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Face Masks Suburbangrandma Style

This is an updated version of this post, due to minor adjustments made to the original design of this face mask.

Suburbangrandma switched gears from cooking and baking to face mask making!

These turbulent times dealing with the coronavirus are becoming very taxing on all of us.

My heartfelt THANK YOU goes to ALL THE MEDICAL WORKER AND FIRST RESPONDERS.  They are our Social Soldiers fighting this pandemic war, so please lets be patient and understanding, and keep them in our prayers.  They are putting their own health and life online for our well being, yet many times without sufficient protection due to the shortage of adequate supply of these necessities.

When I found out that Joann Fabric launched an effort to help out by donating fabric for over 1.5 million handmade masks, I jumped right in, but they limited only enough supplies for 20 face masks per person.  These completed masks may be returned back to the store to be donated to medical facilities.

In my case I asked them to let me donate them to a pharmacy, since as of right now neither Pharmacists nor their staff are wearing ANY masks.

Apparently their corporate officials don’t seem to be too concerned about the safety of their employees OR their customers!!! 

They are concerned that it might cause panic in customers seeing the staff in masks!!!

Give me a break!!!

What kind of a ridiculous strategy is this?????

I happen to have several members of my immediate family and many relatives who are in the healthcare system, helping others while being exposed to the very virus we are fighting, by not being adequately outfitted with the proper protective gear.  I’m sick to  my stomach worrying about them and their families.

My dining room table turned into a face mask sewing center within a matter of minutes.

I have sewn 20 handmade masks and shipped them to my son to use by him and his staff at Rite Aid in New York State.  Actually as of few days ago, the company provided 2 masks for each pharmacist, to exclusively use during administering vaccinations to walk in clients at the pharmacy.  Also, the pharmacy employees were given a care package consisting of hand sanitizer, box of tissues and vitamin C….still NO masks.

The outer side of the mask…the front..with a middle support for the nose bridge, created by a bag twist tie sewn into the inside of the  mask.

The 3 layers of fabric to construct the mask:  Outer (printed) layer, middle (filter) layer made from interfacing material (non-woven material), and back layer made of plain cotton material.

The non-woven material helps to prevent the tiny particles from penetrating the mask layers and entering your system.

The size of each piece measures 6.5 inches by 9.5 inches.  Allow at least 1/4″ for a seam.

The back side of the mask, made of a plain cotton material.

All these materials are washable by hand or in a washing machine, and may be dried in a dryer or on a drying rack, or just hang it up on something like a door knob.


I followed most of the instruction included in the kit from Joann Fabric, but I improvised my masks a bit.

I know that the interfacing used on the back side of these masks will deteriorate quickly, so I used it inside the mask, as a filter, and added my own backing from a plain piece of cotton material I had at home.

These are examples of materials to use for a face mask with a flexible nose piece:  twist ties (single or double), pipe cleaners (two twisted together for firmness), floral or craft wire, or even electric hook-up wire (red piece above) which needs to have its ends curled up inward into a loop, to prevent the sharp ends from poking through the material.

I also used a bag twist tie, single or double, and sewn it inside between the top layer of the mask in the nose bridge area, so the mask’s top contours better towards the nose for a snugger fit.

I am looking forward to feedback from my son and his staff about these masks, in case I need to make adjustments to the new ones.

I am updating this part of my previous post, since I did make the following adjustments to the current masks I am making right now, to provide a better fit. 


For a snugger fit, I made a fold in the bottom of the mask (under the chin area) and stitched it over couple of times. You can do it by hand sewing as well, or even use a safety pin to pin it in place.

I also noticed that the elastic ear pieces might be too long for some people (as in my case), so to adjust it you can shorten them by tucking them under at the bottom section of the mask (below your ear lobe) and even had saw to the mask.

If you do not like to sew, you can use safety pins and pin the elastic ear ties as well as the bottom of the mark to fit your face better.

My daughter showered me with lots of fabric she had leftover from her prior quilting projects, and since I used to sew a lot in the past, I have my own stock of material and other supplies, but finding 1/4″ elastic seems to be very challenging.

I even used 1/2″ elastic, cut it in half, then zigzagged along the edge to prevent fraying (you need to keep the elastic fully stretched during stitching to retain its elasticity once it’s done.

The length of each elastic is 7 inches, and you need 2 pieces for each mask.

Someone suggested to use rubber bands or hair ties, or even ribbon.  I might have to use some of these suggestions to complete my project.

Today I made 10 more face masks and donated them to a local pharmacy in my town, and plan to sew few more until my supplies run out.

I received an email from Joann Fabric, addressed from Wade Miquelon, their President and CEO, with a message, and I quote:

“The CDC has declared that in a time of crisis as we are in now, handmade masks are acceptable and can provide healthcare workers with an additional layer of protection, saving their low supply surgical grade mask inventory.  They are also utilizing these masks with those in the hospitals to help slow the spread to the other healthcare professionals.”

I know for a fact that some hospitals (Christiana Care Health System in Delaware) DOES NOT allow such masks to be used, not yet, but you can check with your local medical centers, nursing homes and pharmacies if you would like to make and donate face masks,or other needed protective gear.

Having this new reassurance of approval by the CDC of using handmade masks, I hope other fabric and craft stores (Michaels, Walmart, Kmart, etc) jump on this ban wagon of donating supplies and offering other help to healthcare providers.

Also, I urge you, PLEASE keep contacting the corporate offices of pharmacies pressuring them to either provide face masks for all their employees during this dangerous time, and also to allow them to use any donated handmade masks, rather than NOTHING at all.

Pharmacies should lead by example, providing safe working conditions for their employees, and safety for their customers.

Especially since many people out there are still living in a “dream world” about this very dangerous disease, thinking it is all exaggeration and no need to be concerned or protected.

This type of attitude is actually contributing to the SPREAD of this pandemic of COVID-19 virus.

The latest news from the medical expects has been a strong advice to cover your mouth and nose with a mask, no matter what kind you have, as ANY IS BETTER THAN NONE, even if it is a bandanna or a scarf.

PLEASE….PLEASE….PLEASE…do your best to stay safe and healthy, WEAR A FACE COVER IN PUBLIC PLACES, and find ways to help others in need.

In case you wanted to see a short tutorial on sewing similar masks as mine (I added an additional layer of non-woven material to my masks, to serve as a filter), I am sharing a UTube video I came upon online:

4 thoughts on “Face Masks Suburbangrandma Style”

  1. Pingback: No Sew Bandanna Face Mask – Suburban Grandma
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