How to make and distribute protective cloth face masks for our hospital

Instructions for making a simpler, pleated face mask

Note: You can use any of the following options:
1. Seam binding ties (would be on both sides)
2. Elastic over the ear.
3. Hair ties.

We are grateful to the many community members and groups that have reached out to us, wanting to make fabric face masks. We have included a tutorial video, additional instructions, and supplies needed. Special thanks to Staples Promotional Products for donating the fabric for the “filters” we will be putting in each of the face masks. If you have extra supplies (some are in short supply in our area), please consider donating them for others to use in sewing the masks. A pattern and sewing instructions are available in the comments below.

You can drop off the face masks or donated supplies in the vestibule at the front entry (north side) of the OCAHS main campus at 1000 Lincoln Circle SE in Orange City. There will be a tub for donated supplies and a tub for finished/sewn masks.

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have elastic or elastic hair ties, please do NOT sew the casings on each end.  Just leave them un-sewn. It  makes it easier for our other seamstresses to insert the hair ties or elastic when they have supplies to do so.

Materials Needed:
• Outside fabric: 100% quilters cotton or 100% cotton fabric
• Inside fabric: 100% cotton or cotton blend t-shirt fabric (plain pattern or light color so the person knows which side goes against their face). Preferably new or gently used fabric. Do not use any part of the t-shirt that has printing on it.
• 4-inch Pipe cleaner (You can also use 20 gauge or heavier floral wire, straightened paperclip, etc.). This will be sewn into the mask over the nose area so the mask can be molded to the face.
• 2 Large hair ties or 2 – 6.5 inch pieces elastic (You could use 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch). If you have cord elastic available, use 7-inch pieces and knot the ends to make a circle.

Additional instructions:
Please prewash all fabric before sewing so that it does not shrink. Masks will be washed in a color-bleach for re-use, so please backstitch all seams for durability. If possible, use a ball point machine needle and ball point pins to avoid putting more holes in the mask. If you need to pin the layers together for cutting or sewing, please put pins only in the seam allowances and not into the face of the mask to avoid making holes.
On the wire or pipe cleaner, we ask that you bend the end over to form a little loop. That way there is not a sharp end on the wire that could poke a hole in the mask. If you are uncomfortable doing a zig zag stitch over the wire with your machine, you can also sew it in by hand. You can stitch through the little loop on one end and continue stitching along the wire by looping over it and through the fabric until you get to the other end. Then make a couple of stitches through the loop at the end to help secure it.

A disposable filter will be added to each face mask by hospital staff after the masks are donated.

If you do not have some of the needed supplies, we have had some donations. Please contact Michelle Vaas at (712) 441-6614 and we will arrange to get them to you.