Corona Crisis Crafting IV: Face Masks

Around the world hospitals are asking for volunteers to sew masks and I started already for my sister and her colleagues, as well as the relatives who care for her elderly patients.

I’m using this pattern and it’s super easy. Time needed is probably 15-20 Minutes per mask, so grab your fabric stashes and start sewing (finally you have the justification for keeping all those letter sized fabric pieces).

BTW, I guess that some protection nobody could measure in their experiments is that wearing them really keeps you from touching your face.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I’ll also hand out instructions with them that read as follows:


I’m a washable cloth mask. I am not a medical product and should not be mistaken for one. I am especially no substitute for other measures like washing hands and staying at home. Please wash me before you first use me and after each use. I’m 100% cotton and can be washed at 60°. Caressing me with a hot iron is a good idea as well. I’m free. If you want to say thanks please stick to the guidelines put forward by the authorities. But if maybe you have some elastic lying around, that would be nice, so many more masks can be distributed.

Best wishes and take care



  1. says

    I was thinking about exactly that last nitlght. See, the HEPA standard is .3micron which is good enough to catch a percentage of virus and definitely aerosols aaaand you can get HEPA filters for air conditioners at most hardware stores. They are really easy to pull apart (I used to use them to filter silver nitrate until I rigged up my vacuum buchholtz filter system) and then you have big sheets of filter paper! You can also get HEPA vacuum bags -- just cut ’em up.

    These are beautiful, which is really the point.

  2. kestrel says

    What a great idea! And very fashionable, too.

    :-D Although I do feel attacked by this: “(finally you have the justification for keeping all those letter sized fabric pieces)” since most of my stash is waaaay smaller than that… yes… I make miniature quilts and have pieces of fabric as small as 1″ X 1″. How did you know?! **looks about suspiciously for spy devices** :-D

  3. says

    I add a layer of embroidery backing. While not in any way certified it’s a mesh that should give some protection.

    You’re the lady for the fine stuff. Me, not so much…

  4. says

    They look well made and useful. Maybe they could be improved by sewing in a piece of soft aluminum wire in the nose area for a better fit as it is done in commercial respirators? But even without that, these are certainly better than nothing.

    In the article that nightjar linked to it is recommended to boil the cotton fabric first to shrink it as much as it will go.

  5. says

    I washed it at 60° andthen put it into the tumble dryer. That usually gets all the shrinking done.
    I cut stuff for about 25 more, sewed the central line and pressed the seams. More of them tomorrow.

  6. lorn says

    Random thoughts:
    Having worn N-95 masks for hours on construction projects I can testify that: If you have to wear a mask in humid spaces, like Florida, you are going to feel a lot more comfortable using one with an exhalation valve. It also helps keep the mask dry and both more comfortable and less likely to collapse in on itself.

    It would seem likely that exhalation valves negate most of the masks ability to protect the public from the user but not the other way round. A bit selfish perhaps.

    Recent report has it that this virus, and many more, really don’t last long in humid air. (RH>40%) Seems counter-intuitive to me but that’s what I’m reading. Perhaps a humidifiers might be useful. Makes me feel a bit better about living in Florida without AC.

  7. says

    Yeah, that’s currently the main point of wearing masks: protecting others. And keeping you from touching your face. As a German doc put it on Twitter: we need to make them a sign of caring, of solidarity.
    Also, I don’t feel that damn useless.
    I think most people think of masks in the context of home repair: they protect you from whatever you’re working with. In most medical settings it’s the other way round: to protect other. After all, the surgeon isn’t worried about catching a horribly broken leg from you, they are worried about you catching something that is living in their spit.

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