With the shortage of masks, here is a simple tutorial on how to make a double layer cotton mask. Please note, these masks are still more porous than the recommended N95 masks, but can still help prevent the spread of disease. The dimensions given are for a large adult mask. For a smaller adult mask, reduce dimensions by ½” to 1” (see Step One).

Download a PDF of this activity here.


What you’ll need:

  • Lightweight cotton fabric
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • 1/8” wide elastic
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread


Step One:

Gather your supplies. Cut a rectangle 12” x 8”. Fold your fabric in half and cut two separate rectangles, each 4” x 1 ¼” (not on fold). If you have a smaller face, you may want to reduce the dimensions of the large rectangle by ½” to 1”.

*Note: If you’re making multiple masks, it might be useful to make a pattern out of parchment paper rather than measure each time.

Fabric cut to dimensions.

Step Two:

Fold the larger rectangle in half lengthwise with right sides together (patterned sides should be facing each other), so that you have a rectangle 6” x 8”.  With right sides together, sew the edge opposite the fold together.

Step Three:

            Iron three pleats across the center of the double-layer, large rectangle. These should be approximately ½” to ¾” to wide. With pleats pressed flat, your mask should be about 3 ½” to 4” long on the short side.

Iron three equal pleats across center of large rectangle.

Step Four:                             With right sides together, align the long edge of one smaller rectangle with the short edge of your pleated rectangle. Stitch, then iron flat. Fold unstitched edge under about ¼” and topstitch on reverse side. Repeat with other end.

Sew long sides of small rectangle to short ends of large rectangle. Excess fabric can be cut after step is completed.

Fold edge under and then fold over seam.

Topstitch and trim excess fabric from edge.

Step Five:

Cut two strips of elastic 7” long each. Stitch one to each side, with the ends at the top and bottom of the short edge of your mask to make ear loops. You can also create fabric ties or use string, just make them long enough to reach the center back of your head and leave additional length for tying.

Cut two strips of 1/8″ elastic to 7″.

Your mask is finished! Make sure to wash before wear, and after each time you use it to keep it clean and germ-free.