Help Make PPE for Healthcare Workers (and yourself)



Help protect our healthcare workers (and ourselves) during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This is where each of us, acting in our own communities, can help in a big way!

Many small acts, taken together, have a big impact.


There is a critical shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) nationwide. Health care workers have taken to social media asking the public to help them. Here are three actions we can take to protect our healthcare professionals:

  1. Self-quarantine and take steps to protect yourself and others from infection
  2. Call your local, state and federal elected officials and demand that they step up to protect workers.
  3. If you sew, make masks for healthcare workers. See the information and resources below. Non-sewers can pick up and deliver masks to local agencies that need them.



The best advice we have heard is “assume you are infected and take steps to prevent infecting others”. 

Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face

Stay home as much as possible and only go out for essentials.

Buy essential goods but leave some for others. Hoarding doesn’t help anyone.

If possible, choose groceries other than WIC approved products. Families who rely on SNAP can only purchase WIC approved groceries. If those are sold out then those families go hungry.

Start wearing masks yourself in case you are infected and asymptomatic. This is widely practiced in Asia and Europe. It’s time we caught up, too.

Here is a link to the World Health Organization website

Here is a link to the CDC website



Insist that the full power of our government be used to ensure that our healthcare workers have the supplies they need. 

We all need to be doing this every day.

Go here for more information. And, yes, multiple calls to your elected officials are important and necessary.



There are two mask patterns that are circulating. Pattern #1

Link to pattern #2 and YouTube tutorial

Jo-Ann Fabrics is offering “make and take” PPE classes and will also accept donations of homemade PPEs. Check with your local Jo-Ann Fabrics store to confirm. Here is a link to the press release with information about the project

The best advice we have heard is to check with your local hospital or clinic and find out what they need and what they will accept. Please also consider firefighters, police officers, day care centers, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.

From Nikki: Call the children’s hospitals locally. I have a friend in PA who’s a pediatrician and the kids in oncology need masks, her team needs masks and they don’t have them. Her mother organized a group of ladies to make them and they ARE going to use them and share if they have extras.

Bear in mind that the donated masks will be washed by the facility after you drop them off. Homemade paper or non-washable masks may be refused. When in doubt, check with the facility before making the masks.


Here is what our sewing members have to say about mask materials:

From Nadine: Use 100% cotton. High thread count means that it is a tighter weave - prevents infection getting in compared to looser weave cotton. Go for  “premium”, 100% cotton. Use .25” wide elastic as .5” will not work.

I did find some of the last jewelers elastic cord. Cannot be picky.

Also recommend making template out of thin cardboard, like file folders. It will last longer and allow speed to trace.

Leave an opening at the top to insert a coffee filter for added protection.


From Amanda: My friend and I are coordinating a force currently 5 strong to make masks for local hospitals. We have ordered fabrics and 1/8” knit elastic, we are using the pattern from the deaconess hospital system.

I spoke to a nurse at Boca Regional and Doctor at Broward Health and everyone wants them! They can be worn over the n95s to preserve those for longer.

We are using cotton and flannel to double up on fabrics for as much protection as possible.

We are using tight woven 100% cotton knit fabric and cotton flannel. For the ear loops we are using 1/8” flat elastic but have seen others use fabric, ribbons and more!

When choosing fabrics try the think about someone breathing through it.

- for materials I have seen that dish towels can be used but yes definitely test breathe-ability, I am also unsure if the hospitals will accept them because they will see the fabric is “different”

- my friends and I are actually reaching out to some hospitals because the different privately owned hospitals are basically setting their own standards so we want to meet their needs - we can be flexible with design / fabric per each hospital specification

- the tight weave 100% cotton and cotton flannel seems to be consensus for ease of wear, flexibility, laundering, and ease of sewing from all the 3 mask groups I am currently part of on Facebook (the reality is we need to mass produce as many as possible and give them to many people in addition to healthcare workers) as the national need is closer to “in the billions” for the following year in the USA alone

- I would make the dish towel / denim ones more for personal wear and friends and family so they can donate the n95s which they have purchased, if the sewing machine can even handle putting together a few layers of that fabric (mine can’t)

- in NY they are taking ANY masks donated because there is such an incredible shortage.


Here is a link to an article with test results on different fabrics


An article on an Amherst physician making masks for her community


From Providence Health System, Washington a link on how to make masks


From the Deaconess Health System, Indiana, an article with pattern and YouTube tutorial on mask making


From the Owensboro Health System, Kentucky, an article with the pattern and instructions


YouTube Videos:

Deaconess Hospital YouTube tutorial


Jo-Ann fabric YouTube tutorial


Don't sew but want to help? Offer to pick up and deliver masks where they are needed.