Sewing Handmade Face Masks

March 21, 2020

Homemade Face Masks

Hello, hello my friends! 

There is no question in my mind that we all KNOW the power of sewing. For a lot of us we sew because it saves our sanity. It saves and improves our body image because we actually have clothes that fit us. It saves our families as sewing is an income for a lot of us.

Well, now we have a call to use the power of sewing to do another type of saving! We have the power, as the amazing sewing community that we are, to save the lives or at least help protect the health of our health care professionals.

As we are a global sewing community, I'm sure you've all seen posts and groups popping up about sewing face masks for health care professionals and our immunocompromised neighbors. If you feel so inclined, please join in this movement to help care for those who help care for us.

Homemade face masks do not protect against covid-19. What homemade face masks do do is allow for medically approved masks to be saved for critical situations our health care providers might find themselves in. Homemade masks may be worn over medically approved masks to protect and prolong the life of the medically approved mask itself, as the homemade mask can stop fluids or other items that may render the medically approved mask unusable.

Below is a link to what the CDC says about homemade face masks. In crisis capacity situations, which many of our hospitals are at or nearing, homemade face mask are allowed. Some hospitals even suggest using a scarf or bandanna. We can provide better than a scarf or bandanna!

From talking with local health care professionals, here is a bit of feedback we are hearing about homemade masks.
-Face masks need to be made of a woven cotton fabric. Your average quilting cotton will be just fine. The higher the tread count the better. Research shows germs live longer on polyester fabrics than on cotton fabrics. No need to line with flannel.
-Solid versus patterned, doesn't really matter. But, realize these masks will be washed and sterilized with bleach everyday.
-As these masks will be washed with bleach, some health care professionals have suggested avoiding using elastic for straps and instead use bias binding as ties for face masks.

-A few mask tutorials out there suggest the ties for face masks should be 14 inches per strap/tie. Feedback from healthcare professions are asking for the straps to be a bit longer. 18 inches is the suggested per strap length. If you don't have prepackaged bias binding to use as straps, google how to make bias binding. It is super easy!

Sweet Red Poppy created a tutorial for a face mask, if a step by step tutorial helps you out. Her tutorial uses elastic to secure the mask, but it is super easy to sub in bias binding straps or skip the elastic step and secure the edges with bias binding as the straps. As soon as I'm done posting this I'm heading to my sewing room to whip some of these up. I'll edit the post with a pic of a mask with bias binding ties once I'm finished.

Below is a link to a semi contoured mask.

And, two more mask pattern/tutorials.

While this post is largely directed at our Utah locals, I do urge each of you to contact your local hospitals and clinics to see what their immediate need is and if they have specific guidelines that need to be followed regarding homemade face masks.


I recently joined the facebook group Sewing for Lives. It was created by a nurse here in SLC who has direct contact with hospitals and clinics that need masks.

After reading posts in that group and others, it seems like one of the biggest issues right now is not the sewing of the masks, but how to get the masks into the hands of those who need them.

You can join the above group and fill out the form they have created to match masks with those in need. OR, we are creating a mask drop/collection point at the shop. It will be right at the front door, so even if you don't want to step foot in the shop, you can open the front door and drop the masks in the box. I've been in contact with Megan, the gal who created the group above, she has already given us an 'assignment' of 100 masks that a local hospital has requested.

If you are a local and you've not been in the shop for pick up before, our address and hours are as follows:
Raspberry Creek Fabrics
8695 S Highland Drive
Sandy, UT 84093 (right in between Reams and Richs Bagels).

Monday-Thursday 9-3 and Friday 9-noon.

So, get to sewing my friends! Starting Monday we will have our mask collection box ready to be filled. Let's see how many masks we can get out into our community!

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