Mask Designs & Patterns
Below, please find our recommended features and patterns, however we accept masks made from any pattern.
Accepted fabric: 100% cotton (no sewn-in or fusible interfacing* or medical fabrics; no polyester, rayon, flannel, fleece, wool, synthetic fibers, etc.) Fabric should be continuous, with no breaks, gaps, or valves. Note - cotton/polyester blend is acceptable for ties. References: PA Dept of Health, CDC
* With hundreds of home sewists making tens of thousands of masks, our effort tries to take an "open source" approach to ensure recipients know what is in their masks, both during wear and sterilization, and have the option. Therefore, in our particular case, a removable middle filter layer is preferable.
Suggested features: Based on feedback we received, these were some of the preferences that lead to improved safety, comfort, and ability to customize the mask upon receipt.
Removable nose piece slot: This is encouraged by the CDC, as it can greatly improve the fit and seal of the mask around the nose bridge, improving its effectiveness by reducing leaks. A small piece of fabric, twill tape, or even just an extra top stitch, can be used to create a place to insert anything from pipe cleaner, electrical wire, steel strips, or leftover coffee bag ties.
Please do not fully sew it in; this allows the recipient to make basic mask repairs and modifications, in case they find the wire uncomfortable, or it breaks, pokes through, slides off center, or causes an allergic reaction -- the wearer has the flexibility to make adjustments. This extends the useful life of our masks. The nose wire channel can be left empty for the recipient to insert their own.
Sew channels (vs. ties sewn directly onto mask): This allows the recipient to swap out loops for ties and vice versa, or adjust the size. Alternately, pony beads or sliding knots can be used for adjustable length ear loops.
Filter pocket -- This is helpful for allowing recipients to insert a non-washable higher-filtration material, such as Filti, sterilization wrap, or even disposable procedure masks. While certain kinds of non-woven polypropylene (NWPP) can make an effective permanent inner layer, there are many brands, varieties, and manufacturing methods, not all of which are proven to be safe and/or withstand multiple washes. Due to this complexity, risk, and added cost -- and as testing is still undergoing -- we prefer the flexibility of a filter pocket to easily insert a filter when needed and based on the latest lab tests and research.
All edges should be finished with no fraying; all strings trimmed.
As always, if you are unsure, please contact us and we can provide some feedback -- thank you!
Patterns (below): Our patterns were selected from feedback from both hospitals, stitchers, and individuals. We have sewn masks from each of these patterns. While we hope that all of these patterns can be made quickly, the Leah Day mask pattern is a good place to start for new stitchers. These patterns will fit over N95 masks (please be sure to use the Men’s size for the RCoA pattern). Providence and Deaconess surgical style pleated masks are also well-received.
Although we are requiring that folks receiving masks sanitize everything prior to using, keeping your space clean and sanitized helps too! Do not make masks for others if you are ill. Please wear a mask while working, and keep food and drink away from your work area.
Note: Earloop requests are twice as common as ties behind the head.