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Sew & Donate Masks to LVRS

LVRS is seeking volunteers to sew cloth masks that will fit over the squad’s current N95 masks to make them last longer. Because these new cloth masks will need to fit over N95 masks, these masks will need to be sewn to detailed specifications pertaining to size, shape and materials. LVRS will donate any extra cloth masks we receive to local workers in essential jobs, such as town, grocery store and pharmacy workers.  This will assist in deterring the spread of COVID-19 per the CDC’s and the Vermont Department of Health’s recently updated guidelines on the adoption of cloth masks. Thank you so much for your help!

If you are interested in making face masks to donate to LVRS and have questions, please contact Claudia Harris at (802)824-6699 or click here to email her. If you are in need of fabric, the fine folks at the Waterwheel House Quilt Shop in Londonderry have generously donated material and LVRS has a limited amount of fabric and other materials for your use if needed.

Below are instructions and a tutorial for making fabric face masks. However, if you are making them for LVRS use in an emergency setting, the following modifications must be made so that they fit over our N95 masks.

  • Fabric dimensions for two sizes of masks:
  • Medium: 9 x 7 inches
  • Large: 10 x 8 inches
  • For the ties, LVRS will accept either elastic or cloth ties if you have already made the masks, HOWEVER if you are starting fabrication now, LVRS would prefer the ties to be constructed from an “upcycled” t-shirt:
  • Use a gently-worn and well-washed medium or heavyweight t-shirt to make the straps.
  • Cut out the center part of the front and back of the shirt, making sure the fabric is at least 15” wide.
  • Cut into 1” by 15” strips.
  • The fabric will curl a bit and self-seam, that’s good!
  • A video of how to make the straps using t-shirt material is here:

Other than the modifications above, you can follow the pattern and information listed below. The information below is from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and edited by LVRS.

Important!! Infection Prevention
Before starting this project, please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you been in contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  2. Do you have fever, cough or shortness of breath?

If you are able to answer “NO” to both questions, then proceed with making masks.
If you answer “YES” to either or both questions, please do not make masks.
If you are experiencing cough, fever, or shortness of breath and have a concern that you may have COVID-19 please call your primary care provider for a risk assessment.

Instructions for Making Masks

Materials Needed

  • 100% new but washed cotton fabric (front) – no metallic fabrics
  • 100% new but washed cotton or cotton flannel (back)

Materials for straps:

  • Elastic: 1/8″, 1/4″, or 3/8” flat elastic
  • Bias-Tape: 1/4” inch bias-tape
  • Medium- to heavy-weight 100% cotton t-shirt material: cut in 1” x 15” strips (four pieces needed per mask)

Written instructionsHow to Make a Facemask (PDF)

Video instructions from Deaconess Hospital:

Please read the FAQs below for additional information. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)   Written by DHMC and adapted by LVRS

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 on how to label), 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 LVRS building (there is a donations box at the side entrance off the parking lot). 

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

PO Box 911 or 6068 Route 100
Londonderry, VT 05148

Will the masks be sanitized before being worn? 
All masks will be washed prior to distribution. 

What size masks do you need?
The instructions list three sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. We would recommend making Small- and Medium-sized masks primarily. If possible, making a few Large masks to help cover and extend the lives our N95 masks would be helpful as well. See instructions for cutting sizes.

I’ve made multiple sizes. How will you tell the difference?
When you have finished your masks, please use a Sharpie marker to mark a 1” tall S, M, or L on the lower left corner of the inside of each mask to indicate the size. This will help providers select the correct size. 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?
No, we ask that you use only previously unused material. No metallics! 

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 alternative. 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?
No, the masks should be stitched, not glued.

What kind of elastic can be used?
Corded elastic or flat elastic in 1/8”, 1/4”, or 3/8” widths will work with the mask pattern shown in the video link. 1/8” or 1/4″ is ideal. 

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? YES! And, there are two options:

  1. 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.
  2. Or, you can use a medium- to heavy-weight 100% cotton t-shirt. Cut strips in 1” x 15” strips. The fabric will roll up (it’s okay!) and “self-seam.”

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 the DHMC website specify a pattern that will 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.