Making Face Masks

Help our healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19 to stay safe.

Can you help make face masks?

As you may have heard in the news and from any healthcare workers you know, they’re running out of personal protective equipment (PPE).  From face masks and shields to rubber gloves and gowns.

Doctors, nurses, aides, firefighters, EMTs and so many more are on the front lines without proper protection from the coronavirus.  As they’re working hard to care for patients they’re putting their own health in jeopardy.

These masks will not to be used with COVID-19 patients or in high risk situation.  But they do probably provide some protection from the routine “low risk” hospital environment.

We need both novice and expert sewers!

Right now our efforts will support  Middlesex Hospital in particular.

Thank you for considering!  Every little bit helps.

How you can help

  1.  Look at the instructions and watch video below for how to make the masks.
  2. Let us know if you need help with materials.
  3. Email us when you’re done to coordinate pickup. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any guidance.

Bottom Line

  1. Prewash fabric.
  2. Use tightly woven cotton.  A flat sheet you’re not using works well too.
  3. Elastic is somewhat hard to find.  Please contact me if you need some.  1/4- or 1/2-inch elastic, either round or flat all work.  Color doesn’t matter.
  4. If you use thicker elastic, it may need to be shorter than the pattern says…about 7 inches each.
  5. Instead of elastic you can use ribbon, shoe string or long strips of cloth sewn into a hem.  Each tie needs to be 12 inches long and can be sewn to each corner of the mask so they can be tied behind the head.

Surgical Mask Pattern

Middlesex Hospital has two different maks they’re asking for.  We have instructions here for the homemade masks.

Helpful video for how to make these.

Pocket Mask Pattern

This is another type of mask that Middlesex will accept and here only for your reference.

Pocket cloth masks instructions and pattern

This site is complicated to follow, however we found the best pattern to use for universal fit is the man one, just continue the same seam allowance around the whole thing, you don’t need the 1-inch margin when using flat elastic or tie-backs.

Also, watch the helpful video below with instructions on how to make the mask by inserting elastic or tie-backs.

 ****We are NOT doing the nose wire that she uses in this video****

Finished Product

One more note about the intention of these face masks

We want to be clear that this is for ADDED protection, to be used IN CONJUNCTION with the limited and dwindling supply.   These are NOT meant to replace an N95 mask.  

OF COURSE a real mask is better, and as soon as they’re available, please use them.

Statement on CDC site:

“[Healthcare Personnel] HCP use of homemade masks:

(bolding my own) In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.”

The intention is to make these for every healthcare worker to keep and wash at home with their work clothes to bring to their next shift.

Be safe.  Be healthy.

~Catherine