Masks for Medics
Make a difference for our first responders!
Please email me for my address for sending the masks @
ALL MASKS donated will be going directly to our 1st responders.
There are TWO basic types of cloth masks. One is more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time (boat shaped)... but the other is easier to sew (pleated square). So depending on your comfort level of sewing, you can choose between the two types, and apply the modifications I mention below. Here they are!
With BOTH patterns, I would suggest to use a plain colored fabric for the inside, and the patterned fabric for the outside of the mask. Please do NOT use the same fabric for both the inside and outside. This puts our EMS workers at risk of contamination as they won't know the inside from the outside. According to studies (HERE and HERE), the best fabric to use is "tea towel" (like the dish towel fabric) and you can line it on the outside with regular cotton fabric. If you don't have the dish towel fabric, it's ok to use the cotton fabric shown in the tutorials. The best case scenario is the tea-towel fabric for the inside, and the patterned/cotton fabric for the outside. Also, please remember that these are Emergency Responders using this mask, so the patterns of the fabric need to be appropriate. (Think about what a 20-40 year old man or woman that is super tough and cool would like to wear.) ;). It’s important to use a tightly woven 100% cotton fabric. If you’re not sure what that means, hold it up to the light, you shouldn't be able to see through it.
Also, please do NOT use elastic or bias tape for the ear ties... it puts a lot of stress on the ears and they get pretty uncomfortable after wearing them for more than an hour... so an entire shift makes the ears hurt. The bias tape ties are awkward and hard to keep tight... The BEST ties are the ones made of simple stretchy-knit fabric (like the super stretchy t-shirts!!! this fabric works great!) as long as it's the kind of knit that when you cut it and pull the strip it rolls up into a rolled piece of fabric, and doesn't fray. Those have been the best ties to use so far, since they stretch, are soft, and they don't cause ear-stress! (See fabric on tutorial #1)
I've seen a lot of tutorials use the bread-bag twisty-ties for the wire part on the nose. It does an ok job, but doesn't hold up very well. It's best to use a stronger wire if possible (as shown on the video tutorial #2)
All of these tips are just suggestions from someone who has worn these masks for several hours at a time. I don't mean to be picky... but I DO know that the EMS responders are less likely to wear them if they are uncomfortable- so I'd love to make them as comfortable as possible. Any mask you donate will be MUCH appreciated! There's no "wrong" way to do it... but some masks are better than others :)
With this pattern, I would suggest to use a plain colored fabric for the inside, and the patterned fabric for the outside of the mask. Please do NOT use the same fabric for both the inside and outside. This puts our EMS workers at risk of contamination as they won't know the inside from the outside.
#2) A bit harder to sew, but better fit on the face and allows for breathing room:
This pattern is a really great pattern that has more of an N 95 shape to the mask. It bows out like a boat in front of the nose and mouth so it's not right up against your face like the pleated masks. Here's another pattern you can use if you want to try other patterns. Again, please only use the knit ties for the securing of the mask. I've had to modify these patterns to fit my face, and put a pleat on the ends of the face/ear sides of the masks so that they hug the cheeks a bit more. Otherwise, the pattern kind-of bows out on the sides away from the face (right in front of the ears) and it's not as snug. If you place a little pleat in those edges it solves the issue. (you'll see what I mean when you make the mask and try it on for yourself!)