Fabric face masks are something that most crafters can create to help our world today. If you know me, you know that I don’t like to sit around. I need to be doing something. Watching the news and reading the posts on Facebook has given me a lot of anxiety and fear. Like so many others I feel like I need to DO SOMETHING to help but I didn’t know what to do.
Jennifer Maker, one of my favorite mentors, has felt the same way. She has done some research about the safety of fabric masks and consulted with her brother-in-law, who is a respiratory therapist, to come up with a quick and easy pattern to create a fabric mask using her Cricut Maker machine.
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As soon as I read her tutorial wanted to share it with everyone because I know I can’t make enough fabric masks by myself.
I love to use my Cricut Maker machine, but I started thinking that I can only make a limited amount of fabric masks and how not everyone has a Cricut Maker machine. I started my search on YouTube and I was able to find several videos from other caring people. After watching these videos I decided that it was time for me to pull out my sewing machine and wipe the dust off of it.
My sewing machine was given to me by my sister about 30 years ago! It is still working fine, its just a little noisy, lol!
I pulled out my sewing remnants and I went to the store to purchase some additional items I needed, such as 1/4″ elastic. All stores were sold out! While I searched online I discovered that the 1/4″ elastic and other sizes were all sold out… we are now facing a shortage of a supply needed to help our communities.
I started searching for an additional method to finish fabric face masks.
While searching for other methods, I started thinking how did people use masks before elastic? I referred to my favorite T.V. series M.A.S.H.. This series is based in the Korean war at a mobile army surgical hospital. In those days, they used to tie their fabric face masks around their head. That when I decided I will make my masks with ribbon.
One of the things I like about using ribbon is that it makes for an adjustable mask. I left the ribbon strings extra long in order to accommodate for all head sizes. After it is fit to the face then the strings can be trimmed and clear nail polish can be applied to the ends to prevent fraying.
Please note: Fabric masks do not replace the need for N95 masks. Rather, they are a last resort when no N95 masks are available. For some situations, a fabric mask is better than no mask at all. Please watch the following video for more information:
In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP (health care professional) might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.
These fabric masks are super easy and quick to make up. In this post I am providing links to tutorials I have found so that you can select the method that is easiest for you. I will also provide links to places and organizations that are asking for fabric masks to help make it easier for you to get them to the places that need them most. This list will be updated as I learn of more organizations and tutorial links.
FABRIC MASK TUTORIALS
- Visit my YouTube playlist for the video tutorials that I have found to be most helpful. I will add to this list as I find more videos.
- Jennifer Maker has an excellent tutorial on fabric masks. I encourage you to read it even if you do not own a Cricut Maker machine. She provides information on the safety of these masks along with other valuable information.
- Sewing Therapy has provided a lot of great information not only about creating fabric masks but she provides links for Canada and the U.S.A. to purchase supply items.
- Joann’s Fabric store has supplied a video and tutorial to create the fabric face masks.
- Joann’s Fabric store has supplied a video tutorial on how to create Denim fabric face masks.
WHERE TO SEND COMPLETED FABRIC MASKS
Please note: The organizations listed below have asked for donations of fabric masks. If you are considering donating to another organization, please contact them to see if they are accepting donations at this time.
TUCSON, AZ DONATIONS
- Palo Verde Hospital – Contact Rachel Abel for donations.
- Banner UMC
- Carondelet Health Network
- All Valley Home Heath Care & Nursing
- Life Care Center Sierra Vista
- NSI Nursing Services
- San Xavier health clinic
- Instructional video for the Olson mask. Please read the video description for the instructions and address where to ship.
TIPS FROM OTHERS
One of the amazing things I have seen from our community is the advice and tips that have been shared. So many people around the world are coming together to make these masks and helps other do so. Here is a list of some tips that I have collected.
- Elastic is in short supply. If you need an alternative to elastic try using ribbon. The ribbon will tie around the users head and will help alleviate the pressure behind the ears.
- Another option for elastic is to use hair ties that you can purchase at the grocery store, pharmacy, or online. These hair ties are used to pull hair back in a ponytail. Make sure you use the thicker ones that tend to be larger.
- When cutting the face masks out it is best to use a different color for the front of the mask and a different color for the back of the mask. This allows the user to know what side to put again their face.
- If you are making masks that have a pocket for a filter, find HEPA vacuum bags. Cut the bag to fit inside the pocket and replace the filter as needed.
- If you are making 5 or more masks you might consider an assembly line process. Cut your fabric for all pieces, then pin, then sew. I have found that this helps the process flow smoothly and it also acts as a double-check to ensure you have all of your supplies.