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Published on March 25, 2020

face mask graphic

How Can I Help Sew Masks for Health Care Workers?

The challenges brought on by a global pandemic are many, and a wide range of people and groups want to help.

The Avera Faith and Community Engage program (F.A.C.E) seeks volunteers to help craft cloth face masks for use in hospitals and clinics.

The guidelines, instructions, materials and patterns to do this are included in this story.

Creating cloth masks for our patients and employees right now will assist in the further conservation of our precious protective equipment during this time of need. These homemade masks will help extend what is available to providers, nurses and others.

Mask Design

The optimal fabric is single ply cotton-blend T-shirt material. You can use T-shirts themselves, but they should be new ones, which are not worn or tattered. The second choice for fabric is quilting cotton. Please pre-wash material prior to sewing.

The masks include elastic head or ear-loops. These are preferred over ties that can get tangled in the laundry. The masks are made in medium and large sizes, and both sizes are needed.

Supplies and Patterns

You’ll need about a half-yard of fabric to make two or three masks, as well as quarter-inch elastic for the loops. Elastic hair ties/bands also will work. A full-head loop is preferred due to ability to obtain a tighter fit. If making them with a head-loop, the elastic band will need to be about 23 inches long. Masks with ear loops would need two 8-inch loops or elastic hair ties.

If you don't have elastic, make four fabric ties for each mask. There should be two upper and two lower ties (on the right and left sides of the mask) Make each of the four about 18 inches long.

All-purpose thread, a scissors, pins and a Sharpie round out the needed materials to make the masks.

Note: The pattern below is updated to include instructions for making masks with ties.

You can view a PDF of the pattern here

Tips for making them can be found here

Learn how to properly wear and care for your cloth face mask

Once You’re Done (with 25)

When you have 25 or more masks completed, coordinate with your contacts to get completed face masks to a central location. Practice social distancing to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. If you are able to deliver the face masks, please contact Amanda Conway at 605-381-3951 or one of the below Foundation contacts in your region.

We ask that you not go into the facility to deliver the masks. The facility contact person will explain the process to drop them off. They will ask for your name, and total masks you have delivered.

You can also email Foundation staff.

If you prefer to ship the face masks, mail them to:

Stacy Reck, 500 Taylor Drive, Tea, SD 57064

Avera staff also can pick up your masks. Call Stacy Reck, 605-261-5778 or Amanda Conway 605-381-3951, and they can coordinate pickups.

We greatly appreciate your assistance.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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