Sewing Video – Face Masks for Hospitals

A Facebook group called Ozark Face Masks for Cox and Mercy Hospitals is organizing volunteers to sew masks for our local hospitals using kits with materials they provide and that the hospitals know can go through their sterilization process. They organize curbside pick-up of kits and drop-off of the finished masks at churches in Springfield and Branson Missouri.

You can also make this type of mask with you own non-woven fabric. One type is called OLY FUN fabric, and it’s the same type of fabric that a lot of cheap tote bags are made from.

When I got my first kit, I was pretty frustrated trying to sew the polypropylene material because I am so used to sewing cotton fabric that I can iron and pin. Luckily my friend Emmie sent me a video that helped me get started, and then I developed a few techniques on my own.

Now I’m trying to help other volunteers to learn, some of whom haven’t sew in a while because, it’s all hands on deck!

So I made this video showing how I make the masks, with a few basic sewing tips added.

Important update: I made a mistake at the end of the video when I said the finished mask should be 4 1/2″ – it should be 3 1/2″.

The main part of the mask is a 7” x 8” rectangle and the two tie-on strips are each 1/2” x 36”. The finished mask should be 7″ x 3 1/2″.

Cutting the sections is a little tricky because the fabric came to use in big sheets, blue and white, joined together at the sides. We separate the two sheets for single layers, and then it doesn’t matter which color you use for either sections. But the blue sometimes has a lot of tape on it, which can’t be removed without tearing the fabric.

We can cut around the tape, but I prefer to cut the strips from the blue, leaving the tape in place and discarding any strips that would have tape near the face. The material can also be wrinkled, so it helps to have sewing tools like a cutting board, ruler, rotary cutter, and clips to hold the fabric together while cutting.

Here are the kit instructions and the template to mark the pleats.

I’m also a part of another Facebook group started by art quilter, photographer, and web designer Gloria Hansen called Sew to Stop COVID-19. The group has been exchanging mask patterns, sewing and material tips, and call of need from hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities across the county.

Gloria has done a wonderful job of organizing all the information on a website that went live just this week. It’s a great resource and there is an interactive US map showing Calls of Need, and anyone can submit facilities that they know are asking for help.

Sew to Stop COVID-19 website

Now I’ll go back to my sewing machine to make some masks for my friends and family using my own fabrics.