Equipping The Front Lines


Maura Mulholland, Managing Editor


It may have come to your attention that there’s a pandemic occurring at the moment. Because our medical system wasn’t adequately prepared for this exponential increase in the need for medical equipment, it’s become swiftly overwhelmed and now imperative items such as ventilators, clean linens, beds, and face masks are in short supply.

You probably can’t do much about the ventilators or beds, but as an average citizen you can definitely make these easy and effective face masks. Now, if you donate these to a hospital, they will not be used directly with COVID-19 patients, but they will be used in other instances where a mask is needed, like when tending to patients with auto-immune disorders or respiratory illnesses. The few surgical grade masks that hospitals do have need to be conserved for instances where they’re absolutely necessary, so lower-grade ones you can make will help them care for all their patients safely. Below you’ll find a detailed how-to so you can do your part and make masks for the front line workers!

Materials Needed

  • Scissors
  • Pins or clips to pleat fabric
  • Needle and thread OR sewing machine
  • 20 by 20 inches of cotton fabric (an old tea towel is best but t-shirts and linens can also be used)
  • 4 strips of cotton fabric for ties, each 18” long and ¾” wide
  • 4 flat shoelaces or 2 flat ¼” by 7” sewing elastics

Constructing the Mask

  1. Make sure your fabric is pre-shrunk. Then, lay it flat and cut two 9.5” by 6.5” rectangles.
  2. Tuck the rough edges of the cotton strips in and sew them so that the edges do not fray.
  3. Place the rectangles directly on top of each other and sew around the edges.
  4. Sew one of the cotton strips to each corner of the mask. It should look like this at this point. 
  5. Pleat the mask in three parts, pinning each piece down
  6. Sew around the edges of the entire mask.
  7. Remove pins.
  8. Your mask is done! This should take about half an hour. If you can, mass produce these and send them to hospitals, particularly the local ones below.

Hospital Addresses to Send Masks To

Albany Medical Center: 43 New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY 12208

St. Peter’s Hospital: 315 S. Manning Blvd., Albany, New York (NY), 12208. 1-877-525-2227.

Ellis Hospital: 1101 Nott St, Schenectady, NY 12308


AZ Central: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-health/2020/03/28/hospitals-cant-use-diy-masks-when-caring-covid-19-patients/2933849001/

New York Times: