These are the best DIY medical face mask tutorials to use if you’d like to sew them to donate to local hospitals.
There is a shortage of medical face masks. Hospitals are in desperate need of face masks for medical care professionals. If you are staying at home during this crazy time and know how to sew, you can use your time and skills for the greater good by sewing fabric face masks and donating them to your local hospital. Let’s craft for a cause!
When I read this article, I knew it was something I could help with. I plan to put my fabric stash to good use to help my local hospital prepare for the influx of patients they expect in the coming weeks.
Face masks should be made from high quality, tightly woven 100% cotton material. Remember that there are male and female workers who will use them, so a variety of colors and patterns would be appreciated.
Fabric face masks do not replace medical grade face masks. However, because of the shortage, many hospitals are using them in non-critical areas of the hospital or they are being layered with a medical grade mask.
Here is what a friend (whose husband is a doctor) had to say after making a batch of masks to donate:
Hubby got his first round of handmade face masks at his ER yesterday. This IS helpful and also helps raise morale at the ER, because they feel they aren’t facing this alone. But! Here’s some feedback I hope will be helpful.
1. They need to be slightly wider (taller vertically!) so they can reach from above the nose to below the chin.
2. If you can vary the sizing on the ones you make, that’s helpful. The ones delivered fit some people. But some docs like my hubby are bigger. Many nurses have quite small faces. So maybe size your pattern up and down so you have small medium and large if you can.
3. The masks he got had elastic that went around the ears. These have a lot of fit restrictions. If you can do ties behind the head, they will fit way more people.
Without a good fit, they aren’t helpful. ❤️
You people doing this—your efforts are appreciated! In many places the docs are allowed ONE disposable face mask per day. Within 3 hours, my husband’s has stretched and is useless (the mask worn over the N95) and handmade masks would be great replacements. (And they need to be washable so they can reuse them).
Most mask patterns I’m seeing are the same size: 6″x9″, so it might be good to try making a 7″x12″ mask or to vary the sizes a bit so doctors and nurses can choose one that fits them best.
Before you begin sewing, call your local hospital to see if they accept donations of fabric masks and to find out any specific requirements they might have.
PHD students from the UC Berkeley School of Public health have compiled a list of hospitals accepting donations of homemade masks. It is organized by state and is being updated frequently.
Surgical Fabric Face Masks You Can Sew
Created by a nurse, this is my favorite pattern because it doesn’t require elastic. Nurses say they prefer tie masks because they are more adjustable than elastic and more comfortable to wear for long periods. The page includes a free printable pattern and good instructions.
This is the most basic medical face mask pattern with two loops of elastic that slip over the ears. If you are a beginner sewist, you can handle this pattern. It includes a video tutorial to walk you through every step.
This mask features side elastic ear loops, but instead of a pleated mask, the fabric is cut into an ergonomic shape designed to comfortably fit over the nose. It also features a pocket to insert a medical grade mask inside. This pattern also comes in several sizes geared for children and adults.
This mask would probably be the most comfortable for healthcare workers to use because it features a bendable wire piece in the nose to help it keep its shape and bias tape ties to help customize fit.
This face mask features contrasting trim along the two outside edges, which gives the mask a nice finished look and would probably help keep the elastic secure. The tutorial has great step-by-step photos too.
This is a nice Youtube video tutorial for the most basic pleated mask with elastic loops.
So there you go… several different medical face mask tutorials for you to pick from. Now let’s all get to work!
I have felt so isolated and helpless over the last week of our home isolation. I am so excited to have something worthwhile to focus on. I’ve always said that crafting is the best therapy and I stand by that now more than ever. By making masks, not only am I helping my local medical workers, but it will keep my hands busy and my mind calm and give me a purpose to these long days at home.
And to doctors, nurses, hospital staff, first responders and all of those individuals who are working tirelessly to care for others, THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Hang in there during this crazy time.