This list is based on frequently asked questions from The Sewing Army Facebook Feed. We will do our best to update this section regularly. The answers are based on information that is available at the time and may change as the new information or practices emerge.
Q: Where are the face mask and scrub cap video tutorials?
A: Patterns and Tutorials
Q: Where can I get supplies?
A: What to do if you need supplies?
Q: What organizations need masks and scrub caps? Where can I donate the PPE I have made?
A: PPE spreadsheet
A: Also search the Sewing Army Facebook: Popular Topics/ Places Needing Masks and Caps.
Q: How do I use the PPE spreadsheet?
A: Check out the tutorial here
Q: I’m an organization: How do I request face masks and scrub caps?
A: How to request Face Masks and Scrub Caps
Q: I have PPE to donate to an organization, how do I deliver?
A: You need to arrange to drop off your package with the organization or ask them if they are willing to pick up safely from you. You can also ask your community if there’s a volunteer driver that will help you.
Q: Does The Sewing Army take isolation gown requests?
A: We have been able to fulfill over 2000 gown requests due to generous fabric and financial donations. Currently, we aren’t officially taking gown requests due to the cost and the time commitment for our volunteer sewists. We ask organizations requesting gowns, to support small businesses that can make them for you. If you’d like a list of potential businesses within our Sewing Army group, please ask Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Is the CAA still delivering PPE for The Sewing Army?
A: Partnerships CAA
Q: I’m a Sewist and I’ve been offered a financial donation for my services, is this ok?
A: Yes, it’s absolutely ok to accept an honorarium for your services and supplies.
Q: Does The Sewing Army accept PPE requests from organizations other than low income or non-profit essential worker organizations?
A: This is a case by case decision at times, please fill out a request for PPE if you are unsure and explain your needs and organization. We will be in touch if we have further questions. If you are an organization that can afford to pay for PPE, we ask that you contact a local small business that makes PPE, to fulfill your request. Please ask Renee at email@example.com for a list of potential businesses within our Sewing Army group that could help you.
Q: Is there a printout to include with face masks and scrub caps when you ship them out?
A: The Sewing Army Insert
Q: I’m a new sewist. Who can help me with sewing advice?
A: Ann Griffin is our group sewing advisor. Please post your question in Facebook Feed and tag Ann. That way more people will see the answer and will benefit too! Please avoid asking questions in a Facebook DM. (Direct Message)
Q: What material should the face mask be made out of?
A: Tightly woven cotton, quilting cotton or similar, cotton blends, t-shirt jersey, or you can make 1 side cotton and 1 side a polyester outer layer. No matter what fabric, be sure to use 2 different colours for front and back so that the wearer knows which side is the outer.
Q: Can I use flannel for masks?
A: You can, but if it’s for people who wear masks for a long period of time, such as essential workers, we have been hearing it is too hot.
Q: Is it better to use ties or elastic on the masks.
A: Either is fine, but I’ve heard many many times about the preference for twill tape or fabric (bias tape) tie-ups. It’s adjustable and comfortable for long term use. Also, there’s no need for an added gadget or button for this method, which eliminates extra work. In the end, we want to make masks that are to the preference of the people who need to wear them. Always consult the organization’s request for specifics on what they prefer. It may not be the way you’ve made them up to now but we must be adaptable.
Q: Should the mask have dark material on the outside?
A: Some organizations have requested that, but it’s unclear if that’s a requirement overall. Do the best with the stock you have. If you are making for a specific organization, check in with them for their requirements.
Q: Is patterned fabric ok for the masks?
A: Absolutely ok.
Q: Should my mask be sterilized before I send it?
A: Wash your hands before sewing and shipping, sterilize your machine and work area with Lysol wipes or the like. Please add the INSERT provided, to instruct every recipient to wash masks in hot before wearing them.
Q: My friends are asking for masks, should I provide them?
A: It’s absolutely ok if you have time to make for your friends and family. That said, this group is focused on providing for essential workers, so we won’t post requests for masks and caps for non-essential workers, such as family and friends.
Q: Should we pre-wash the fabric in hot water before sewing to avoid shrinkage?
A: Yes, many new types of cotton or cotton blends will need to be preshrunk. You don’t want to do all that work and then have it shrink after the first wash. Remember, the masks will be washed in hot water and dried many times and need to be sturdy and preshrunk, to be reusable as long as possible.
Q: I have no elastic left. What else can I use on masks and scrub caps?
A: Masks: If needing elastic for masks, check out the Pattern and Tutorial on this website for a tie-up version.
A: Scrub Caps: If needing elastic for scrub caps, simply gather the fabric by 3-4″ and use the drawstring to further cinch in for an adjustable fit
Q: Scrub Caps: What if my elastic doesn’t stretch far enough?
A: That’s ok, just stretch it as far as possible in each direction, the drawstring will take care of the rest.
Q: Is there a pattern for a child’s mask?
A: Print out the mask pattern at 85%