Introduction: A.B. Mask - for a Nurse by a Nurse
***This was designed for love, not profit. Respect health care workers. Please respect my intellectual property. Please don't try to make money off of this - don't be that guy.
fabric mask and N95 cover sewing pattern
designed by a nurse for a nurse
I make no claims to the effectiveness of the end product. Nothing homemade will ever compare to medical grade PPE. This is a pattern of last resort. If you have access to the proper PPE use that first - obviously.
Research on the efficacy of fabric masks is conflicting. I have found peer reviewed journal articles reporting homemade cotton masks provide measurable filtration of fine particles (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013; 7:413-418). I have also read that fabric masks may increase risks of transmission due to moisture buildup and time of virus life on fabric (BMJ Open 2015;5:e006577. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006577). Please inform yourself as best you can.
Many of us front line health care workers are experiencing a range of emotions in the wake of the current pandemic. To add to the confusion and uncertainty, healthcare professionals are being told by hospital administration to use disposable equipment in unprecedented fashion with next to no acknowledgement of the compromised they are making to personal safety. PPE is extremely limited. Nurses across the nation report they are working without access to any type of mask.
In my family, sewing is an act of love. This pattern could be how seamstresses in our communities communicate their solidarity. This mask says, I see you. I worry about your safety and I want to contribute in the way I know how.
Finally, I believe these mask may demonstrate our protest and passive disobedience. We will make a statement when all across the country, medical professionals start showing up to work in fabric masks, sewed by members of their community, from of a hodgepodge of fabrics in every color. The act of wearing this mask could become an visual representation of the sacrifices we are making and our unwavering dedication to care for others in their time of need - regardless of the most recent constraints of the terribly broken system we work within.
Sew On! Be Safe!
A.B. Mask This pattern is designed to fit in two ways. First, directly over the face, similar to a surgical mask. Second, the pleats expand, allowing the mask to fit over many models of N-95 to provide a protective barrier, in the hope of extending the lifetime of the respirator. The mask can and should be washed after your shift, just like your scrubs.
I recommend using tightly woven fabric. This pattern was developed using high quality 100% cotton. Pattern listed here is to make one mask out of a fat quarter of fabric. I am confident there are better ways to cut out pieces for large scale production.
Fat quarter of 100% cotton or other tightly woven material - the tighter the better
Step 1: Print the Pattern
Print the pattern. Cut out pattern. Cut along straight black lines and dotted black line.
Choose your fabric - at least 21"x18" (Fat Quarter). Iron out wrinkles.
*I have updated the pattern print out to clarify dimensions of the cutout pattern. I have also included a screen shot of the print settings I used so pattern was true to size. Thank you!
Step 2: Fold Fabric
Fold fabric right-side out with selvage edge touching - taco style. Square fabric.
Step 3: Cut Binding and Ties
Cut 5 x 1.5 inch wide strips from the width of fabric. Each strip should be around 20" in length.The strips above were cut with the fabric folded in half.
Or, if you are cutting out of longer fabric you could cut 2 (1.5" wide x 40" long) and 1 (1.5" wide x 20" long) and save yourself a step piecing the binding together.
Step 4: Refold Fabric and Cut Mask Face
Open up and refold leftover fabric. Fold width-wise - burrito style. So selvage on top, selvage on bottom - fold evenly. Pin pattern on upper half of folded fabric. Dotted line of pattern aligned with fold. Cut around edges of pattern. Cut out notches.
Unpin pattern and move to lower half of folded fabric. Cut out second piece.
Step 5: Stack and Sew
Stack the 2 face mask pieces, face down. Pin in place.
Sew together using 1/2" seam around all four sides.
Step 6: Iron in Pleats
With pointed (top side) pointing away from you, front of fabric side down, bring bottom side of fabric up and over top side. The fold should be the imaginary line between the top notch on left to top notch on right. Press crease with hot iron. The pleats are 1/4 inch.
Next, fold fabric back down. The fold should be imaginary line between 2nd notch on left and 2nd notch on right. Press crease with hot iron.
Repeat for 3rd and 4th notches.
Repeat of 5th (yellow headed pin) and 6th (red headed pin) notches.
(I apologize if this is a little vague. I will work on a video for ironing in pleats.)
Once the pleats are ironed in the edges of the mask should measure 3" - give or take.
Step 7: Sew Pleats in Place
Sew pleats into place using a 1/2" seam. Both Left and Right side of mask face.
Step 8: Mark and Sew Darts
Fold mask face in half at the center fold. Front side of fabric together, wrong side of fabric facing you.
Align pattern and mark top and bottom darts with pin or pencil.
Sew along line. - I went over it twice for good measure.
Step 9: Trim Excess
Trim seams to 1/4 inch.
Now time to bind!
Step 10: Prepare the Binding
Take 2 strips and pin at 90 deg angles. Repeat with 2 more strips.
Sew strips together at 45 deg angle. Trim seams at 1/4 inch and press with iron.
Take 5th strip and cut in half.
Step 11: Attach Side Binding
With mask facing down - front side of fabric facing away, wrong side of fabric facing towards you - pin 1.5" binding you cut in half to left and right side of mask. Binding should be face down. Edge of binding aligned with outermost edge of mask.
Sew in place, starting just above top of mask and stopping just below bottom of mask, using 1/4 inch seam.
Press seam open with iron.
Step 12: Finish Side Binding
Flip mask over. Right side of fabric facing you.
Fold 1/4 inch seam towards you from outside edge of binding. Wrap folded edge around side edge of mask.
Pin in place.
Sew along edge of binding.
Repeat on other side.
Step 13: Attach Top/Bottom Binding
With mask face, wrong side of fabric facing you, pin 1.5 inch binding strips along top and bottom edges.
Sew in place using 1/4 inch seams. Start sewing just above one side of mask face and end just after opposite side of mask face.
Press open with iron.
Step 14: Finish Top/Bottom Binding and Ties
Trim ties even on both sides of mask.
Iron in 1/4 inch seam on top and bottom of mask ties.
Iron in 1/4 inch seam on end of mask ties.
Fold ties in half and pin in place.
Sew Binding and Ties.
Step 15: Done and Done!
You're done! You have made a mask that will cover a nurse in need. Now, I challenge you to make another, and then another. Then, get your friends to make some. And once you have a dozen or so, call your local hospital, ask to speak to the Emergency Department, and offer to drop them off (from a safe distance of 6 feet or more). Or offer some to other essential workers!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
You are amazing. You make a difference.
Wash your hands. Promote social distancing. Keep on sewing.
Love and light from this ER Nurse.
ps - publishing a pattern I designed is a first for me. Constructive criticism and edits are appreciated. An updated pattern and video follow along can be found at nursemade.co