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DIY Face Masks Needed

Kalamazoo County is asking people who sew to make and donate face masks to protect first responders, health officials and the like as supplies get exhausted. They recommend this pattern and tutorial, but we've detailed the steps below, too.

This could be a great at-home activity. All you need are some basic sewing supplies and some cotton or linen fabric — tea towels, t-shirts, and pillowcases work great! Families could set up stations for cutting, pinning, sewing, counting, and labeling mask bundles.

SARA will coordinate collection efforts in our neighborhood, so start sewing and stay tuned for details.



OR linens or other breathable, or water repellant fabric (tea towels, pillowcases, or cotton t-shirts) 1/4” or 3/8” wide Elastic (white or black) Fabric Scissors Heavy Paper for patterns: 9” x 15” Mask Pattern (here) Sewing Machine Thread Cardboard (tip: use a 9.5” piece of cardboard to loop elastic around 10-15 times to cut all at once to produce 20-30, 9.5” pieces) Thimbles Pins



Step 1: Preparation

First, gather your supplies. You'll need to download and print this pattern. Make sure not to click the 'shrink-to-fit' option in your printers settings, or your finished masks. may end up smaller than expected.

Step 2: Make fabric squares The goal in this step is to end up with 4 pieces of material sized to 9" x 15" rectangles. Cut a rectangular 9” x 15” base pattern out of thick paper . Fold fabric in 4 layers . Lay 9” x 15” base pattern on top of 4-layer fabric. Cut around the base pattern.

Step 3: Pinning

Take 2 cut sheets and fold in half to make 4 layers . Pin mask pattern to cut 4-layer fabric using 4 pins around the outside.

Step 4: Cutting Cut around the pattern to make your fabric into mask shapes.

Step 5: Finishing Remove pins and paper pattern from cut fabric . Separate 4 fabric pieces into 2 sections of 2 layers of fabric each . Pin 2-piece sections around curved edge vertically, every 2".

Step 6: Elastic Cut elastic into (2) 9.5” sections. Insert 1 elastic into each 2-piece pinned section through the flatter open edge (opposite from the edge that is pinned) . Check to be sure elastic is not twisted inside the section. Once elastic strip is inserted into the opening and placed flat in a U shape, center the new elastic ear loop and pin down each end of the elastic strip 3” apart — EVEN with the edge of the fabric.

** TIP: create a 3” line on your table as a guide. Use your completed 2-piece section as a guide for the other section to keep ear loops even. Place a single pin through middle of the 2 sections to make one unit. Now, you're ready for sewing.

Step 7: Sewing Unpin the 2 sections pinned together . Place one 2-piece section on the machine and prepare to sew the edge with the elastic ends. Place machine on a zigzag stitch and sew along the entire edge. Line up second 2-piece section, place on the machine and sew the edge with elastic ends. Remove from the machine and take out the pins. Turn both sections inside out. For each section, sew a straight stitch on the same edge for extra stability for the elastic, ensuring the elastic is caught in the stitch. Place one section directly on top of the other section, line up directly on top of the other and prepare for sewing . Using a 5/8” seam for a small size N95 and a 1/2” seam for a regular N95, zigzag stitch down the section that will be over the nose part of the mask, making sure all pieces are getting caught in the stitch. Back-stitch to finish and cut loose threads. Open completed mask. Trim up any frays.


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