UPDATE: A Few Specific Requests from Local Healthcare Workers

I've had the opportunity to talk to a few local healthcare workers over the past 24 hours here and got some great feedback and requests:

1. The Deaconess (basic pleated mask) pattern is too small for most men. They are in serious need of larger ones. If you're using the Deaconess pattern, aim to start with about an 8x11 rectangle of fabric to make them a bit more roomy.

2. Their ears are getting sore from all that elastic while they're working long hours. Try making the headbands with buttons on them (I'll share a pattern for that ASAP) or make the version with cloth ties. They do say that it's faster to put them on/take them off with elastic, just...everyone's ears are getting sore. 

3. There have also been requests for more gender neutral and "dude" fabric prints. Obviously, use what you've got and don't go to the store unless you have to, but if you do happen to have prints that fit in those categories, I know they'd be appreciated. 

Thank you all for the love, support, encouragement and participation in doing what we can for those who are out meeting this mess head on!


“Prior to modern disposable masks, washable fabric masks were standard use for hospitals, We will be able to sterilize these masks and use them repeatedly as needed.  While it’s less than ideal, we want to do our best to protect our staff and patients during this pandemic.”  - Dawn Rogers, MSN, RN, FNP-C, Patient Safety & Infection Prevention Office.

Use This Mask Pattern if You're Making a Bunch!

This is the mask pattern that is currently one of the most popular among those making masks around the world. Out of all of the patterns I've tested, these are by far the FASTEST option if your goal is to make as many as possible. I prefer the cloth tie version as I can't imagine having elastic around my ears for long hours, but some places do specifically request it so always go with what the specs are from the place you're making them for, and obviously, please work with what you've got - if you can skip a trip out in public by doing elastic, then by all means, do the elastic ones. (also, including a link to how to make your own bias tape to use for straps in case you need to! It's easy and kind of fun.)  Tip: we found the sizing on this to be a great fit for womens sizes, but it was a little bit small for the men that tested it out. I wound up cutting my fabric rectangles to be 11" wide and 12" tall and that was a far better fit. Also, it does not include a pocket to put a filter in, but you can always put a third layer of material on the inside and leave the top edge of that layer open if a pocket is needed. 

Deaconess Mask With Cloth Ties (Sewing Instructions, PDF)

Deaconess Mask With Elastic (Sewing Instructions, PDF)

(My friend Sara Hemmeke made up a bunch of terrific videos showing the process of making the Deaconess masks, if you're a visual learner go ahead over and watch those here.)

How to Make Your Own Bias Tape for Mask Straps

Ok, so personally I've found that twill tape is totally awesome for making mask straps with, and given the option, that's what I'd use for all of them. But bias tape runs a close second, so here's how you can make your own, because you'll go through it fast and all of those little 3-yard packets of it from the store add up quickly! (Here's a great source for twill tape if you'd prefer. Tell them if you're using it for masks and they'll expedite your order.)

Here's the article I followed when I learned how to make my own Bias tape! It's great for making the straps for masks with (or anything else you need bias tape for before you can go to the store again!) 

Here's a great video to follow to learn to make bias tape if that's more your speed...

And here's an awesome printable bias tape maker tool to use while you iron your bias tape to make it a thousand times easier.  (***UPDATE*** it looks like the link on the site for the bias tape tool is broken, I'm reaching out to Scientific Seamstress to see if she's got a new link - here's a link to the PDF file in the wayback machine from archive.org to get it in the meantime - https://web.archive.org/web/20150213150148/http://www.scientificseamstress.com/BiasTapeMaker1.pdf )

Free 3D Cloth Face Mask Pattern with Pocket

I've been working on this cloth 3D mask pattern for a few weeks and I absolutely LOVE it, but full disclaimer - it takes more time to make these ones! They are very nice and have some cool details, but if your main goal is to make a ton of masks in a limited amount of time, I would go with the Deaconess pattern. If you just want to make a few really nice masks, try this pattern out. Bonus: there's a doll sized version in there, so you can give something to your wiggly toddler to keep them happy and help them feel involved in what you're doing <3 Here's the pattern, free and made with love: Click here to download pattern (PDF) 

And here's a detailed video tutorial that I put together on how to sew the 3D Cloth Mask:)