COVID-19 Mask Making

HELP URGENTLY NEEDED: Do you sew? Our staff are essential personnel working with some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Like so many health care settings, we do not have enough personal protective equipment even though we are sourcing what we can from many, many sources. The staff are also some of the best people on this earth! We would be grateful for the facemasks you are able to make and donate to us. Thank you!

How to Make Masks:




Where can I find the most up to date information on the mask project? For pattern details and sewing information, please see The Arc's Facebook page. Clarifications, updates on mask making kit availability, and FAQs will be posted on this. Please note that the information on The Arc's mask making project should be considered the most up-to-date reference for anyone wishing to make a donation to The Arc's efforts. Thank you!

How will these masks be used? The CDC has approved fabric masks to be used in crisis response. The Arc of Opportunity is using these masks for staff, providers, and program participants who might require a mask for cleanliness or minor infection control. This conserves resources so that the disposable masks can be saved for when an outbreak occurs.

How should masks be packaged for drop-off? You can put all completed masks in one re-sealable plastic bag. They do not need to be packaged individually. If you have made multiple sizes and have not labeled the masks (see pattern for instructions), please package different sizes in different plastic bags.

Where and when can I drop off completed masks? Masks may be dropped off in re-sealable plastic bags at The Arc of Opportunity's Fitchburg location. There is no need to enter the building. There are instructions on the reception door. For your GPS:

The Arc of Opportunity, 161 Boulder Drive, Fitchburg, MA 01420

Can I mail in the masks that I have made? Yes. Please mail your masks via USPS, UPS, and FedEx to:

The Arc of Opportunity, 564 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420

Will the masks be sanitized before being worn? The Arc of Opportunity will sanitize all masks before individual use.

Will the mask be laundered and reused? Yes, staff will be asked to launder and reuse donated masks.

I’ve made multiple sizes. How will you tell the difference? When you have finished your masks, please use a Sharpie marker to mask size (Sm, Med, or Large). If you do not have a Sharpie, please somehow designate size for the masks before you drop them off.

Can masks be made out of gently-used fabric? We request that masks be crafted from previously unused material.

Can metallic fabric be used? We request that masks be crafted from non-metallic fabric.

Can fabric other than cotton or cotton flannel be used? We request a tightly woven cotton fabric be used as the outer layer. Quilting cotton is excellent. A softer cotton such as flannel can be used as the inner layer if desired, but quilting cotton is also an acceptable inner later. Please avoid synthetic materials as they do not breathe well.

Should fabric be washed before constructing the masks? Yes, please wash all fabric before cutting mask pieces to prevent masks from shrinking after construction.

Can glue be used in place of stitching? We request that masks be stitched, not glued.

What kind of elastic can be used? Flat elastic in 1/8”, 1/4”, or 3/8” widths will work with the mask pattern shown in the video link. White is preferred, but other colors are acceptable. Rounded elastic is harder to sew securely in place, as well as less comfortable to wear around the ears.

What length elastic should be used? 6.5” for the Small, 7” for the Medium, and 7.5” for the Large works well for most people.

I can’t find the appropriate size elastic. Can I use larger elastic? No, larger elastic would be very uncomfortable behind the ears. The good news is that wider braided elastic can be cut to the appropriate width using scissors or a rotary cutter. This only works with braided elastic, NOT knit elastic.

Can we use ties in place of elastic? If flat elastic is not available, fabric ties can be sewn on the mask, one tie on each of the four mask corners. Ties should be approximately 1/4” width, sewn so there are no frayed edges, and approximately 15” for each corner.

Any recommendations on the seam allowance? Our sewing community has recommended a 1/4” seam allowance.

Can I use a different pattern? The guidelines on our website specify a pattern that will create make breathable, washable, comfortable masks that will stay in place with minimal need to adjust them. Masks with pockets for filters are not requested at this time.

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