Photo provided by Hannah Turner
Former UCC student helps make over 900 face masks and shares her pattern
With the arrival of COVID-19, a simple trip to the grocery store has become an occasion for everyone to wear a mask according to the guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Former UCC student Hannah Turner, who is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in Business Organization and Management at Eastern Oregon University, has joined community efforts to provide masks not only for the immunocompromised, but also for healthcare workers who are facing shortages during this time. She is part of a group of eight friends comprised of the Turner and Knebel families, who have been making and donating N95-compliant masks to hospitals, veterinary clinics, police stations, foster homes, and local businesses in the Lebanon, Sutherlin, and Roseburg areas.
“We are sewers, my family has been sewing for years,” said Hannah Turner in a phone interview. When the Turners saw the spread of coronavirus, Hannah Turner’s sister Margaret realized that they could help by making masks.
“The tipping point for us was a combination of hearing about and noticing the need for face masks,” said Hannah Turner. “But also we were directly contacted by a nurse who asked us to make them.”
Over the last four weeks, the Turner and Knebel families have been able to turn out over 900 masks, using a simple pattern originally written in Mandarin that can evolve depending on the materials they have on hand.
“The masks need fabric and they need elastic,” said Hannah Turner. “There are so many sewers in Douglas County that Joann Fabrics ran out of supplies right away.” To combat these shortages, the Turners have found that ribbon can be substituted for elastic, as can strips of T-shirt material, which is somewhat stretchy.
“My sister and I both appreciate the opportunity to put God-given talent to good use,” said Hannah Turner.
The following mask tutorial was made using the pattern provided by the Turners and is only for masks to be used by the general public. For a video of the process, go to Margaret Turner’s YouTube channel. To contact the group or offer a donation, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Umpqua Sewing Warriors and Douglas County Helpers are two more groups that are also making and donating cloth masks to the community, which can be contacted through their Facebook pages.
How to Make A Cloth Face Mask
- A piece of fabric measuring 14” by 8” and two smaller pieces of fabric measuring 1.5” by 4.25” each
- Craft wire or a pipe cleaner
- Two pieces of elastic or ribbon measuring approximately 11” each
- A sewing machine or needle and thread
- An iron and ironing board
- A ruler
- A permanent marker
- Needle-nosed pliers
Disclaimer: Use of these mask instructions is at your sole discretion. No guarantee is implied or given. Contact your personal healthcare provider for all medical advice.
Cut a rectangle piece of cloth measuring 14” by 8”, lay it out right side down, then fold in half and iron as shown in Figure 1 (folding will bring the finished side of the fabric back up). Next, fold both short sides down a quarter inch and iron. These edges will eventually become the hem at the bottom of the mask. Then, line up the 7” mark of a ruler with the center crease and mark all four edges (top halves and bottom halves) of the fabric with a permanent marker at the 5.5”, 5”, 4”, 3.5” 2.5” and 2” ruler locations.
Here is a close-up showing the marks. Depending on the thickness of the fabric, the marker may bleed through—if it doesn’t, both sides of the fabric will need to be marked to make the next step easier.
Position the fabric with the inside of the material facing up, as shown in Figure 1. Then, starting at the 5.5” mark on the bottom half of the rectangle, fold the fabric up towards the middle, and iron.
Repeat with the 5” mark by folding down (away from the middle), and repeat, ironing each time until finished. Then do the same thing on the top half. This accordion folding will create the pleats on the front and back of the mask that help it conform to the shape of the wearer’s face.
Pin the pleats, and sew around all four edges. Do not fold the mask in half yet—the goal at this point is just to sew the pleats and the quarter inch fold at the top and bottom into place.
Although it would take longer, the mask can also be sewn by hand.
The next step is to fold the mask in half. After that is done, cut two small pieces of fabric measuring 1.5” by 4.25”. These will become the loops that hold the elastic on the finished mask. Fold down the short edges of each a quarter inch and iron, then fold in half the long way and iron again.
Line the inside edge of both short sides of the unfinished mask with the small pieces of fabric, making sure to place the raw edges out. The reason for this is that when the mask is turned inside out, the loops will be visible. Pin in place, and sew the two short edges closed, making sure to sew just inside the original seam from when you sewed the pleats in place.
Turn inside out. Cut a piece of wire that’s a little longer than the width of the mask, and make a loop on each end with the pair of needle-nosed pliers. That will keep the wire from poking through the fabric. This is 20-guage craft wire, but pipe cleaners can be used as well. This will enable the mask to conform to the shape of the wearer’s nose.
Put the wire inside the mask in the same place that it is shown in the top picture, and sew across the top of the mask to trap it in a narrow pocket as shown by the top seam in the next photo. Then, measure 1.5” from each side of the bottom half of the mask, and use pins to mark your place. Sew a short seam from each edge to each pin, leaving a gap in the middle to form a pocket that can hold a filter.
Cut two 11” pieces of elastic, thread through the loops on the outside of the mask, and tie. Depending on the wearer, the size of the pieces of elastic (or ribbon) might need to be adjusted.
Try on the mask! It should be snug around the sides of the wearer’s face, but not so tight that it pulls on their ears. These instructions will provide a cloth mask compliant with CDC’s guidelines for the public, and a filter can be made of anything from a few layers of tissue to another piece of fabric.
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