Sewing Face Masks

I am not the type of person who feels comfortable sitting still. Upon finding out that the rest of the semester will be moved online, I began searching for volunteer opportunities to help ease the impact of COVID-19 in my community.

Through social media, I was able to connect with other people who wanted to help fill the shortage of masks at our local EMS, medical centers, food banks, and homeless shelters.

We were able to use a sterile space at a local church where we could set up shop appropriately distanced. There were only about 4 of us and we made sure to constantly wash our hands and disinfect our areas. We also delivered materials for people who wanted to help from home. Our materials on site included polypropylene envelopes as well as 1/4 inch braided elastic bands, 3 sewing machines, and many spools of thread.

Cutting shapes from material.
Chain sewing initial stitch.

Together we cut out enough material to make 800 masks. We finished 270 working all day Saturday March 21, and we plan on continuing to make masks this upcoming week. Our goal right now is 1600, but we continue to receive more and more requests for donations.

Cutting and flipping masks that have been stitched together inside out.
Masks ready for straps to be sewn on.
The elastic is cut longer for the top strap.
Sewing first side of mask.
Sewing the other side of the strap on… This is the tricky part!
Finished masks waiting to be trimmed.
Finished example (this one will not be donated).

4 thoughts on “Sewing Face Masks

  1. Can you supply me with the pattern and the length of the top and bottom straps that are needed? What type of material is needed and is interfacing put inside? Thank you.

    1. Tammy, we are specifically using this template:
      However, there are other templates out there too.
      The top strap is about 31.5 cm and the bottom is about 22.5 cm. We are using a type of Polypropolene, which is a filtering material. Our material actually comes from envelopes that are typically used in fryers. We are attempting to replicate actual masks as closely as we can with what we are able to get our hands on. A member of our group has a membership to a bulk resturant store which is why we were able to get this material. I know other people are just using regular cloth. I can not say definitively which is better, but I’m sure any donations help. Currently we do not have an interfacing put inside, but we are open to innovating our design. We are also attempting to put together packages of materials to send out so people can sew from home.
      I hope this helped! Thank you for showing interest!

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