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How to Make a 3 Ply Face Mask

Blue 3 ply facemask being held in front of a sewing machine

When we all first started making cotton fabric masks at home, it was believed that 2 layers of fabric would work just fine. Now a year later and with new recommendations, it is said that 3 layers of cotton fabric are better at filtering out those nasty germs. Here is how you can make an easy 3 ply mask at home.

3 Ply Face Mask


  • Facemask pattern (You can learn how to make one by clicking here)
  • 100% Cotton Fabric -Solid or Patterned-(Small patterns work better than large ones)
  • 1/8-Inch (3mm) Elastic Cord for Masks (I was able to buy 55 yards on Amazon for less than $10)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Chop stick, pencil, or small diameter dowel
  • Paperclip
  • Marker
  • Iron & ironing board


  1. Fold your fabric with the “Right Side” facing in to give you 2 layers of fabric. Trace your pattern onto your fabric.
  2. Cut both layers of fabric following the marker lines you just created. (I fold my fabric in half to create 4 layers and fold my pattern in half. I then lay the fold of the pattern on the fold of the fabric to trace it.)
  3. Out of a plain piece of fabric (For the middle layer, plain fabric is usually cheaper than using the printed fabric) cut one layer using your pattern. Once you have it cut out, cut it in half at the middle fold line giving you 2 halves.
  4. Line up your 2 long pieces of fabric, then on one end add a half piece on top and on the bottom. Sew each end along the curve following about 1/8 to 1/4 seam allowance.
  5. Now open the 2 long pieces of fabric from the middle. While still wrong side out, match the curved pieces together. Use a hot iron if you are having trouble getting them to lay together. This should make the middle pieces of fabric (the plain color halves) be on top, then the long pieces behind them.
  6. Now sew around the perimeter of the mask (still wrong side out) leaving an opening of about 2 and a half inches.
  7. Once you are done sewing, start to turn your project right side out through the opening you left while sewing (make sure to turn it between what will be your front and back pieces of fabric). To get the corners to turn, use your chopstick and place it into the opening and guide it into each corner.
  8. Use a hot iron and iron all of the seams flat.
  9. Sew a top stitch along the edge of your mask being extra careful to close the opening you left to turn the mask right side out.

To attach your elastic

  1. Fold over the end of your mask about a half an inch towards the back (the part that will rest on the face) of the mask. I wrap the end pieces around the chopstick to gage how far to fold it. Sew it down at the edge as to leave a tunnel for passing the elastic through. Repeat on the other end.
  2. Cut 2 pieces of elastic cord 7 inches long.
  3. Unfold your paper clip leaving one end straight and the other end as a hook. Thread it through the tunnel, hook the elastic and pull one end back trough the tunnel. Tie the elastic in an overhand knot. Repeat for other end.
  4. Turn the elastic until the knot is in the tunnel.

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