How To Sew a Mask and Scrunchie Set
Before the pandemic, I had been making scrunchies for about a year. My mom had really gotten into sewing, and I used the scrap fabric to make scrunchies – my favorite fashion accessory. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I wanted to make wearing a mask slightly less dutiful and more of something I could look forward to. Then I had the idea to make a matching scrunchie and mask set – that way it could become more of a fashion statement, in a way.
Before I hop into the tutorial, I do want to warn you that these are in no way surgical masks or should be used as a substitute for one. These are the most suitable for the general public to wear.
Supplies you will need
First, you will need some fabric. This is the fabric that will be displayed when you are wearing the mask. You will want to make sure that the fabric is not too thin that particles could escape from, but not too thick to the point where you cannot breathe. Fabrics like fleece, flannel, tulle, or fur would not be the best for this project. I picked up a fabric quarter from my local crafting store and it turned out to be a perfect size. Fabric quarters can be relatively cheap, but I found mine on sale for forty-percent off and I got one for less than two dollars!
Next, you will want to find some kind of lining. You will not be able to see the fabric once the mask is on your face, so your options are wide open in terms of the pattern or design your liner can be. We picked a breathable thinner white fabric because we could reuse it in future projects. You can use a thinner fabric for your lining because your outer fabric will likely be thicker.
Then, you will want to find some kind of elastic. You do not want the elastic to be too thick to the point where it would hurt behind your ears or on your wrist. The thinner the width, the better.
You will also need some way to sew your mask and scrunchie set. While it would not be a preferred method, you could hand sew the set. I would sincerely recommend using a simple running stitch on a sewing machine. It is not too terribly difficult to learn how to work a sewing machine, there are likely dozens of tutorials online. But in the event that you do not have a method to sew mechanically, you can sew by hand.
Begin with the mask
Now that you have gathered all of your materials, it is time to start on our set! I always start with the mask first as it is always the most time-consuming for me, but you can start with either the mask or the scrunchie first.
Normally I use a free face mask pattern that I found online to construct my masks, but for the sake of writing this article, I attempted to recreate one of my favorite pleated masks that I bought from the store.
You will want to cut out a six-inch by six-inch square from your lining and your patterned fabric and try to make both as straight as possible while cutting the pieces out. After you cut each square out, you will want to pin the right sides together, so that the pattern that will be exposed while you are wearing the mask is facing the lining. You will want to leave a small gap somewhere in the pinning so when you are done sewing the square, you can turn it inside out. While you are pinning, it should look somewhat like this:
Once you are done pinning, it is time for your first round of sewing. I just used a simple running stitch along the sides, but do whatever stitch your heart desires. Again, you should be left with a small gap to turn the mask inside out. It might be a little tough to flip it inside out, especially if you made the hole a little small, but if you need to you can rip out a few stitches to make it easier.
Once you flipped your square inside out, you will want to tuck in the fabric where you flipped the fabric inside out. You can iron over the opening quickly with the flaps tucked in, but that is optional.
Pleat and pin mask
Now it is time to pleat and pin the mask. For mine, I folded mine twice, each section being about an inch and a half tall. The fold itself does not have to be very big, and you can fold yours in whatever pleat-formation best fits for you. While you are folding the fabric, you will want to pin it while you are working. You could also pin your elastic to the fabric in this step, but I saved it as an extra step so I could focus on sewing the pleats.
After you fold your fabric, run the mask through the sewing machine again. I also used a running stitch for this, as it looked the cleanest to me.
After that round of sewing, I cut out two five-inch pieces of elastic and pinned one strand on each side of the mask. Again, you can adjust the sizing of the elastic to your personal preference if you’d like. After you pinned the elastic to the fabric, it should look similar to this:
When you are done pinning the elastic on the mask, you will just want to stitch the elastic onto each corner. Once you are done with that, I recommend ironing over the mask to set the pleats. Again, this is optional, but I liked how it gave the mask more structure.
Create a matching scrunchie
Now you are done with your mask! Let’s switch over to making the second part of our set – the scrunchie.
See sewing patterns for scrunchies here.
For the scrunchie, I cut out a piece of fabric that was roughly 3 inches by 15 inches. I know it sounds like a lot of fabric, but the excess of fabric with the elastic is what makes the fabric scrunch.
You will want to pin the right sides together to make a long tube. At each end of your fabric tube, you will want to leave about an inch to an inch and a half unpinned. After you have pinned the fabric, sew along the edge of the tube.
Once you are done sewing the tube, you will want to turn the tube right side out. You will be left with a tube with openings on each side. This is where you will thread your elastic through the tube.
Thread the elastic
For the elastic, I just cut the elastic to where it fits comfortably around my wrist. I recommend making it a tad looser than you think you want it because you will end up sewing the ends of the elastic together. While measuring the elastic around your wrist, be sure not to stretch it or else it will end up much tighter than you expect it to be.
To thread the elastic through the fabric tube, I clip one end of the elastic to one end of the tube, that way the elastic does not end up getting lost in the tube. It may make it easier to thread the elastic through if you scrunch the fabric in the process.
After you successfully thread the elastic through, you will want to safety pin the elastic together. The reason I am recommending using a safety pin and not a regular pin is that if you use a regular pin, one side could easily pop off and escape into the fabric. Using a safety pin ensures the two pieces stay together.
With the two sides of the elastic pinned together, you will want to sew the elastic together. You can probably get away with a hand stitch here since it would maybe be too small to try and go through the sewing machine, but I would be sure to go over the stitch a few times if you do try to hand sew.
Sew fabric together and complete scrunchie
When you are done sewing the elastic together, you will now need to sew the fabric together. I would first start at the very end of the tube, where it is most circular, and not the openings in the tube. You could also hand stitch this section, but I find if you reposition your fabric every so often, it will work great on the sewing machine.
Once you are done with this step, your scrunchie is almost complete! It should look somewhat like this:
Now you just need to tuck in the edges of the scrunchies and sew over the edge.
And now you are done making your new mask and scrunchie set! You can make multiple matching sets to mix and match with as well!