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Face Mask Patterns Without Pleats – 2 Designs & Tutorials

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It can be time-consuming and fiddly sewing a pleated face mask. You need to fold each pleat the right size and space them out evenly.

For those who want a face mask without pleats, here are 2 popular options:

Option 1: make a rectangle mask with gathers.

This looks very similar to a pleated mask, but gathers are much faster to sew.

Gathered masks provide a custom fit. If the mask is too long, the wearer can gather the sides to make it fit better. You can’t do this with fixed pleats.

It’s also the quickest and easiest mask to make!

This isn’t a fitted design, however, so there will be gaps in the mask.

Option 2: make a fitted mask.

Pleats are not used to create shape. A seam or dart is used instead.

This style takes more time to sew, but you get a better fitting mask with fewer gaps.

2 face mask patterns without pleats

Contents list:

rectangle vs fitted face mask
  1. Skip to the easy rectangle mask with gathers.
  2. Skip to the fitted face mask (with free printable pattern).

Design 1: rectangle mask with gathers, not pleats

This design is my favorite if you need a super easy make. It took me 6 minutes to sew.

When worn, it looks very similar to a pleated mask. However, the sides are gathered, not pleated.

The design includes side channels. This allows you to insert elastic or ties. You can also easily replace your elastic if it becomes worn, so that’s a big plus.

There’s no filter pocket or nose wire with this design. It’s as simple as it gets.

Here’s what it looks like with elastic around the ears:

floral rectangle mask with gathered sides worn by woman
A simple rectangle mask with gathered sides.
side view of a woman wearing a floral face mask with gathers
The sides gather for a better fit.

Here it is with elastic around the head:

flat navy face mask with side channels
Here’s what it looks like flat, and with elastic around the head.

Video tutorial:

Materials needed:

  • Tightly woven fabric, like cotton.
  • Elastic or ties. For elastic ear hooks, try 7″ to 8″ per ear. For elastic that goes around the head, try 24″. For ties that go around the head, try 40″. You can make ties using strips of fabric, 1″ t-shirt strips, bias-binding, etc.
  • A pencil for poking out the corners.
  • A safety pin for feeding the elastic/ties through the side channels.
  • Matching thread. I’m using Gutermann polyester thread, it’s strong and doesn’t lint much. It can be washed at 95 degrees.

Other sewing tool basics you’ll need:

  • A measuring tape.
  • Fabric scissors, or a rotary cutter and mat.
  • Pins or clips to hold the fabric in place.
  • Sewing machine needles. For light to medium weight woven fabrics, you’ll need a universal needle in size 80/12.

How to make a rectangle mask without pleats (photo tutorial):

cutting rectangle face mask out of navy fabric

1. Cut a piece of paper that measures 10″ x 6.5″ (adult size). That’s about 25.5cm x 16.5cm. This will be your pattern/template. Use it to cut 2 rectangles of fabric.

For a custom fit, measure yourself from ear to ear (that’s the width measurement), and nose bridge to under the chin (that’s the height measurement). Then add the seam allowances: 2″ (5cm) to the width, and 1/2″ (1.5cm) to the height.

placing fabric ontop of each other

2. Place the 2 rectangles on top of each other. The “nice” sides should be facing each other.

stitch lines on navy fabric

3. Sew the rectangles together around the edge, leaving a 2″ (5cm) gap on one side*. Use a 2/8″ (0.6cm) seam allowance.

* The gap should be on the left or right side of the mask, not the top or bottom. When you sew the side channels, the gap will be closed up.

small golden scissors cutting corners of mask

4. Cut the seam allowance at the corners, to reduce bulk. Don’t cut through any stitching.

rectangle mask

5. Turn the mask inside out through the 2″ hole. Poke the corners out (a pencil is helpful here).

mask with clips on the edges

6. Turn both sides in by 1/2″ (1.3cm) or 6/8″ (2cm) if using thicker ties/elastic. These will be your side channels.

sewing channels on the mask

7. Sew along the (inner) edges to secure the side channels. This will also close the 2″ gap.

feeding elastic through the mask's side channels

8. Insert your elastic or ties through the side channels and knot them. You can make them go around the ears or around the head.

For elastic ear hooks, try 7″ to 8″ per ear. For elastic that goes around the head, try 24″. For ties that go around the head, try 40″. You can make ties using strips of fabric, 1″ t-shirt strips, bias-binding, etc.


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Design 2: fitted / Olson mask with no pleats

dark floral Craft Passion face mask
Front view
side view of dark floral Craft Passion face mask with elastic around the head
Side view with elastic around the head.
navy Craft Passion face mask with ear hooks
How it looks with elastic ear hooks.

I used the free pattern by Craft Passion. This is a fitted or “olson” style mask.

It curves around the nose, creating a better fit. Without a nose wire, it will have air gaps.

Download printable pattern:

Type A Mask (1/4″ seam allowance included):
3 – 6 year old size
7 – 12 year old size
Teen (and woman) size

Mens size

Type B & C Mask with FILTER POCKET (3/8″ seam allowance included):
3 – 6 year old size
7 – 12 year old size
Teen (and woman) size

Mens size

How to sew the mask:

If you want to include a filter pocket (which I don’t show), here’s how to do it:

Here are the printable sewing instructions from Craft Passion.

Here’s Craft Passion’s full blog post about the mask.

Materials needed:

  • Tightly woven fabric, like cotton.
  • Elastic or ties. For elastic ear hooks, try 7″ to 8″ per ear. For elastic that goes around the head, try 24″. For ties that go around the head, try 40″. You can make ties using strips of fabric, 1″ t-shirt strips, bias-binding, etc.
  • A safety pin for feeding the elastic/ties through the side channels.
  • Matching thread. I’m using Gutermann polyester thread, it’s strong and doesn’t lint much. It can be washed at 95 degrees.

Other sewing tool basics you’ll need:

  • Fabric scissors, or a rotary cutter and mat.
  • Pins or clips to hold the fabric in place.
  • Sewing machine needles. For light to medium weight woven fabrics, you’ll need a universal needle in size 80/12.

How to make a fitted mask by Craft Passion (photo tutorial):

I’m making type A with NO filter pocket or nose wire.

fitted face mask fabric cut out

1. Use the template to cut 4 fabric pieces: 2 outer pieces (floral), and 2 lining pieces (white).

White and floral Craft Passion face mask fabric cut out

2. I recommend cutting 2/8″ (0.6cm) off the bottom of the lining piece. This stops the lining rolling out and being seen on the outside.

stitching lines on fabric face mask

3. Place the 2 outer pieces on top of each other, with the “nice” sides facing each other. Sew along the curved line with a 2/8″ (0.6cm) seam allowance.

Repeat this for the 2 lining pieces.

mask pieces placed on top of each other

4. Place the outer and lining pieces on top of each other, with the “nice” sides facing each other. Match the center seams.

mask pinned

5. Pin and sew along the top and bottom edge with a 2/8″ (0.6cm) seam allowance.

(Optional) After you sew the top edge, understitch it. This is when you sew the lining to the seam allowance. This will stop the lining rolling out. Then pin and sew the bottom edge.

cutting notches into mask

6. (Optional) Clip notches into the curves, so they lay flat.

Don’t cut through any stitching.

mask laying flat

7. Pull the mask inside out through the side gaps.

fabric folded

8. To create the side channels, fold the top and bottom edges by 2/8″ (0.6cm).

how to fold and create side channels on face mask

9. To create the side channels, fold the side edges in by 2/8″ (0.6cm), and fold them again so there’s enough space for your elastic to go through.

Make sure it overlaps the raw edge of the lining.

stitch line on mask

10. Sew along the (inner) edge of the side channels.

feeding elastic through mask

11. Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic. Feed the elastic through the side channels and tie it. You can do elastic ear hooks or make it go around the head.

For elastic ear hooks, try 7″ to 8″ per ear. For elastic that goes around the head, try 24″. For ties that go around the head, try 40″. You can make ties using strips of fabric, 1″ t-shirt strips, bias-binding, etc.


Related posts:

Complete beginners guide to making face masks

BEST toddler & child face mask patterns (with measurements)

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41 Mask Patterns Approved by 64 Hospitals (+ PDF Printables)


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