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.