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Home Sewn Fabric Face Masks

Posted on 03.24.2020

By Anna Nozaki

"The shortage of N-95 and surgical masks and other protective gear to treat the number of patients in need of hospitalization is so dire that Ventura hospital officials are looking to the community to supply handmade masks and equipment." (New York Times)

Sewers - this is your time to shine! If you have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills, you can help! We have a connection to doctors and staff at VCMC Hospital, so we know they are accepting donations of these specific homemade masks. Each healthcare worker is given one N95 mask per shift. They will use a clean homemade fabric mask over their N95 mask every time they see a different patient and then put the fabric mask in the laundry. This will extend the use of their N95 mask and make it safer for the healthcare workers and patients. They plan to use these masks for five months and asked that we follow this pattern as closely as possible. I made another version earlier, but have now been informed that this mask pattern discussed on Indivisible Ventura is the one they want us using.

We will be collecting masks for donating to the hospital. There is a cardboard box outside our shop's front door. I'll also leave some scrap fabric there if you need some for making masks. Please read all directions and notes below, which have been updated.

To make one mask, you will need:

  • one fat quarter of tightly woven cotton (or cotton/poly blend) fabric (21 x 18 inches)
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • iron

Do not use elastic! It will not hold up in the industrial strength laundry.

I've provided a new pattern PDF that was requested by the folks at VCMC. Please use this specific pattern and instructions for delivery. The hospital is asking for 3,500 masks like this. This pattern a bit more labor intensive than some other mask patterns, but they plan to use these for 5 months. Our efforts will be worth it! This mask doesn't use elastic and has darts to make the fit really comfortable.

Here are their instructions on what to do with finished masks:

Please follow the instructions as exactly as you can, using two new thick pieces of 100% cotton (or cotton/poly blend materials) for infection control. Please wash and dry the fabric before cutting. After finishing mask, please wash your hands, wipe down your ironing board, and iron the mask(s) on HIGH to help kill germs and put them in ziplock bags (you can put more than one mask in a bag).

You can drop off finished masks in ziplock bags at Cattywampus. We are collecting masks in a box outside our front door. Thank you!