gravitated to a certain designer and you are mine, by the patterns you design and the fabric you use… and I love your mojo quilts!
Hi Suzy I’m in the UK but I love receiving email so thank you for this one with the children’s masks plus the sizes.
My daughter is a primary teacher and they are about to going back to school after the summer holidays so a few spare masks will come in handy for the little ones if they have to wear them.
Thank you again.
would you ever offer a video?