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Sewing Face Masks

April 10, 2020 2:03 PM | Olivia Naumann (Administrator)

Hello Textiles West community. Today I have gathered some resources for you about making masks to help support our healthcare workers. There is a lot of information out there regarding face masks and COVID-19, so hopefully this post can help organize and streamline for those of us who were feeling a little overwhelmed.

My favorite source during these uncertain times has been the World Health Organization (WHO) website. To do a brief overview of their page, titled “When and how to use masks,” the WHO urges the public to wear a mask only if you are coughing or sneezing. If you are otherwise healthy, the WHO says, “you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with a suspected 2019-nCoV infection.” Here is a link to the page I am referencing if you have not already visited it: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

It is important to refrain from buying and wearing masks when we are healthy in case we indirectly take masks away from those who need them the most. Personally, I find this difficult to completely adhere to because of the potential for delayed symptoms. Going grocery shopping feels just slightly safer if I can cover my nose and mouth. For that reason, I decided to sew my own mask and found it to be a very simple project. After making a few more for my roommates, there was still plenty of extra fabric. I realized I could keep going and donate the rest to healthcare workers in need.  JoAnn fabrics has an extremely easy donation program going. All stores are accepting masks with the goal of reaching 100,000.000 donations nationwide. (They’re already at 47,384,940!) Simply call ahead and drop off any sewn masks at your local JoAnn fabrics store.  Link: https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response/?icn=hpz1&ici=make-to-give-response

Finally, if you’re looking for an easy pattern, I have two different options for you. This pattern from Washington Post was how I started off. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/05/how-sew-your-own-fabric-mask/?arc404=true

The materials and measurements you will need are the following:

(1) Two pieces of 12-inch-long and 7.25-inch-wide 100 percent cotton fabric (tight-weave cotton or quilting cotton). If possible, use two different colors to indicate the mask’s inside and outside.

(2) One piece of 12-inch-long and 7.25-inch-wide interfacing or lightweight, breathable, stiff fabric.

(3) Fourteen inches of 1/8-inch flat elastic, stretch yarn or additional fabric for ties.

If you feel like getting a bit fancier, here is a 10 minute youtube tutorial for a mask with a filter pocket by Melanie Ham. This mask uses extra fabric as ties instead of elastic, which was more appealing to me than trying to find elastic right now. 

The measurements for this tutorial are:

(1) 9 inches x 6 inches in Color A

(2) 9 x 6 in Color B (for filter pocket)

(3) 1 3/4 x 40 strips of fabric for ties

(4) 4.5 inch piece of pipe cleaner

I sincerely hope this helped a little bit. If you have the time to make some masks, feel free to post a picture on social media and tag Textiles West! I look forward to seeing them. :-) 

Photo credit:

Pink and white mask- Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

Mask pattern from Washington Post staff


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