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Sewing Patterns

41 Free Face Mask Sewing Patterns Approved by 64 Hospitals (+ PDF Printables)

This is a mega-list of hospital-approved face mask patterns. Find olson style & pleated “surgical-style” masks with filters, nose wires, ties, elastic, kids sizes, & pdf printables.

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

If you’re planning to DIY your own face mask, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions:

What design should you make? A fitted olson mask, or a pleated surgical-style one?

What materials are best?

What should you use as the filter?

I want to answer these questions using information directly from hospitals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Find out how medical professionals think you should make your mask.

This is part 1 where I share free sewing patterns that health organizations have created themselves or approved. Go to my complete guide to making face masks page for all the other parts.

To download the patterns, look for the purple download buttons underneath the mask pictures. There is no email sign up required.

free olson and pleated face mask sewing patterns

Pin this image to bookmark the post for later! 🙂

Contents list:

Heads up: This post includes affiliate links like Amazon ones, so I earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). Thanks for using them 🙂

Note: this is an informational post, not medical advice. Please talk to a doctor or medical professional for medical advice.


More mask resources

Compared: 4 best face mask patterns for children.

‘No fog’ face mask patterns for glasses wearers: 5 tested.

How to make masks for the first time. There are lots of resources here.

How to make adjustable ear loops and head straps for your mask.


Types of face mask designs:

The 2 most popular designs are pleated surgical-style masks and olson masks.

Olson masks are a more fitted style. They can fit over N-95 masks according to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital.

Skip to a face mask design:

Skip to sewing patterns pre-made for children:

12 September 2020 update: I have a new post dedicated to the best children’s face mask patterns. I compare 5 popular patterns and give mask measurements.

Skip to large sewing patterns:


**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Face Mask Comparison Table

There are a lot of face mask designs in this article. I realized that it’s hard to choose between them!

Here’s a comparison table to help you choose quicker.

Not all the masks are in this table, however. There are 28 other designs that are not included because they’re very similar. I have a brief summary about them instead.

Mask DesignerMask StyleFilter Pocket?Nose Wire?Ties?Elastic?Kids Version?Fit Tested?PDF Sewing Pattern?Sewing Instructions?
UnityPoint HealthOlsonFilter pocketElastic ear hooksPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial
Phoebe HealthOlsonElastic ear hooksPDF patternInstructions
Craft PassionOlsonFilter pocketNose wireTiesElastic around head or earsKids Mask IncludedPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial
Pins & NeedlesOlsonFilter pocketTiesPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial
Free Sewing OrgOlsonTiesPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial
Deaconess & The Turban ProjectPleatedTiesElastic ear hooksKids Mask IncludedPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial
Kaiser PermanentePleatedTiesPDF patternInstructions
FroedtertPleatedTiesInstructions
Bassett Healthcare NetworkPleatedFilter pocketElastic ear hooksInstructions + Video tutorial
Gather HerePleatedElastic ear hooksInstructions + Video tutorial
Selsey Medical PracticePleatedFilter pocketNose wireElastic ear hooksPDF patternInstructions
Middlesex HospitalSurgical mask coverTiesInstructions
University of Florida HealthPleatedNose wireTiesFit testedPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial
University of Florida HealthOlsonNose wireTiesFit testedPDF patternInstructions + Video tutorial

But first, if you’re making masks for others or to donate to hospitals…

It is essential that nobody involved in the creation, distribution or delivery of homemade masks have any symptoms of COVID… (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have recently been exposed to anyone experiencing these symptoms or who has been tested positive for COVID…”

Bronson Health. Source: https://www.bronsonhealth.com/app/files/public/8410/OFFICIAL-Bronson-Face-Mask-Template [accessed: 2 April 2020]

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

How to make Olson style face masks:

1. Olson mask with filter pocket – by UnityPoint Health

free olson face mask sewing pattern with hair ties and filter pocket
Olson face mask sewing pattern with filter.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask was “developed by clinicians from UnityPoint Health” (released 23 March 2020). They are a nonprofit health system in America.

The design includes:

double-sided skin adhesive tape on face mask to create seal

Video tutorial:


2. Olson mask with elastic ear hooks – by Phoebe Health

free fitted olson face mask sewing pattern by phoebe health
Olson face mask with elastic.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask design is by Phoebe Health. They operate 12 hospitals.

They made this face mask to be worn alone or worn over N95 masks to extend their use.

The design includes:

  • Cotton, breathable poly-cotton blend, or breathable water repellant fabric. Fabric.com has a big range.
  • 1/4” or 3/8” wide elastic ear hooks (Amazon link).
  • 2 layers of fabric.

“The Phoebe team and volunteers are using surgical sheets to make their reusable masks. The masks will be treated with water repellant in the laundering process. In the absence of surgical sheets, a thicker breathable water repellant fabric, such as durable 55%/45% polyester/cotton blend or similar may be used.”

Phoebe Health. Source: https://www.phoebehealth.com/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus/mask-production [accessed: 5 April 2020]

Which hospitals have approved and requested this design?


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3. Olson mask with elastic, filter pocket & nose wire – by Craft Passion

free olson face mask sewing pattern for adults and kids with filter, nose wire, and elastic by craft passion
Olson face mask sewing pattern with filter, nose wire, ties, and kids sizes.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

The Craft Passion blog initially made this face mask tutorial in 2013.

This design includes:

  • Cotton (fabric.com)
  • Elastic around the head or elastic ear hooks (Amazon link).
  • An option to include a filter pocket.
  • An option to include a nose wire. Use 16 gauge craft wire (Amazon). You’ll want to cut and bend the ends with jewelry pliers (round nose) and cutters (Amazon).
  • 4 sizes: men, women/teens, and 2 patterns for children (3-6 yrs, and 7-12 years).

Video tutorial:

Which hospitals have approved and requested this design?

“Emergency room physician Dr. Andrew Pizza came up with the idea in a staff meeting when talk turned to the difficulty of finding masks for patients being discharged.

Staffers found a pattern for making them, available online [by Craft Passion], and then got a second opinion.

“We got it OK’d by infectious disease specialist Dr. Faith Joubert,” said Jennifer Berger, the hospital’s manager for marketing and communications.”

Slidell Memorial Hospital representative via Nola.com. Source: https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/article_8abca22e-6af0-11ea-91c3-ffeb1b9241fa.html [accessed: 30 March 2020]

PS. I also have other posts in the ‘How to DIY Face Masks’ series:

Find out what face mask materials hospitals approve and disapprove of.


4. Olson mask with ties – by Pins & Needles

free pattern for olson face mask with ties

Printable files to download:

By UH Hospitals:
By Gritman Medical Center:

About this mask:

This mask was designed by Pins & Needles.

The design includes:

  • Cotton (fabric.com)
  • Non-stretch ties around the head. You can make these yourself or use pre-made bias binding (Amazon).
  • A filter pocket.

Video tutorial:

Which hospitals have approved and requested this design?


**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

5. Olson mask with ties – by Free Sewing Org

olson face mask with ties worn by man and woman

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask was designed by Free Sewing Org.

The design includes:

  • Cotton (fabric.com)
  • Non-stretch ties around the head. You can make these yourself or buy pre-made bias binding (Amazon).
  • 2 layers of fabric.

Video tutorial:

Which hospitals have approved and requested this design?


Free Sewing Patterns Every Thursday

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How to make pleated “surgical-style” face masks:

6. Pleated surgical-style mask with elastic ear hooks – by Deaconess & The Turban Project

free printable pattern: pleated face mask with elastic ear hooks by deaconess
Pleated surgical-style face mask by Deaconess.

Printable files to download:

By The Turban Project:
By Deaconess Health System:

About this mask:

This pattern was originally designed by The Turban Project, however Deaconess Health System approved it and created their own instructions and video tutorials for it.

This design includes:

  • Cotton (fabric.com)
  • 1/8″ elastic ear hooks or ties (Amazon links).
  • 2 layers of fabric.

Video tutorials:

A sewing tutorial by Deaconess Health staff:
A sewing tutorial by The Turban Project’s founder:

This is the original pattern used by Deaconess.

A sewing tutorial by Atlantic Health staff:

This is also based on Deaconess/The Turban Projects design.

Which hospitals have approved and requested this design?

These hospitals have asked donors to follow Deaconess Health System’s tutorial:

These hospitals have asked donors to follow The Turban Project’s tutorial:


**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**

7. Pleated surgical-style mask with ties – by Kaiser Permanente

free pleated surgical face mask sewing pattern by kaiser permanente
Pleated surgical-style face mask sewing pattern.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask was designed by Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare provider in 8 states: “Kaiser Permanente has developed step-by-step instructions for making non-clinical cloth masks at home.” It was released 27 March 2020.

The design includes:

  • Cotton or cotton-blend fabric. It can be a woven or knit. Fabric.com has a big range to choose from.
  • Non-stretch ties around the head. You can make these yourself or buy pre-made bias binding (Amazon).
  • 2 layers of fabric.

PS. I also have other posts in the ‘How to DIY Face Masks’ series:


**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

8. Pleated surgical-style mask with ties – by Froedtert

navy pleated surgical-style face mask with ties. By froedtert.
Pleated surgical style mask with ties.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask is by Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The design includes:

  • Cotton (fabric.com)
  • Non-stretch ties around the head. You can make these yourself or buy pre-made bias binding (Amazon).
  • 2 layers of fabric.

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

9. Pleated mask with filter pocket – by Bassett Healthcare Network

3 layer face mask pattern with pleats and filter pocket

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

Bassett Healthcare run 6 hospitals. They have created their own mask instructions for 2 and 3 layer masks. The 3 layer one includes a filter pocket and is based on the video tutorial by Makers Habitat.

The design includes:

  • Cotton (fabric.com)
  • 2 or 3 fabric layers.
  • Filter pocket.
  • 1/8″ elastic ear hooks (Amazon link).

Video tutorial:

This is for the 3 layer design.


10. Pleated surgical-style mask with elastic ear hooks – by Gather Here

orange pleated face mask with elastic casing

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask was designed by Gather Here.

The design includes:

Video tutorial:

Which hospitals have approved and requested this design?


**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**

11. Pleated surgical-style mask with nose wire & filter pocket – by Selsey Medical Practice

how to sew pleated surgical style face mask with nose wire, filter, and elastic by NHS Selsey practice
Pleated surgical-style face mask with filter pocket, nose wire, and elastic.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This mask was designed by staff at the Selsey medical practice in the UK.

The design includes:

“The project has been designed by our staff here at the practice, notably Jen Hymas and Dr Parrish.

They have based the design on the shape of the paper masks that were issued to us by NHS England. They have made a few prototypes which are quite comfortable to wear.”

Selsey Medical Practice. Source: https://www.selseymedicalpractice.co.uk/diy-mask [accessed: 29 March 2020]

“IMPORTANT!

This is just a DIY Project. The doctors at Selsey Medical Practice wish to make it clear that they cannot endorse it as providing protection against Covid…

This mask may simply help members of the public who do not have access to PPE to enhance the normal measures they are taking.

All of the measures and advice put in place by the Government, 111 and NHS England must always be followed in full.”

Selsey Medical Practice. Source: https://www.selseymedicalpractice.co.uk/diy-mask [accessed: 29 March 2020]

12. Surgical mask cover with ties – by Middlesex Hospital

free surgical mask sewing pattern by middlesex health
Surgical mask cover.

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

This cover is designed to be worn over surgical masks. It was designed by Middlesex Health.

The design includes:

“Surgical mask covers, or pocket masks, allow a surgical mask to be inserted into the top. The protection provided by the cover allows the surgical mask to be reused.”

Middlesex Health. Source: https://middlesexhealth.org/files/dmHTMLFile/covid-19_directions-for-sewing-masks_final24.pdf [accessed: 5 April 2020]

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

13. Both face mask styles & fit tested – University of Florida Health

Face mask sewing pattern with ties and halyard h600 fabric by university of florida health

Printable files to download:

About this mask:

The University of Florida Health (UF) designed 2 mask styles: a pleated style and rounded style.

What makes these masks stand out is that they have passed fit testing and use an interesting material.

The designs include:

Video tutorials:

For the pleated surgical-style mask:

For the rounded style mask:

This Youtuber and medical worker does her own fit test of the mask and then starts sewing it at 17:15.

Fit tested

Unlike many masks, these have been fit tested.

Fit testing checks whether a mask fits without gaps and creates a seal. 3M says “if the seal is inadequate, contaminated air will take the path of least resistance and will travel through leaks in the face seal”.

“The mask has passed the Respirator Fit Test.”

University of Florida Health. Source: https://anest.ufl.edu/wordpress/files/2020/03/PROTOTYPE-2-TUTORIAL.pdf [published: 27 March 2020]

“The masks have been personally N95 fit tested by more than 20 volunteers. In the people who tested it, the mask passed the sweet or bitter taste test akin to what is used for N95 respirators. However, that does not certify it as an N95 respirator.

If you construct these masks or receive them according to our design, they should be fit tested to your face. If it passes fit testing, please use it but do so with the caveat that these are not commercially produced, third party-certified respirators.

These are community-produced filtration masks created to be extenders of our supply with some increased protection over a standard surgical mask. They cannot be regarded as frontline primary COVID… protection.”

Source: https://anest.ufl.edu/clinical-divisions/mask-alternative/frequently-asked-questions/ [accessed: 9 April 2020]

Halyard H600 fabric

These masks are made using Halyard H600 fabric. There are claims that it has filtering properties, although there’s some debate about this.

UF said it’s “typically used to wrap surgical instrument trays in medical settings. The Halyard H600 is the most protective grade of the material.”

It doesn’t look like you can wash it. UF are cleaning them with specialist equipment: an autoclave and UV light sterilization.

They said “if you are making a mask at home for home use, you can sterilize it by placing it in an oven at 165°F for 30 minutes. Other options may be available.”

The material is thought to be superior to the common surgical mask in its ability to block aerosols and droplets, including water, bacteria and other particles.

Although the Halyard H600 material has undergone rigorous testing and has been assigned a filtering (N) rating by the manufacturer, it has not, to our knowledge, been tested for use as a breathed air filter by any regulatory body.

Although it is not rated as an N95 for filtering breathed air, we do subject it to the same particle filtering test we use for commercial face masks and find that with a properly fitted, snug mask, it appears to provide similar particle filtering properties as commercial masks.

Source: https://anest.ufl.edu/clinical-divisions/mask-alternative/frequently-asked-questions/ [accessed: 9 April 2020]

**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**

28 other hospital approved face mask designs:

Olson style masks

Pleated surgical-style masks


Free Sewing Patterns Every Thursday

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Mask Making Materials & Tools

PS. Some links in this article are affiliate product links. If you choose to buy using them, I may earn a commission. There’s no added cost to you. Thanks for using them for your purchases 🙂

Most of these masks require:

  • Cotton fabric (fabric.com). Use a tightly woven fabric with a high thread count, if possible.
  • Elastic. Some hospitals recommend flat elastic, normally 1/8″ to 3/8″ in size. An alternative is ponytail holders with no metal (Amazon links). Wide elastic and rounded elastic might become uncomfortable around the ears.
  • Nose wire. The University of Florida Health recommends 16-gauge craft wire (Amazon) to improve the fit of your mask. If that’s not available, use 20-gauge (Amazon).
  • A rotary cutter, long ruler, and cutting mat (Amazon) will make cutting out masks much faster and more accurate. I would only bother getting these if I was making a lot of masks, however.


How can you adapt these face mask patterns for children?

pink pleated face mask worn by child
Photo credit: Made Everyday.

Here are 2 patterns pre-made for kids:

If you want to make your own, here are suggested measurements for a rectangular mask:

“Cut fabric 9.5″ by 6.5″ for an adult or 7.5″ by 5″ for a child.”

Atlantic Health System. Source: https://www.atlantichealth.org/patients-visitors/donate-volunteer/donate-supplies-covid-19/make-facemask-help-covid-19.html [accessed: 31 March 2020]

“Cut 9 x 6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child)”

Cayuga Health System. Source: https://cayugahealthsystem.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/How-to-make-a-Face-Maskedited.pdf [accessed: 31 March 2020]

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Are these face mask designs CDC compliant?

cdc face mask website

CDC stands for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a US organisation that sets guidelines for the medical community to follow.

In their “Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks” document, they say that healthcare personnel (HCP) could consider using “homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf)…as a last resort”.

From this my understanding is that any face covering made from cloth is fine.

The CDC released more guidelines on DIY face coverings on 4 April 2020.

“Initially, the CDC did not advise people to wear face masks in public. One reason was to protect the supply for use by health care professionals and first responders. That remains a top priority.

Another reason was because face masks like the ones discussed here don’t offer significant protection for the person wearing the mask.

Recently, however, medical professionals have determined that COVID… can be transmitted by a person without symptoms. That could be a person who is sick but showing no symptoms, or even a person who has been infected but not yet fallen ill.”

OSF Healthcare. Source: https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/protect-your-community-with-a-face-mask-in-public/ [published: 5 April 2020]

The CDC now have instructions on how to make 3 types of face coverings:

  1. A surgical-style sewn mask with elastic ear hooks.
  2. A no-sew t-shirt face covering.
  3. A no-sew bandana face covering.

Tutorial: surgical-style mask

centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) diy pleated face mask

See full tutorial here.

Tutorial: no-sew t-shirt face covering

centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) diy cotton t-shirt face mask

See full tutorial here.

Tutorial: no-sew bandana face covering

centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) diy fabric face mask with coffee filter

See full tutorial here.

UPDATE: This page on the CDC website was last reviewed on 13 April 2020. The bandana tutorial has been changed to include NO COFFEE FILTER. As far as I can see, they haven’t explained why the filter was removed.

centers for disease control and prevention (cdc) diy no sew face mask
Updated tutorial. [accessed: 20 April 2020]

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Elastic advice

elastic for diy fabric face mask
Photo credit: Made Everyday.

Many hospitals have asked sewists to use flat elastic. Normally a 1/8″ to 3/8″ size.

If you don’t have this, you could cut braided elastic to the correct width.

Using wider elastic than this could be uncomfortable to the wearer. Rounded elastic might also be uncomfortable around ears.

Another backup option is using ponytail holders, but not ones with metal.

Elastic advice (evidence):

Flat elastic in 1/8”, 1/4”, or 3/8” widths will work with the mask pattern shown in the video link [by Deaconess Health].

White is preferred, but other colors are acceptable.

Rounded elastic is harder to sew securely in place, as well as less comfortable to wear around the ears.

What length elastic should be used?

6.5” for the Small, 7” for the Medium, and 7.5” for the Large works well for most people.

I can’t find the appropriate size elastic. Can I use larger elastic?

No, larger elastic would be very uncomfortable behind the ears.

The good news is that wider braided elastic can be cut to the appropriate width using scissors or a rotary cutter. This only works with braided elastic, NOT knit elastic.”

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Source: their Facebook page [published: 23 March 2020]

“Elastic hair ties can be used in place of elastic (no metal on ties).”

Gritman Medical Center. Source: https://gritman.org/community-sews-seeds-of-love-for-frontline-health-care-workers/ [updated: 23 March 2020]

“Elastic should be sturdy enough to tolerate multiple laundering. – YOU MAY MAKE THEM WITH TIES IF ELASTIC IS IN SHORT SUPPLY.”

Emerson Hospital. Source: Facebook post by the hospital [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“Elastic should be in good shape, with plenty of stretch and of an appropriate size to fit over the ears.

1/16 inch round cord or 1/8 inch braided work best.”

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

I cannot find elastic anywhere; what can I do?

Locally stores have depleted their stock. Many sewing groups are sharing elastic but also using pony tail holders and scrunchie pony tail holders instead.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“Not all facemasks can be re-used.

– Facemasks that fasten to the provider via ties may not be able to be undone without tearing and should be considered only for extended use, rather than re-use.

Facemasks with elastic ear hooks may be more suitable for re-use.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html

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Ties advice

yellow pleated face mask with ties by kaiser permanente
Photo credit: Kaiser Permanente

Fabric ties are a recommended alternative to elastic. They also provide a more universal fit. A downside is that they could get tangled and knotted when laundered.

Advice about ties (evidence):

“If flat elastic is not available, fabric ties can be sewn on the mask, one tie on each of the four mask corners.

Ties should be approximately 1/4” width, sewn so there are no frayed edges, and approximately 15” for each corner.”

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Source: their Facebook page [published: 23 March 2020]

“Needs: Mask that tie in the back for more universal fit

Request for face mask donations by Auburn Urgent Care on the Deaconess directory

“If elastic is not available, fabric ties can be sewn on the mask.

There will need to be 4 ties (one tie on each of the 4 corners).

Ties should be approx. ¼ inch in width, sewn in such a way that there are no frayed edges, and long enough to be tied into a bow on the top of the head (for the top corner and behind the head for the bottom corner).

[Ties] should be 16” in length.”

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

Should you add a flexible nose (wire or pipe cleaner) for hospital donations?

diy face mask with flexible nose wire
A nose wire being sewn into a mask. Photo credit: Sweet Red Poppy.

“Please do not add any embellishments, pipe cleaners, lining or filter material.”

Emerson Hospital. Source: Facebook post by the hospital [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“Please do not add metal pieces to masks you are donating to D-H.

Adding nose bridges with twist ties or pipe cleaners is not necessary for a secure fit and can make cleaning and sanitizing the masks more difficult.”

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Source: their Facebook page [published: 23 March 2020]

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Should you use different fabrics for each side of the mask?

patterned diy face mask with different fabric on both sides
Different materials on each side make the front and back obvious. Photo credit: Made Everyday.

“Please use a different material on each side of the mask to ensure that when our team members take their masks off, they know which side has had contact with their face and which side has been external facing.”

Eskenazi Health. Source: https://www.eskenazihealth.edu/news/how-to-donate-face-masks-and-other-supplies-to-eskenazi-health [published: 25 March 2020]

The following are helpful hints shared by seamstresses and sewists which may be useful to you.

Front and back need to be different colors; in a hurry, easy to tell which is front.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

Do hospitals have any other requirements?

“It is essential that nobody involved in the creation, distribution or delivery of new/unused materials or homemade masks have any symptoms of COVID… (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have recently been exposed to anyone experiencing these symptoms or who has been tested positive for COVID…”

Bronson Health. Source: https://www.bronsonhealth.com/news/bronson-welcomes-community-donations-of-unused-personal-protecti/ [published: 25 March 2020]

Use 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 stitch length on your sewing machine (or 10-12 stitches per inch). Back-stitch for strength where indicated. The seams need to be strong enough to withstand wearing, but also heavy-duty washers and dryers.”

Kaiser Permanente. Source: https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/content/dam/internet/kp/comms/import/uploads/2020/03/02_COVID_Mask-Instructions_v9.pdf [published: 27 March 2020]

“…a well sewn mask with no frayed edges or missed seams or “holes” is important.”

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“Keep in mind that the goal is to make a sturdy mask that can be washed and bleached repeatedly. No raw edges, no loose threads.”

Monadnock Community Hospital. Source: http://monadnockcommunityhospital.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/MCH_Mask_PR_Instructions_Patterns_032320-4.pdf [published: 23 March 2020]

“1. Masks must be able to hold up to commercial washing.

2. Masks must not be too heavy or hot on the wearer’s face.”

Bronson Health. Source: https://www.bronsonhealth.com/app/files/public/8410/OFFICIAL-Bronson-Face-Mask-Template [accessed: 2 April 2020]

“Non-smoking homes only, please.”

Cameron Memorial Community Hospital. Source: https://www.cameronmch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/CMCH_COVID-19-DIY-Masks-Instructions-for-Web-03_26_2020-updated_Linked-2.pdf [published: 26 March 2020]

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

What material should you use as the filter?

7 MAY 2020 UPDATE: This section on filter ideas is now OUT OF DATE. I have a much better resource linked below:

best face mask filters for diy face masks compared

Wondering what the best filter material is for a face mask? Particle testing company TSI used industry equipment to test 20 popular materials.

“Coffee filter”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html [last reviewed: 4 April 2020]

UPDATE: This page on the CDC website was last reviewed on 13 April 2020. The bandana tutorial has been changed to include NO COFFEE FILTER. As far as I can see, they haven’t explained why the filter was removed.

“Acceptable filters include HEPA filters and/or a high grade furnace filter to filter out bacteria.”

Great Falls Clinic. Source: https://www.gfclinic.com/approved-pattern-info-for-homemade-masks/ [accessed: 4 April 2020]

Gritman recommended this Youtuber as a resource “with additional information and instruction on how to create respiratory filters”. The Youtuber says he has been in contact with Gritman for advice on face masks.

3 May 2020 UPDATE: This goes against Filtrete’s advice:

Can we use the Filtrete Air Filter material/media to create handmade masks?
Our filters are designed to be used in HVAC systems, and the filter media has not been tested to be used as a face mask for respiratory protection. Altering any of our 3M Filtrete Air Filters is not recommended or supported by 3M or the Filtrete Brand. Customer safety is our number one priority.”

Filtrete (2020). Source: https://www.filtrete.com/3M/en_US/filtrete/home-tips/full-story/~/coronavirus-and-important-things-to-know-about-airborne-particles/?storyid=d69e7735-c02c-46d2-9c8a-ae23372934ac [published: 23 March 2020]

Should you add a filter for hospital donations?

A common thing I’m seeing is requests for filter POCKETS, but not filter material. The hospitals will add their own filter if they choose. Some don’t want filter pockets at all.

Filter pockets (evidence):

“We would like for the mask to have a pocket so that Owensboro Health (not you) can insert a filter if needed.”

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“…include a “pocket” on the inside where the mask touches the face so that we can insert a filter.”

Cambridge Health Alliance. Source: https://www.challiance.org/about/newsroom/personal_protective_equipment_ppe_homemade_donatio_1180 [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“All layers should be made out of the cotton fabric. No need to waterproof or add any inserts.”

Bassett Healthcare Network. Source: https://www.bassett.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fabric_Protective_Mask_Pattern_3-PLY_with_pocket_v3.pdf [accessed: 31 March 2020]

“Masks with pockets for filters are not requested at this time.”

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. Source: their Facebook page [published: 23 March 2020]

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How to clean & disinfect your DIY mask:

how to clean washable fabric face masks

UH Hospitals method:

Recommended cleaning steps

STEP 1: Remove and discard the filter. Spray mask front and back with hydrogen peroxide or equivalent quality solution.

STEP 2: Gently kneed with warm, soapy water. Do not soak. If placed in washing machine, do not place with any other items.

STEP 3: Allow to dry on clean, sanitized surface that is free from high-touch areas.”

UH Hospitals. Source: https://www.uhhospitals.org/-/media/Files/Coronavirus/MaskProductionGuidelines03282020v4.pdf [published: 28 March 2020]

University of Utah Health’s method:

How do I clean a homemade cloth mask?
Homemade cloth masks should be properly cleaned before they are reused.

To wash, launder masks in hot water (160°F) using soap or
detergent that leaves no residue.

Rinse well with fresh water and hang to dry.

You may also disinfect masks by soaking them for 5 minutes in a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach per quart of water or 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water.

University of Utah Health. Source: https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2020/04/face-masks.php [published: 3 April 2020]

CDC’s method:

Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?
Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html [last reviewed: 4 April 2020]

How to safely wear and remove your mask:


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donated fabric face masks worn by hospital employees
Gritman Medical Center employees wearing donated handmade masks. Photo credit: Gritman.

“Hand-sewn masks are intended for patients who do not have COVID… and/or visitors.

They may also be used to cover a N95 mask that a caregiver is using to extend time of use.”

Allina Health. Source: https://www.allinahealth.org/coronavirus/caring-for-caregivers [accessed: 30 March 2020]

“At this time, these fabric masks will not be used by health care team members caring for COVID… positive patients.

The masks will be made available to:

(1) Visitors to our facilities;

(2) Caregivers who are not involved with direct patient care and are at low risk of catching COVID… from patients or transmitting to others;

(3) COVID… patients, as an alternative to surgical masks to better protect them and others around them; and

(4) Cover N95 masks for extra protection for caregivers on the front lines.

UH Hospitals. Source: https://www.uhhospitals.org/healthcare-update/masks-and-donations [accessed: 31 March 2020]

“UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids has an adequate supply of masks however – they remain in short supply nationwide due to COVID… The hospital is looking to be proactive in addressing the possibility of future supply challenges.

Therefore, St. Luke’s [hospital] is calling all sewing volunteers to help make masks. Our hope is that we won’t need them, but we must plan for the unknown.

Fabric masks offer the benefit of being able to be washed and re-used as each healthcare worker will need to change their mask several times during their shifts, as the mask becomes soiled or damp – for maximum protection.”

UnityPoint Health. Source: https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/sewing-surgical-masks.aspx [accessed: 29 March 2020]

“…Currently we have adequate supplies of medical grade equipment; we are accepting donations of homemade masks. We are putting them in storage and will evaluate the appropriateness of use of homemade masks in case there is a future need).

While Cooley Dickinson is accepting hand-sewn masks, our primary need right now is for medical grade PPE.”

Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Source: https://www.cooleydickinson.org/home/coronavirus-resources/donations/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

These masks will be used by PATIENTS who are tested for COVID… but sent home pending results.

Tested patients are sent home with masks and strict home quarantine instructions.

Our regular PPE is designated for patient-facing healthcare workers!”

Lafayette General Health. Source: Facebook post by the hospital [accessed: 30 March 2020]

Sam Caruso Jr., hospital director of business development, wants to be doubly clear that the masks are not for hospital staff.

The purpose of giving these to people to take home is to use to avoid the spread of the disease,” which can be passed on by heavy droplets, such as from coughing or sneezing, he said.

“Droplets can fall to the ground within six feet. While these cannot stop the virus from getting to you, they can catch the virus to prevent it from spreading further.”

Slidell Memorial Hospital representative via Nola.com. Source: https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/article_8abca22e-6af0-11ea-91c3-ffeb1b9241fa.html [accessed: 30 March 2020]

How is Owensboro Health using the masks?

We will be using the cloth masks for situations where a surgical or N95 mask would not be required. This extends the supply of our disposable surgical masks for those times when procedural care is required.

While we are not out of our current supply of surgical masks we know getting new additional masks will be difficult because the national supply is running out.

The fabric masked could be used over the surgical masks to keep them from getting soiled and extend their use.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Source: https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/ [accessed: 30 March 2020]

Do cloth face masks really work?

Note: these research conclusions are NOT about Covid…

“Washable, woven cloth masks have been used in hospitals in some countries. Also, in the absence of any alternative, some members of the public may improvise respiratory protection out of t-shirts, scarves, or other cloth.

Given the lack of sufficient data either supporting or refuting the effectiveness of woven cloth masks and improvised coverings in blocking influenza transmission, the committee hesitates to discourage their use, but cautions that they are not likely to be as protective as medical masks or respirators.

We are concerned that their use may give users a false sense of protection that could encourage risk-taking.”

Professors J. Bailar and D. Burke (2006). Source: https://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=s04272006

“Results obtained in the study show that common fabric materials may provide marginal protection against nanoparticles including those in the size ranges of virus-containing particles in exhaled breath.”

S. Rengasamy and others (2010). Source: https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article/54/7/789/202744

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More mask resources

Compared: 4 best face mask patterns for children.

‘No fog’ face mask patterns for glasses wearers: 5 tested.

How to make masks for the first time. There are lots of resources here.

How to make adjustable ear loops and head straps for your mask.


Sources

(Most sources have been linked to within the article).

‘Hospitals Accepting Homemade Masks’ database. [online] Available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12a5YO0Z9RpHZk9Zkzl4NOj9CbjzhFfoKjPLFFC-21LU/edit [accessed: 2 April 2020]