The CDC has again updated its mask-wearing recommendations based on several new studies  from the scientific community. As of July 14, 2020, CDC Director, Robert Redfield affirms, “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

In addition, standard personal prevention practices are also still important, such as: hand washing, staying home when sick, maintaining social distancing of 6’.

As the testing of face covering options continues, DIY mask makers should be encouraged to hear that a stitched, two-layer cotton mask was the most protective, limiting the droplet spread to 2.5 inches.

You can read the full CDC press release from 07/14/2020 here, and can review the full mask comparison study here.

An August overview article in the Wall Street Journal does a very good job of laying out all the recent studies. As mentioned above, it is impressive that our handmade masks perform so well. One particularly interesting note from the article states, “For an added benefit, rubbing the outer layer of the mask with a latex glove before donning it creates static electricity—which Stanford researchers believe can better prevent virus particles from passing from the mouth to outside of the mask.”

In order to continue to insure medical-grade masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are being saved and directed to the frontline healthcare workers who need them most, the rest of the population is encouraged to use DIY items. Makers are the best! The call goes out, and we’re ready to help.

We developed this resource article as a central collection point for links to free patterns and other information for making Masks, Scrub Caps, and Gowns. The article debuted on 03/23/20, and we’ve updated it frequently since then and will continue to do so, adding new tutorials and resources as we come across them.

Demands are different in various areas, so please continue to posts your comments below with tips, suggestions, and local needs/news from your city/town/state/country. Let us know if there are particular requests from local healthcare professionals, what you’ve heard regarding the best materials and tutorials to use, where the donation collections points are, etc. Together we can make a difference.

Below are twelve recommended face mask static tutorials, including our own No Sew mask

A few notes about fit from Scientific American: A DIY mask should fit without gaps and fully cover your nose and mouth. The most comfortable option is for the mask to be tucked under the chin. Take special care to ensure a snug fit across the bridge of the nose. If your mask doesn’t have a flexible wire built in, you may be able to fashion one from a pipe cleaner, a tie from a coffee bag or even recycle the flexible wire from a used paper mask. If the mask is on correctly, air should pass through it rather than around it.

Easy Face Masks Three Ways with Fabric.com

DIY tutorial featuring channels for continuous tie + how to insert nose wire – Sweet Red Poppy

Homemade Face Covering Instructions from the CDC

From Joann – 12 mask tutorials in a variety of creative styles

From Fat Quarter Shop: Pleated Mask with Hair Tie Loops + Different Sizes

From Fat Quarter Shop: Pleated Mask with Straps

Five Minute No-Sew Mask – S4H

Hand Sewn Mask Tutorial from the New York Times

Children’s DIY Mask with Bunny Face Appliqué from Janome

Instructables Craft CIY Face Mask

Fu Face Mask from freesewing.org

Face Mask Warriors

Here are nine video tutorials we liked on YouTube + Vimeo:

A NEW template from Creative Grids: we were impressed with the shaped mask template in hard plastic offered from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop. It has markings for several sizes, seam allowance, etc. There’s an included video tutorial.

Shannon Fabrics Version – two options with both printed and video tutorials and free pattern in multiple sizes

From Mimi G: Comfortable Fitted Face mask with Full Loop Elastic

From Dritz: Pleated Face Mask with Nose Wire and Filter Pocket

DIY Covid-19 Fabric Mask with Filter Pocket and Stretchy Cord

Joann Fabrics How to Make a Face Mask

How to Make a Face Mask with Filter Pocket and Adjustable Wire

DIY Face Masks from Filtration Materials – closer to N95 options

A Surgeon’s Guide to Making a Surgical Mask, Lauren Streicher, MD

Video Credit: Images below are from the DIY Covid-19 Fabric Mask with Filter Pocket and Stretchy Cord video tutorial, showing interfacing inserted into a pocket as added filtration.

Hair Covers

Another item that is easy to pull together from fabric you have on hand is a hair cover, also known as a scrub cap or skull cap. We found three free tutorials for you to check out. Because elastic can be rather hard to come by these days, we specifically looked for tutorials that did not specify it.

From Rob Appell of Man Sewing – Video Tutorial on Scrub/Skull Cap

Specifically for longer hair Surgeon’s Scrub Cap PDF tutorial from Larissa Fontenot – best viewed on page

Medical Student’s Personal Scrub Cap Video Tutorial

In addition, there are home healthcare workers who prefer a “buff” over a traditional scrub cap as a hair cover. We already have a great S4H project for our version of this versatile head scarf. We don’t recommend it as a mask replacement. Find our project tutorial here.

Gowns

DIY gowns come in two basic styles. One is more smock-like and more likely to be used by patients or less-at-risk care staff. The other style is called an isolation gown that covers more thoroughly and tightly with elastic around the ends of the long sleeves and a much higher neckline. We were only able to source one reputable free pattern for each style. However, you can purchase commercial patterns from a variety of sources. Bear in mind that gown construction takes much more fabric – usually 2+ yards.

Free Smock Style Gown Pattern from Lazy Girl Designs

Free Isolation Style Gown Pattern from Fashion Girls for Humanity

Why DIY?

Early on, there were a lot on concerns about whether DIY masks were even appropriate to make. There was conflicting information from news sources, the WHO, the CDC, and local governments about what could and could not be used. That is no longer the case. Since April, the CDC and others have been advising the public to wear cloth masks in public spaces. A face mask continues to be one of the best ways to cut down on airborne respiratory droplet spread. Wearing a mask in public also keeps you more aware of not touching your own face.

As mentioned above, medical-grade masks and other PPE should be directed to the front line healthcare workers. The rest of us should focus on DIY solutions. We certainly understand that DIY items are not likely to be used within critical care situations, but they can help within our personal environment.

For the power sewers out there, after making masks for yourself and those around you, extra masks can provide protection for people who don’t have anything. Remember – there is a wide range of workers and others who need the masks, so while the DIY variety is unlikely to go to surgical staff, hospitals and other care facilities are still welcoming donations to help protect admin personnel, janitorial staff, nursing assistants, people delivering meals, and more. 

Speaking of these amazing folks on the frontline, we were blown away by a recent article from the University of Florida Health’s Department of Anesthesiology. A professor there created a simple respirator mask from the sterile wrapping that is normally used to surround surgical instrument trays before they pass through gas sterilization or an autoclave. This material comes in 4′ x 4′ sheets and is typically discarded after surgical instrument trays are unwrapped and before coming into contact with patients. About 10 masks can be made from one sheet.

“The innovative mask uses Halyard H600 two-ply spun polypropylene that cannot be penetrated by water, bacteria or particles. It blocks 99.9% of particulates, making the masks about 4% more effective at blocking particulate material than the N95 masks, according to Bruce Spiess, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology in the UF College of Medicine, who made that calculation based on the manufacturer’s specifications.”

The image below shows two of the prototypes created from kits being developed by UF Health. They hope to take it across the country as nearly all facilities use this same material. We don’t know when or where the kits might become available but wanted to bring this brilliant re-purposing idea to your attention so you can be on the lookout in your area. Here is a link to the full article.

Family members and friends of the Sew4Home Team are currently working on the front lines of this healthcare crisis. They mince no words when it comes to describing the turmoil, and they are just as vocal when it comes to their appreciation of the help that is coming from all corners of the country. From one nurse, “It’s so heartwarming to see how people are trying to help and understanding what we are up against…please let everyone know that it is so appreciated, not just for the physical product, but the emotional support … beyond measure!”

In the photo above, S4H Seamstress Team Member, Debbie Guild models the latest mask she made for local donation.

Where Can I Donate?

In terms of where to donate, that is changing daily, and we will continue to search for and post any news we find. At the moment, we know that most Joann Fabric stores are acting as donation collection points. You can also follow the hashtags #millionmaskchallenge and #millionmaskmayday to find programs and projects around the USA and the world. And, if you know of donation points in your area, please comment below. The more information out there, the better!

We read a recent article in the Hollywood Reporter that explained how in Los Angeles – where most film and television projects are on indefinite hold – IATSE’s Theatre Wardrobe Locals, the Hollywood Costumers Local and Costume Designers Guild are leading an effort through which its members will sew protective masks for immediate distribution to health care facilities. That is maker re-tooling at its best!

There are social media groups that operate as clearing houses to share information and build community. Mask Makers and Face Mask Warriors on Facebook are both strong options.

Finally, if you know of people within your own circle who may have purchased commercial face masks, gowns, wipes, etc. and are keeping these extra stores for themselves – or worse, to sell at a profit — PLEASE encourage them to do the right thing and donate these supplies to healthcare facilities where they are needed the most! This is not the time for profit over people.

In the comments below is a specific request for masks in the Midland, Texas area. If you are in the area, please take a look. Thanks go out already to Cheryl Baltz to answered the call immediately.

NEWS ARTICLE: This article on a Sewing Army Making Masks appeared on 03/25/20 in The New York Times. We found it particularly heartwarming and it made us proud to be a part of the Maker Community.

REQUEST IN UTAH: We received an email on 04/08/20 from a visitor in Utah with a request for mask donations. The Gail Miller Homeless Resource Center in Salt Lake City is looking for help. In you are in this area, you can reach out for more details to: HHernandez@ccsutah.org.

Resources + Links for Supplies

If you are looking for fabric, we were impressed by the outreach of one of our S4H sponsors: Fabric Wholesale Direct. They recently donated 500 yards of clear vinyl material over to Providence Health and Services in Seattle. This fabric allowed the staff at Providence to make emergency face guards to protect the health care workers. In addition, because FWD is a direct manufacturer of quality fabrics, they have been able to provide the large quantities of cotton fabrics that healthcare workers and hospitals are needing right now to make face masks and other PPE gear. They also sell direct to you, the individual consumer.

Some mask making supplies, especially elastic, have been hard to find at the retail level. Our friends at Fat Quarter Shop recently notified us that they now not only have elastic available, it comes in a rainbow of cool colors! See their full range of Galaxy Notions elastic spools here.

And, we were contacted by the Xpand shoelace company who sent us some of their elastic shoelaces as an elastic alternative for masks. What a cool idea. You can find out more here, including about their own Xpand mask tutorial.

Below is a chart developed by Researchers at Cambridge University who tested a wide range of household materials for homemade masks. To measure effectiveness, they shot Bacillus atrophaeus bacteria (0.93-1.25 microns) and Bacteriophage MS virus (0.023 microns in size) at different household materials. This is a helpful starting point when determining what to use for your DIY face masks.

When working with quilting cotton, we have heard suggestions to look at batiks because they have a tighter weave and a higher thread count. Yes, even with two layers, it is still breathable.

 

Additional Filtration Notes, Links + Comments

This fabric company in Pennsylvania produces specialty fabrics that align well with the current need for DIY masks. They have produced several informative articles about their fabrics in general and filtration fabrics in particular as they relate to mask making. We do not have direct shopping experience with this company, but found their information to be helpful, thorough, and detailed. This link takes you to their specific post about filtration materials. From there you can browse to other resources.

One of our visitors commented below about using a maxi pad as a filtering insert between the layers of a mask. Many of the patterns listed below that feature a pocket recommend interfacing as a filtering layer.

Here is an article we found by a person who tested using HEPA filter material. In this case, the person took apart a thin furnace filter. Others have suggested cutting up HEPA vacuum bags. It’s been noted to make sure you are not using a filter that might contain fiberglass as that can be harmful to your lungs.

We have not found any definitive information on paper-based filter options, such as coffee filters. Some anecdotal comments emphasize that paper might not be best because it retains moisture as you breathe.

Let us know, in the comments below, if you have tried any of these options (with success or not) and/or have heard of other positive alternatives.

The importance of caring for and cleaning your DIY Face Masks

All DIY fabric masks should be laundered in hot, soapy water after every use! Put them on AND take them off using the stretchy ear loops or ties; don’t touch the front of the mask. Then immediately wash your hands. ALL the mask tutorials are fast and easy; make several for each person in your household so there’s no temptation to wear them more than once before washing.

Sew4Home has designed a cute Face Mask Zipper Pouch designed to hold your favorite face mask plus a spare as well as additional protective supplies in the outside pleated pockets, like gloves and wipes. Best of all – it’s a beginner friendly project that is the perfect next step for all those new sewers out there who are ready to step up from mask making to a fun, new project. Click for the free pattern.

And remember, DIY masks are not some magical method for keeping us 100% safe. Social distancing and hand washing are still just as important.

Although the recommendation says “everyone” should be wearing a mask remember that cloth face coverings should NOT be placed on children under age two. Never put a mask or any other face covering on an infant or an incapacitated adult who is not able to adjust or remove the mask themselves as this could compromise their ability to breathe. 

Again, don’t forget to leave a comment below with your local information, experiences or other information to share. No negative comments, please. Our goal is collect resources not moderate disagreements. There is no one perfect solution, but if we work together, we can come up with multiple ways to help.

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margaret Watkins
margaret Watkins
2 months ago

I looked at your link to a Wadoodle fabrics. I have some concerns. The fabric that they are touting for face masks contains silver. Silver is anti microbial yes, however the Covid-19 is a virus. Virus are not affected by silver. Paying more per yard for silver being added to your fabric does not give you greater protection.

Cindy
Cindy
6 months ago

Is there a pattern for the mask that Debbie Guild made?

Sarah Jane
Sarah Jane
6 months ago

can you use cotton batting for a filler? Or can you use flannel as a filter? Single layer of double?

Kathy
Kathy
6 months ago

I would love to have Debbie Guild’s pattern or tutorial. I love that she has different fabrics for front and back of her mask.

judy8266@yahoo.com
judy8266@yahoo.com
6 months ago

Somewhere I read that wedding aisle runner (poly linen) could be used as a filter insert–but have not seen any mention since then. Anyone know if poly linen is safe and breathable?

Judy
Judy
6 months ago

dimensions for a child size available?

Marie Nelson
Marie Nelson
5 months ago
Reply to  Judy

I ordered 2 for my grandson made of a fabric print that I had hoped would encourage him to wear the masks. That aside, this is for a pleated mask and the fabric was cut to 7 inches width by 6 inches height and then sewn with 1/2 inch seam allowance. Grosgrain ribbon ties are used but you could easily attach elastic ear loops instead. There is no filter pocket and no nose wire. This fits a child who is 5 years & 10 months old and whose head measured 20 inches across the bridge of the nose, over the… Read more »

Robin
Robin
6 months ago

I am in Pennsylvania and have purchased from the company you linked in the article…Wazoodle. They have wonderful performance fabrics. They are great to do business with and the fabrics are wonderful and well priced. And right now they are inundated. You can buy from them w confidence!

S Ocon
S Ocon
6 months ago

Can ties on mask be made of 70% polyester /cotton blend… the masks are 100% cotton. …Just asking about ties at top and bottom of mask

Momo
Momo
6 months ago
Reply to  S Ocon

Poly anything doesn’t stay tied well. Like cotton shoelaces, cotton mask ties stay tied much better. Healthcare workers can’t take a chance on having a mask fall down while working with a patient. And sure – cotton shoelaces would work just fine as ties!

Susan Ocon
Susan Ocon
6 months ago

Can 70% polyester / 30% cotton be used for the ties…the masks portion is 100% cotton … After making I hear you not suppose to use polyester ….but only used on ties and top and bottom of mask.

Jeanne T.
Jeanne T.
6 months ago

This is a great site! I am trying to make masks for several places/people including family who work in public and healthcare. I don’t know if it is possible, but it would be lovely to be able to copy/paste and also to right click to open links in a new tab. I had to type links and info out, or else have to leave this page to open them. Just saying with this great info, that would save time in a timely situation we find ourselves in now with covid19. Does anyone know how you would find out if HEPA… Read more »

Momo
Momo
6 months ago

I’m a Gator mom, so SO excited about this! Also an R.N., and need to get the word out to not use the ear elastic for health care workers. Elastic doesn’t hold up in their laundries, and it makes ears sore. For everyone else, is fine, if you can find it. It’s in short supply. Cloth ties made from 1.25” wide strips, 12” long x 4,:folded into the center, then folded in half and top stitched are perfect. So is cotton twill tape. I even use cotton thread throughout to be sure it can be sterilized in an autoclave if… Read more »

Pat Jenkins
Pat Jenkins
6 months ago

I have multiple yards of blackout drapery lining and wonder if this would be good as an inner layer for the masks.

Roma
Roma
6 months ago
Reply to  Pat Jenkins

U of Missouri Dept of Textiles and Apparel is making single use masks for their Health Unit from RocLon “special suede “ blackout drapery lining. I am using it for filter lining on cotton masks

Amy
Amy
6 months ago

Wondering, after searching the polypropolene fabric, one option that popped up was landscaping fabric…do we know if this might work as a liner or filter?

Irene
Irene
6 months ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

I am trying to get at the truth about the usefulness/safety of landscaping fabric for an interior layer (or pocket insert) for home-made cotton masks now that non-woven interfacing is so hard to find. I read Momo’s comment, and decided to do an experiment. Two things I know about landscaping fabric are (1) both N95 masks and non-woven landscaping fabric are made from the same stuff: polypropylene (2) I covered a large glass mixing bowl with landscaping fabric and secured the circumference with masking tape, then all at once poured 2 cups of water on the top of the fabric.… Read more »

Momo
Momo
6 months ago
Reply to  Amy

UF states that water cannot penetrate the material they are using. Landscape fabric is extremely porous so that rainwater can penetrate, so no, it is not suitable. Rule number one in surgery is that anything that is wet is contaminated.

Bev Cheuvront
Bev Cheuvront
6 months ago

University of Florida’s Medical School is using H600 fabric, used to cover instruments during sterilizing, and having local sewing groups making this into masks. It is nearly as good as standard medical quality masks. I’m including a link that describes the testing that went into the process. If you are interested, the Med School site also as a detailed tutorial on its site. This project ts being replicated at a number of FL hospitals now.

https://m.ufhealth.org/news/2020/uf-health-anesthesiology-team-devises-respirator-mask-made-existing-hospital-materials

Lynn
Lynn
6 months ago

I’ve been sewing surgical hats for my Nurse daughter and her team all day today, developing my own pattern. I had already watched two of the hat videos you have links for (didn’t watch the man cap). I’m glad to hear you are working on a pattern for a hat as your instructions and patterns are superbly thorough!

Katrina P. Hough
Katrina P. Hough
6 months ago

My Daughter in law found a You Tube from Denise Steinert. You can google her name and find it. It won’t let me paste in the address.

Joanne
Joanne
6 months ago

Is there a measurement for a kids mask with filter pocket?

Linda
Linda
6 months ago

I have been making face masks locally here in Shreveport, LA where the stakes are very high and resources Very low! I developed my own pattern that has minimal steps but includes a pocket where a filter can be placed, as well as a wire across the nose for shaping. You can find both a video and written tutorial here: https://www.dottodotconnections.com/videotutorials

Anna Fort
Anna Fort
6 months ago

I and my sewing friends here in Oregon are making masks for home-care workers- those that go into homes to care for the disabled and elderly! They are unable to get masks too!

Margo Trembley
Margo Trembley
6 months ago

I have been using the face mask pattern on the Craft Passion site. I use a layer of non woven lightweight interfacing for the filter and add a bendable wire nose piece . For this I use 3 vine tie pieces, about 3 inches long, enclosed in 2 strips of felt. They help the mask to seal around the top of the nose. I give them to family and friends. Don’t know how effective they are, but they make me feel safer!

Simone Ballester
Simone Ballester
6 months ago

Une lingette à poussière est appropriée pour mettre à l’intérieur du masque et peut se changer facilement

Jane Coombs
Jane Coombs
6 months ago

One our guild friends organized a group to make surgical caps for kids. She donated 100 to Miller Childres Hospital and was royally thanked. When she inquired about their needs, she was told they do 247 operations a month. The kids love their souvenir caps.

Neeta Logsetty
Neeta Logsetty
6 months ago

Re – Hair Covers: my good friend is an ER doctor and she and her colleagues prefer hair buffs to skull caps. Basically a tube of knit fabric. No elastics required. Cheers. Neeta

Linda
Linda
6 months ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

Love this idea! Quick and easy to sew!!

Neeta Logsetty
Neeta Logsetty
6 months ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

This is great!! Thanks for the free pattern. Could I use my serger instead of a stretch stitch?

Theresa OGara
Theresa OGara
6 months ago

Hi! Thanks for all your info about masks and caps. I have heard that protective gowns are also needed. Any patterns or info about those?

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