How to fix a face mask

How to fix a face mask

When the elastic on your face mask gets worn out, or your mask doesn’t fit well & isn’t easy to adjust, it’s easy to fix a face mask and make it fit just right!


In this tutorial you’ll learn how to fix a face mask.  It’s pretty easy to get that mask back in rotation!



And the cool thing about this tutorial on how to fix a face mask is that you’ll be able to easily swap out your elastic or ties in the future if they get worn out again.  If you’re using synthetic elastic, you can also take the elastic out of the channels before you wash your mask so that you don’t release microplastics into the water.

You can go through these same steps with any type of face mask – not just a pleated mask.

Here’s what you need:

Supplies to fix your face mask


1. Elastic or cording.

All natural materials are best.  About 1 yard should be enough to go around your head.  About 30” will go around the ears, depending on how stretchy your elastic is & your personal fit.  

2. Fabric scraps. 

The exact measurements depend on the mask you’re fixing.  I’ll walk you that out below :).  You might want to pick a fabric that matches your mask.  A lighter weight fabric is best – quilters weight/poplin cotton.  Organic is always easier on the earth than conventional cotton & if you need some organic cotton fabric, I’ve got some in the shop HERE.  

3. Measuring tape/quilting ruler/quilting mat

Anything to measure with :).

4. Scissors

5. Clips or pins

Clips are easier to use than pins, but use what you have!

6. Safety pin

7. Thread

8. Iron

9. Sewing machine

Image of supplies
Supplies needed to fix your face mask

Step 1: Cut off old elastic

-If it’s a synthetic elastic, you’ll need to toss it in your landfill trash or find a fabric recycler near you.  

-If its a cotton elastic, you can either recycle it with a fabric recycler or compost it.

Step 2: Measure your mask to figure out the cut of your scrap fabric

-The height of your scraps should be the height of the side edges of your mask plus 2”.  So if the side edges are 3” in height, your scraps will be 5” in height.

-Regardless of the height of your mask, the width of your scraps should be 3”.

Step 3: Turn the scraps into channels 

-Fold the top & bottom edges down ½”, iron, then fold again ½”, iron.  The final height of the scraps should be the same as the height of the mask edges.

image of fabric folded over to make hem
Top and bottom edges folded & ironed. Final height will be the same as the height of the mask.

-Stitch straight across the top & bottom edge to hold this hem in place.

image of hem
Stitch the hem down on both sides.

-Fold the side edges (the raw edges) in ½”, press at iron

image of fabric folded over
Fold sides over 1/2″ and press at the iron.

-Fold the entire scraps in half lengthwise (from top hemmed edge to bottom hemmed edge) and press at the iron. 

Image of scrap folded in half
Fold in half lengthwise so the hemmed edges are at the top & bottom.

Step 4: Clip to mask & sew on

-Using clips, connect the channels to the sides of the mask so that they overlap about ½”. 

image of fabric folded onto the edge of the mask
Overlap the channel of fabric about 1/2″ with the edge of the fabric.

-If you clip on the side, you can get the channel & mask under the presser foot without having to move the clip out of the way.

image of fabric channel clipped onto the mask edge
Clip the fabric onto the edge of the mask.

-Once you start sewing, move the side clip out of the way.

-Sew all the way down, then rotate the mask around so you can stitch a second row of stitches right next to the first row.  This makes the channels really secure.

-Backstitch when you get back to the start of your stitches so that the stitches are locked in. 

image of stitches
Stitch down the side with two rows of stitching to attach the channel to the mask.

-Repeat these steps on the other side of the mask

Step 5: Insert elastic & trim threads

-Using a safety pin, thread the elastic through the channels.   

Insert elastic into the channels using a safety pin.

-Tie a loose two strand overhand knot.

image of overhand knot

-Try your mask on & adjust your knot as needed.

-You can tuck the knot into the channel if you like.

-Trim any loose threads.

You’re done!

I hope this helps get your masks back in action.  If it does, I’d love to see it!  Tag #notracemaker on Instagram to share your fixed mask.

Thanks for reading!



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