How To Sew A Face Mask | #ProjectBasedLearning How To Use Your Sewing Machine

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One of the main reasons we started doing the #ProjectBasedLearning series is because we found that it is a bit joyless to just sew practice stitches on scraps with no goal. Face masks are the perfect project for complete beginners because they are pretty small and quick to make, but still a great, productive project for you to practice some basic stitches on your sewing machine. Sewing machines are not super complicated to use, they just take some getting used to, and after making 3 or 4 masks you’ll feel so much more comfortable using your sewing machine. 

Before we get started we need to review the materials that we’re going to need for this project. 


For this project you’re going to need two types of fabric, an inner lining, and  outer fabric; the inner fabric should be a plain linen, for instance, upcycled bed sheets or pillowcases, where as the outer fabric  should be a thicker fabric, preferably something 100% cotton, and with a pretty pattern so you can create a beautiful mask. The cool thing about this project is that it does not require a lot of fabric so you can very easily upcycle fabrics that you have around your house such as pillowcases, bed sheets, button up shirts, or any other fabric that you think would work. If you don’t have any fabrics at home to up-cycle, you can get some fat quarters from Amazon or you can also buy some online from, and right now, you can get free shipping on all orders over 50$!


Now that we have all of the materials that we need, we are ready to start making the fitted face mask.

Pre-Sewing: Setting Up Your Sewing Machine

Before you can start sewing with your machine, it really helps to know how to set it up. There are two major parts of getting your machine ready to sew: winding your bobbin, and then threading your needle. These two steps are very simple, and the best way to get them done is by looking at your sewing machine manual as most manuals have very detailed picture diagrams of how to do this. If you have lost your manual, you should check this step by step tutorial on WikiHow. It has very detailed instructions and pictures along every step so you can understand what to do even if you don’t understand some of the terms. 

Once your sewing machine is prepped, and your crafting table is cleared, you are ready to start this project. 

Step 1: 

First you can either print out or trace your pattern onto a piece of paper, and make sure to label it so that you can come back to it whenever you need. We are using this pattern from Craft Passion which comes in a couple of different sizes making it perfect for you to find one that fits you. 

Step 2: 

For this project, you don’t need a lot of fabric, two fat quarters are more than enough. You should look for a cute exterior cotton fabric and a plain linen fabric for the interior lining. You can definitely use up-cycled fabrics for this project like old bed sheets, pillow cases, and button-up shirts. 

Step 3:

Once you have your pattern, you are going to trace it onto your fabric using tailor’s chalk. You are going to need to trace the pattern twice on each of the fabrics, and you should remember that your pattern pieces of the same fabric need to be opposites. To do this you can either fold your fabric and cut out two pieces at once, or you can first, trace the pattern onto the fabric right side up and then for the second piece, flip the pattern so that your pieces are opposites.



Step 4: 

Now you should have two pairs of similar pieces in the inner fabric and outer fabric. You are going to take your matching fabrics and pin them right sides together along the curved edge. With your sewing machine set to a straight stitch in the appropriate thread tension and stitch length for the fabric you are using, you’re going to sew along the pinned curve with a ⅛ in. or ¼ in. allowance. Do this for the interior and exterior pairs. 

Step 5: 

Once you have what should look like two very thin masks, you are going to pin them right sides together, starting by lining up the two middle seams together and moving your way outwards to each end. Pin along the top and the bottom. 

Step 6:

Going back over to your sewing machine, you’re going to straight stitch along the top and bottom edges with the same seam allowance you used in step 3 making sure to back stitch at the start and the end of each seam to hold them in place. Make sure not to sew along the sides so you can flip your mask right side out.

Step 7: 

With your fabric scissors, cut some notches along the curved edges on both sides so your mask can fold along the curve more smoothly. 

Step 8: 

Now, you should have an inside out mask, so very carefully, you are going to use one of the side openings to pull your mask right side out. Using your iron to the appropriate heat setting for your fabric choices, press along the seams, and here is where the tailor’s ham might come in handy so you can get the curved edge of your mask. 


Step 9: 

Your mask should really be looking close to done now. The only thing missing is the elastics, and to get them on, you’re going to sew a rolled hem that will hide the raw edges and leave room for the elastic. To do that,  you are going to place your mask with the pretty fabric facing down, and fold the raw side edges of the mask first, ⅛  inch over to the inside of your mask and press with your iron, and then fold it over again about ¼  inch, making sure to hide the raw edges completely. 

Step 10

Once you have pressed those folds, pin them and then head over to your machine to edge stitch the hem into place as close to the edge of the fold as possible making sure to leave enough space for the elastic. Repeat this step on both sides making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of each hem to hold them in place. 

Step 11: 

Congrats! You’ve made it to the last and easiest step. First, cut out two pieces of elastic, we have cut 12 inch strips but you should use whatever length fits your face comfortably. Using your yarning needle, preferably a round point needle so you don’t rip your mask, put the elastic through the needle hole and run the needle with the elastic through the side hem. Once you have the elastic through, tie the ends together, snip off the excess elastic at the end of the knot and try to tug the knot into the seam so it looks a bit more clean. Repeat this on the other side, and you’re all done.

Just like that, you have made yourself a gorgeous face mask to sport around the office or the grocery store!  It’s good practice to clean up your space and put your tools back in their place so that your sewing space is ready for your next project. Stay tuned for our next #ProjectBasedLearning blog post and video tutorial coming this Wednesday where we teach you how to make an even cuter pleated face mask. 

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Author: D. W. Perf

"The only thing that matters in life having a little bit of happiness everyday". Multidisciplinary artist exploring and learning about the fields of writing, fashion and activism.

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