Help Slow the Spread with DIY Face Masks

Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, announced on April 6th that wearing non-medical masks can help limit the spread of COVID-19. Two days later, CBC released an article in response to this announcement, with a roundup of homemade face mask tutorials.

These tutorials use basic materials that you can find around your home, such as cotton sheets, t-shirts, elastic bands and scarves. Don’t sew? Don’t worry – there are great options available for non-sewers too.

No-Sew Options

  1. Use a handkerchief

The CDC recently released illustrated guidelines for how to fashion homemade face coverings using just a handkerchief (or a square piece of cotton) and two elastics.

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2. A quick-cut T-shirt face covering

Along with two other tutorials for homemade face coverings, the CDC also released a how-to for making a mask from a cotton T-shirt in just a few snips. Full instructions can be found here.

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3. T-shirt mask

This post from Hudson Market Bakers shows how to turn a cotton T-shirt into a mask using just a pair of scissors and two pins. 

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Sew Options

  1. 4 different face masks made according to hospital instructions

Canadian sewer and YouTuber Wendy Liu (a.k.a. withwendy) created a video tutorial showing how to make four different types of masks using materials and tutorials suggested by health-care professionals who need people to make and donate masks right now. She's included links to all the original requests, tutorials and the materials she used in the description of the video on her channel. 

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  1. A 2-ply pleated mask to make with a sewing machine

Many designers, including Toronto-based Hilary MacMillan, and sewers across the country are answering the call to make masks for front line workers. The Michael Garron Hospital Foundation recently issued a challenge to sewers in Toronto's east end for 1,000 masks to be made (collectively) each week. The foundation shared a PDF how-to along with all the info needed for local sewers to be able to safely drop off donations (while adhering to social distancing best practices), which can be found here

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  1. Fabric mask

    Created for the Washington Post by Grace Jun, a professor of fashion at Parsons School of Design, in consultation with health experts in New York, this detailed guide to sewing your own fabric face covering, complete with pattern, GIFs for each step and a video tutorial can all be found here

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Want to Make an Impact? Join The Sewing Army!

Healthcare workers across Canada are appealing to sewers for homemade PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many hospitals throughout the country fear they will soon run out. One Toronto fashion designer started The Sewing Army; a Facebook group that brings together sewers, makers, and helpers across North America to sew face masks, scrub caps and hospital gowns for organizations in need. Learn more about the group here.

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