DIY Masks without Elastic

I’m going to bust out this post really fast with lots of pictures. Others are asking about how to make masks when they can’t purchase elastic so here’s my solution. I’ve been making both kid and adult size masks using scrap material from my stash. I’m sticking to cotton, mostly flannel or quilting cotton.

The example below is for a child sized mask.

What you’ll need:
Cotton fabric. Here’s a great article on what’s most effective.
Child Size: 7.5” by 5”
Adult Size: 9” by 6”

Rib knit or t-shirt cotton. An old t-shirt would actually work fine too if you make it into t-shirt yarn. You may need to check the length of your strips knowing that the stretch of your fabric may be different than mine.

I cut the rib knit in 1” strips.

Cut the 1” strips to 7” (this is the length you may need to alter depending on your fabric choice and how much it stretches). I used the full 7” for adult sized masks but let the edges hang over for the kid masks (see below) then trimmed them.

Pull the 7” strips one at a time. This is quick and can be done by kids.

This makes the fabric roll.

Stretch them all.

Lay out one piece of mask fabric face up. (Reminder: this is kid sized)

Lay out the elastic approximately 1” from the top and bottom edges. For the kid masks, the elastic substitute hangs over. For the adult ones the straps need to be stretched a little and should reach from edge to edge. 

Lay the other fabric face down on top of that.

Stitch around the edges, leaving a 1.5“-2” hole on one long side.

Optional: clip the corners and the excess strap fabric.

Turn the mask. It’s OK if it’s not perfect, this one fit fine in the end despite the wonkiness.

Stitch long edges, making sure to catch the opening with the edges folded in.

Pleat and pin the side edges making sure you pleat in the same direction. I’m doing 3 pleats.

Stitch down each side. I do two parallel rows of stitching. Make sure you keep the straps out of your way. In this picture, the straps were behind the mask but while I stitched, I made sure to keep them away from my edges.

Try it on!!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for reading,


  1. What size stitch do I use? I'm a novice, but do have a machine.

  2. I never thought that it is so easy to make masks like that. Anyway, thank you for sharing it. It is so helpful, and I badly need it right now. Thank you. Take care always!

    - Cincinnati Roofing Contractors -

  3. This might be a really dumb question but I feel like I am missing something. If the 2 straps are sown horizontally along the top and bottom of the mask, how do you wear it behind your ears? Don’t they need to be sewn vertically along the sides?

    1. I was wondering the same! Maybe they go behind the neck and back of the head instead of the ears?


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