Sewing Masks to Support Medical Workers

I have a dear friend who works at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham with Covid-19 patients. He requested some homemade fabric masks, as they are using them in some areas of the hospital outside of the COVID-19 areas to help free up personal protective equipment for where it is needed the most. So, I set to work making masks at home over the last few weeks and just sent out my first shipment to him today for his hospital. Turns out, I’m not very fast at making masks. But here is what I learned in the process:

Joann Fabrics will ship you 100% cotton fabric in a somewhat timely fashion. It might not be the print you ordered, and it may come in lengths that add up to your yardage but are not in one piece. But, within a few days, you’ll have fabric. I have heard Joann Fabrics has some free fabric kits for this that they give out to people making masks to donate, but they run in limited supply so I would suggest calling your local Joann Fabrics to see what is available. I used a nice, sturdy 100% woven cotton for the outside, and a 100% cotton flannel for the inner pouch of the mask.  For the non-woven layer to place inside the mask pouch, I understand Pellon 40 interfacing is a good option.

I have heard people sometimes run into trouble sourcing the elastic. I was able to find 1/4 inch flat elastic through an independent Seller on Etsy—that’s a great place to check for supplies. I used this vendor for my order and it all went really smoothly.

Here is the how-to video I used for my first batch of masks:


Local to Kitsap County, the Harrison Foundation has a page on what types of help and donations are the most helpful right now including instructions for mask making on the type they need. 

If you’d like to donate beyond, this Google document shows hospitals currently requesting masks and some alternate patterns. Some hospitals request certain patterns and others will take any, which is important to know if you are hoping to donate to a specific hospital or facility.

Below is a picture of my mask project as it neared completion. I’m excited to try a new pattern for another organization to donate to next.

I hope this information is helpful for those of you at home in Kitsap County. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Written by Betsy Schairer. For more information about Betsy or to contact her, visit her profile on our team page here.

Photos by Betsy Schairer

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