We Can Do It! Covid-19 Mask Makers. Art by Toby Maurer of The Brandinghouse, Asheville, NC.

Part of my first batch of masks. April 13, 2020. Photo by M.E. Hill.









Original Post, April 13, 2020, Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place Day 28

Updated, May 27, 2020, Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place Day 72

Updated, August 18, 2020, Covid Shelter-in-place Day 155


I’ve come out of retirement (from my soap making business) and am making 100% cotton face masks. Part micro business, part service to the world. What a time we live in!

In mid March I sensed that mandatory face covering was coming. I was horrified that my friends and family might be unprotected. I can sew! I can make them masks! I set up the old family Kenmore sewing machine, circa 1970, and dug out some wonderful cotton I had stashed. I then spent hours and hours and hours studying different patterns online. I felt it was vital that I follow a pattern offered by health care providers. I found a pattern offered by Deaconess Hospital in Indiana in late March and made my first batch.

As of April 22, I’ve made 246. Most I’ve given away to friends, family, neighbors, the local independent grocery store, local senior home, and my veterinarian’s office.

As of May 27, 2020 I’ve made 499. Now I’m selling them at the local independent grocery store, Piedmont Grocery, here in Oakland, California.

As of August 18, 2020 I’ve made 1,106 and still selling them at Piedmont Grocery.

Get in touch with me if you need masks.

Please also see this sub-page for more mask information:

Mask Birds, dark – Deaconess style with long front and filter pocket

I’m using the pattern from Deaconess Hospital in Indiana with a few improvements as of Batch #2 (April 9): a filter pocket accessible from the inside, nose-wire channel, and longer nose-to-throat coverage. It’s an easy-on easy-off mask.

Remember, while you are wearing your mask, in order to keep your hands clean, wash/clean  your hands every time you touch your mask.


Description and Information:

  • Face Mask, Reusable, Washable
  • Size – Updated May 27, 2020
    • Adult Size – Regular – 8 1/4″ wide x 7″ tall (fully expanded). This size will fit most people. Both sides of mask are the same fabric.
    • Adult Size – Long – 8″ wide x 7 1/2″ tall (fully expanded). This size offers more coverage from nose to throat. The inside of the mask is made of a fabric different from the outside/front fabric, usually white or beige.
  • New fabric patterns every few weeks
  • 2 Layers of 100% Cotton. A few masks, made with very thin fabric, have 3 layers and are labeled such.
  • 3 Pleats
  • Elastic Ear Loops. See below for tips on Altering Ear Loops for a Better Fit.
  • Filter pocket accessible from the inside for you to fill
  • Nose wire channel
    • Slip a pipe cleaner or wired twisty in channel for a tighter nose fit.
    • Always hand wash if you use a nose wire.
    • Remove nose wire for machine washing. (Wire gets bent with strong agitation.)
  • Washing Instructions
    • Remove any filter and nose wire.
    • Best to hand wash (maybe sing Happy Birthday to it twice?), hand press flat and air dry.
    • OK to iron.
    • Not great but OK to machine launder.
    • Mask will need reshaping by hand after machine laundering.
  • Keep it Clean!
    • Always follow CDC and health professionals’ guidelines for cleaning frequency. Things are changing pretty fast so just do a search to find the latest. Try searching something like “How to wash a face mask CDC”.
  • Not medical grade
  • Not for hospital or medical use
  • Not OSHA certified


    Altering Ear Loops for a Better Fit

    There are many ways to do it. Here are a few. They are all DIY. Try a search for “Face Mask Adapter”

    • Here’s a way to make the ear loops shorter with a bead which you can thread on to the ear loop, like this. I was lucky and had a 1 cm bead with a .5 cm (50 mm) hole. It threaded through easily, but very tightly. Now I can adjust the ear loops by sliding the bead up and down. And it looks kind of neat-o, in a Covid sort of way. :-/






























    • Mask Adapter – Three inches of elastic and two buttons, You could also use a small piece of fabric instead of the large elastic. See video link.







    • To make the ear loops longer or to tighten the mask’s fit you can wear the ear loops with an extension at the back of the neck, like in this picture. The green dot on her neck is a snap on a short extender that connects to the other side of her head, catching the other ear loop. Maybe you could use a piece of Velcro tape, a ribbon, string, or the like, to accomplish the same thing.

      Ear Elastic Style Mask Used with Neck Extension







      • To make the ear loops shorter or to tighten the mask’s fit fold over a bit of elastic (here it’s red with white dots at her thumb tips) and hand sew it to the mask like MEH has done here. Can you see how there are two layers of red elastic folded back on the mask? She’s sewn that folded elastic to itself and to the mask.

      Shorten Ear Elastic with a simple fold stitch.








      A big THANK YOU! to a number of you who have generously and spontaneously shared your sewing supplies with me: fabric (M.S.M., N.S.), elastic (L.N., P.S., M.E.H., N.S.), thread (P.S.), pipe cleaners (T.M.), bias tape (J.Z.) and a little money (S.A., B.K., N.S., M.E.H.).