Help our Community Fight COVID-19
We ended the creation and collection of masks as a group on May 18, 2020. Making masks not only helped others, but also gave us purpose and focus, helping to alleviate some of the anxiety and stress during this crisis. We accomplished an immense amount in a short period of time and made an incredible contribution to keeping our community safe during this pandemic.
We filled a critical gap and we cannot thank our helpers enough.
How to Make a Face Mask
You will need
- 100% cotton Fabric (one 9″x12″ folded or two 9″x6″ rectangles)
- 1/8″ or 1/4″ flat elastic, or 1-2mm thin round elastic (6 – 7.5 inches depending on your elastic type)
- Nose fitting model – 6-7 in flat plastic twist ties
Please wash and machine dry all fabric first. This preshrinks the fabric so that the mask will not warp when washed by the hospital.
VIDEO: Mask Making Tutorial
Face mask Pleater
Photo Tutorial (no nose fitting)
VIDEO: Tutorial with Nose Fitting
Making Mask with Ties (PDF)
Other groups where you can send Masks or Materials
Although we have stopped operating as a group, there are other groups in the area you can reach out and offer materials or assistance.
Bedford Sewing Battalion
City of Portsmouth, Senior Activity Center
Brinn Sullivan – 603.767.2697, [email protected]
Coastal NH Mask Makers for Store Employees, Pharmacies,and Others
Mask Makers of Manchester
Maskmakers for Concord, NH
Monadnock Community Mask Makers
Pemi Valley Sew the Curve Flat
Plaistow & Friends Making Masks 😷 4 Heroes
Wolfeboro Area Mask Makers
Merrimack Mask Sewing effort
Maine COVID 19 Mask Makers
North Shore Fabric Masks for Health Professionals
Upper Valley Mask Makers
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use “xyz” pattern instead of the one from Deaconess Hospital?
The organizations and hospitals that we are partnering with have specifically requested the pattern included in the announcement (ear loop type). You are free to make something else, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to use it or it’s what’s needed.
I’ve altered the pattern to add “xyz"
Your drive to improve the pattern and make it better / safer / more usable are appreciated. Keep in mind that increased consistency and reduced variables will help ensure that your work is put to use and will save valuable triage time for medical professionals that are relying upon us.
Our partner organizations have overwhelmingly and specifically requested this pattern, and we recommend following it as closely as possible given material limitations and constraints.
Modifications like a pocket for wire, or a filter are generally OK as they can be used with or without the additional materials.
Can I use bias tape instead of elastic?
The hospital prefers elastic over bias tape, but if it’s all you have, go for it.
Can I use cotton blend, jersey, synthetic fabric?
The pattern requests tightly woven cotton. We don’t know if requirements may be loosened given demand, so set it aside as we may need it later.
What kind of thread should I use?
Cotton, Polyester, or a blend should be fine
When do I need to wash the materials or finished product?
You need to wash your fabric before making the masks to ensure no additional shrinkage. There is no need to launder them afterwards as they’ll be washed again by facilities before use.
They don’t seem very stable. Should I add some fusible interfacing to add structure?
No, this is not necessary. Cotton is fine.
Can you use a different width elastic?
1/4″ or 1/8″ flat elastic preferred, 1-2mm round elastic is OK too. If you have a wider elastic you can cut it thinner using this tutorial. See the tutorial on elastic cutting (search Facebook group for “Elastic Cutting”).
I have round elastic and material from hair elastics and headbands. Can that be used?
Yes, the thinner elastic will require a knot at the end, and the hair elastics can be used provided that they are the appropriate length (~6”)
I have some weaving loom loops, how long do I cut them for masks?
These are not very stretchy, so cutting once to open and using one loop per side works well.
How do I know if my fabric is 100% Cotton?
Many printed fabrics will list the material type on the edge. The only other way to tell is to use the burn test. We’re not advocating or endorsing the use of open flames (be careful!), but there are resources available. Fabric Mart has one – https://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/Burn-Test-Chart.html
I read these masks are not as good as N95 medical masks. Why are we making them?
Yes – we know. Unfortunately, this is all we have now. These masks fall under “crisis capacity” per CDC due to lack of proper CDC approved masks.
Crisis capacity: strategies that are not commensurate with U.S. standards of care. These measures, or a combination of these measures, may need to be considered during periods of known facemask shortages.
I’m not located in the Seacoast but want to help or refer an organization for intake. What other resources are out there?
We put together a list of other mask making groups which you can see further up on this page.
How should these be washed?
Seacoast Mask Makers is providing masks to various organizations who manage their own cleaning protocols prior to distribution.
We do not endorse or advocate for any specific cleaning methodology other than that the masks should be cleaned prior to use. We’ve provided a link to the CDC recommendations if more information is needed. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
I need a mask for myself/my family. Can I purchase or get them from you?
We are focused on serving the needs of local healthcare, retail, first responders, retirement homes, correctional facilities, manufacturers and others. We do not sell masks.
We recommend that you use the resources that we’ve provided to make your own masks, and if you’re not able to or have access to sewing materials, there are online options to purchase (Etsy). There are also tutorials on how to fashion a mask out of a bandana and hair elastics. See the link here:
There is also a video on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/100007964100586/videos/2611871689088276/