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Face Masks for My Local Hospital

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Update: For those looking for elastic, I was able to source some and have it available on my online shop:

I have also donated over 1000 yards and counting to quilt shops organizing mask making. I'm trying to do my part.

Before I begin... I apologize for my extremely dry, cracked, sad looking hands and nails in the photos. Been washing my hands a lot lately! No amount of lotion seems to help. :)

I live in Minnesota about 45 minutes north of St. Paul. My local hospital is Fairview Lakes. I reached out to them about making masks for the COVID-19 outbreak. They sent me a pattern and a video tutorial. I decided to write this blog post for my friends and neighbors, who are also making masks, in case some of my tips are helpful.

If you intend to donate to Fairview Lakes, I strongly recommend contacting them before beginning. They emailed me a form and instructions. My instructions are intended to enhance the final product... not replace the pattern Fairview sent out. They also will let you know how, where and when donations are accepted. I contacted them via the Fairview Lakes Volunteer Facebook page.

The end result is basically the same... but I added a few details that I think are worth a mention.

First off, here is the video Fairview is pointing people to as a tutorial. I recommend watching it.

1. Use 100% cotton fabric.

2. Pre-wash your fabric in hot water. Use free & clear detergent if possible.

3. Dry on high and press with plain water... no starch or scented sprays.

I chose to use 2 different fabrics for my masks, that way the wearer can tell what side was to their face and what side was towards the world (a.k.a. germs). This seemed like a good idea in case they had to take it on and off. Not sure this is necessary... but I liked the idea, so I went with it. Another thought... make one side neutral so it works for all genders! We quilters tend to have a lot of floral fabrics... :)



Fabric A: Cut [1] 6" H x 9" W.

Fabric B: Cut [1] 6" H x 9" W.

Elastic (1/8" - 1/4" flat elastic): Cut [2] 7" long.

Note: If using round elastic cording (1/16" - 1/8"), cut it a bit longer and tie a knot on each end.

This will keep the elastic from pulling free from the seam.

Tip: Before you cut, layer the 2 pieces of fabric with Right Sides Together. This will save you time cutting and later when you sew because your pieces will already be layered correctly.


Step 1: Layer the 2 fabric rectangles with the right sides together. Pin if desired (I didn't pin for this step).

Seam Allowance = 1/4"

Step 2: Starting on one of the 9" sides about 2" from a corner, backstitch and and sew about 1/2". Stop.

Step 3: Insert a piece of 1/4" elastic between the layers. The elastic should be at a 45 degree angle with the corner. Make sure the end of the elastic is lined up with the corner or a hair's width past. If using elastic cording, the knot should extend past the corner and be visible to you while you sew. Make sure you backstitch over cording in each corner.

This diagram shows the placement of the elastic after step 7... thought it would be helpful before you begin. :)

Step 4: Continue stitching a 1/4" seam allowance to within a 1/4" of the edge. Make sure you have stitched into (or over) the elastic. Stop with your needle in the down position (I stopped with my needle in the piece of elastic). Lift presser foot and pivot fabric so you can continue sewing the next side. Encourage the elastic to stay at 45 degrees (it can get pulled into the seam pretty easily by the presser foot). I used a finger to hold it in place. You could also use a pin or other pointy tool. Stitch about 1" - 2" down the edge.


Step 5: Line up the other end of the elastic (use the same technique as step 3) in the next corner.

Step 6: Repeat Step 4.

Step 7: Repeat steps 3 & 4 for the next 2 corners. Stop stitching 2" into the first edge, backstitch. This will leave an opening for turning the mask right sides out.

Unit after Step 7

Step 8: Turn Mask through opening. Push out corners and smooth edges. Press. Fold raw edges at the opening to the inside. Press. Stitch opening closed.

Step 9: Make 3 pleats on each side.

The pleats must all go in the same direction... on both sides! This is important!

I found that approximately 1/2" pleats worked well. I lined the top of the first one about 1/4" from the top edge. In the end, the 3 pleats ended up snugged up to each other. Pin all 6 pleats.

Step 10: Stitch all the way around the mask approximately 1/4" from the outside edge. Go slowly at the pleats so they don't unfold as you stitch.

Step 11: Stitch all the way around the mask again about halfway between the stitching in Step 10 and the outside edge.

For a child's mask, I found people are using the dimensions: 5" H x 7-1/2" W. I haven't tried it... but there you go. :) I googled it quick in case any of you are wondering.

Thanks for stopping by!


Swirly Girls Design & Fat Quarter Gypsy

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