Adjustable side face mask

I am working with my local hospital network that serves the 800,000 people living in my valley and beyond to galvanize the sewing community to make cloth face masks that they plan to use to cover their limited supply of N95 masks. I am in contact with the director of supply chain to drop “loads” of these with her in the coming weeks and I need the help of my local community sewers…but frankly…anyone can send them to me. Additional drop sites will be added as I get them.

This is the specific pattern requested by my hospital, and chosen by the Director of Infectious Disease Control. They want the adjustable sides, because it can be made to fit all size faces with fewer gaps. The pattern is for either 1/4″ elastic or long 40″ fabric ties, so the only real supply you need is good quality, freshly washed, tightly woven 100% cotton fabric and a big heart. Update: the hospital network is approving several other mask patterns. I will provide links to these other patterns at the bottom of this post and continue to edit it as this effort gets more organized.

Yes. I definitely made octopus masks

There are lots of face mask patterns out there and a lot of awesome people making them. A word of caution however before any well meaning sewer starts these.

  1. Do not make them until you know where they are going and what is specifically needed.
  2. Do not overwhelm your local health centers with each person with a sewing machine calling them. I assure you, they have MUCH better ways to use their time. Instead, call your local quilt or sewing guild. They likely have a point person already. One email from the single community service chairperson is all that is necessary. Alternatively look up the “volunteer coordinator” for your health system.
  3. If you do not have a way to help locally but still want to make masks, then you are welcome to send them to me, as long as you are using my pattern. My area is in the next major metropolitan ring outside of the NYC area. The anticipated need will be high here. My hospital wants the network to start rationing the limited N95 masks by covering them with fabric masks, effective immediately .

EDIT: TIP!! Several makers have had trouble using a safety pin with the pleats. Instead, they are threading the tie through the holes, pinning it out of the way, THEN pleating and adding casing seams, making sure the tie can still “slither” in the casing before the tack stitch.

Here are the written directions:

EDIT: TIP!! Several makers have had trouble using a safety pin with the pleats. Instead, they are threading the tie through the holes, pinning it out of the way, THEN pleating and adding casing seams, making sure the tie can still “slither” in the casing before the tack stitch.

For clarity, after a few questions…..the 40” tie is pushed through the casing and split between the top and bottom. So, visibly, it looks like you end up with four, 20” ties.

So…Hopefully all my quilt friends are staying healthy with their families all around them, safely. For those of you on the front lines, thank you.

As drop off locations are organized, I will add the addresses here. Many valley churches will begin to offer them, but need a few days to get things up and running.

EDIT: You may SHIP or DROP OFF directly to : LVHN – Covid 19, 2024 Lehigh Street, Allentown, PA 18103

In the mean time, If you want or feel the need to make masks but don’t have a place to send them, and want to donate to my community, please send masks made with these instructions (or the new links at bottom of post with additional acceptable styles) to:

White Arbor Quilting, attn: Masks, 5515 Sequoia Trail, Allentown Pa 18104

Be safe everyone!



these are additional tutorials of mask designs accepted by Infection Control at LVHN:

And here is the official CDC wording. They note adjustable fit is key to success. As such, I personally feel the mask pattern given originally is the best universal option.

Here is information specific to Lehigh Valley residents about additional donations you can make to LVHN:

10 comments on “Adjustable side face mask

  1. Thanks so much for the mask pattern. I think it will help more people than you can imagine. If noting else brighten their world with bright fabrics. Fat quarters should be useful for this little project. Vikki Clower

    • Yep! you just have to seam two strips together for the tie to get it longer. If you have elastic…then a FQ is PERFECT.

    • Thanks for another great mask link. This may help folks in lots of areas. the LVHN network in the Lehigh Valley has expanded their criteria and I think this one is fine too

  2. Hello there, Bethanne in Allentown! Kutztown grad here. There’s lots I like about this mask, though I had trouble with the threading too. I wound up folding another casing so I guess I could make the width 8 1/2 inches instead of only 7 1/2.

    • Hi! One of my guild friends prefers to put the tie in before pleating, pin it out of the way, then pleat and do the final stitching, making sure the tie can still “slither”. I originally tested the longer width and made all the pleats a second casing. It works, but it is a bulky edge and not as flexible. I posted additional approved patterns at the end of the blog recently that you may prefer. Thank you!!

  3. Thank you for posting! Question: is using dry heat important? I’m having trouble getting a good iron without steam, but I don’t want to do anything that would compromise the quality/cleanliness of the mask. Thanks from Philadelphia!

    • You don’t need to worry. The hospitals are planning to run these through an autoclave from what I understand. Just do your best. And thanks!

  4. question on the fabric ties. I have a Bernina bias binding foot that would make a 1/4 ” wide tie. Is it all right for me to use that for the ties. Second. how do you want the end edges of the ties finished, folder inside . or sewn closed. (satin stitch ,straight stitch lock.)

    • Hi Paula. You can make the ties in any way with any supply you like as long as it is not satiny or slippery. It could be covered cording, bias tape, twill tape, hand made double folded binding…anything. The ends can be left raw, just with a backtack to keep them from coming apart. Keep it simple and fast, but sturdy. Thank you for all you are doing!

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