This list is based on frequently asked questions from The Sewing Army Facebook Feed. 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: Donate to your local non profit and low income organizations in your area, also churches, schools, hospitals, shelters, food banks, long term care homes will most likely accept donated handmade PPE too. Contact your local organizations to see what they need.
Q: I’m an organization: How do I request face masks and scrub caps?
A: We are no longer taking requests as a group
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 of your choosing or ask them if they are willing to pick up safely from you.
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: 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: Join our Facebook group and post your question. 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. It’s recommended now to use 3 tightly woven layers or 2 layers with a filter option.
Q: Can I use flannel for masks?
A: This is not recommended
Q: Is it better to use ties or elastic on the masks.
A: Either is fine, but it depends on the organization you’ll be donating too Many times there’s a preference for twill tape or fabric (bias tape) tie-ups as 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.
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: 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%