How to Donate Hand-Sewn Face Masks

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) currently on hand to protect its employees and patients from COVID-19. However, the global supply for this equipment continues to be uncertain and we are actively taking steps to secure more supplies.

Many individuals, groups and businesses from the community have generously offered to help assist in our preparedness efforts by sewing cloth masks. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not suggest cloth material as a first-line defense against the coronavirus causing COVID-19, cloth masks work well for other conditions and can help conserve precious reserves of N-95 respirator masks.

If you would like to donate cloth masks to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital or Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, please email volunteer.services@vumc.org.

We are unable to accept packages through the mail, nor can we offer pick-up service.

Donated masks are throughly laundered and sanitized before being distributed.

Hand-sewn masks can be dropped off between 9 am-3 pm. in a plastic bin under the portico at Entrance A, Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks. This entrance is around the back of One Hundred Oaks, on the end of the mall nearest the movie theater. See map and directions here.

Donations for Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital can be dropped off at the hospital's Surgery Center entrance.  Items can be placed in a plastic bin Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

A recommended sewing pattern, along with suggested cloth materials, can be found below. Note versions with and without elastic (because apparently "elastic is the new toilet paper" and in short supply!).

Your efforts will help make a difference.

Instructions for Homemade Face Mask (with elastic)

Materials needed (with elastic)

  • Tight-weave cotton fabric (i.e. quilting cotton)
    • Fabric must be newly purchased within approximately the past year and never used.
    • Wash and dry fabric without fragrance or dyes prior to sewing.
  • Rope Elastic, beading cord elastic will work (you may also use 1/8” flat elastic if ¼” is unavailable. Some have used wider flat elastic and cut it in half with some success).

One adult mask requires two (2) 9”x6” pieces tight-weave cotton and two 7” pieces of 1/4 inch elastic. Therefore, one yard of 44” wide fabric yields 12-15 masks. You need 7.5 yards of elastic for 25 masks (14 inches per mask).

You can make two sizes: Adult or Child. Adult-sized masks will be the greatest need.

  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together (Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.)
    1. Cut 9x6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child)
  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
  4. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put an elastic with the edge out.
  5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

 

Instructions for Homemade Face Mask (no elastic needed)

Materials needed

  • Tight-weave cotton fabric (i.e. quilting cotton)
    • Fabric must be newly purchased within approximately the past year and never used.
    • Wash and dry fabric without fragrance or dyes prior to sewing.
  • Options for Ties
    • Bias Tape (either ½ or 7/8 as available)

OR

    • Make ties from strips of fabric indicated above (cut strips 2 " wide by 16" long)

One adult mask requires two (2) 9”x6” pieces tight-weave cotton and four (4) 16” pieces of bias tape or fabric ties (64” total per mask). Therefore, one yard of 44” wide fabric yields 12-15 masks. You need 21 1/3 yards of bias tape for 12 masks.

You can make two sizes: Adult or Child. Adult-sized masks will be the greatest need.

  1. Place right sides of cotton fabric together (Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.)
    1. Cut 9x6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child)
  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew around the edges of the fabric leaving about 1.5” to 2” open.
  3. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  4. Pin three (3) ½” tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction.
  5. Make ties using Bias Tape or Fabric.
    1. Bias tape: stitch closed.
    2. Fabric: Fold in half, turn under 1/4 " on each long side, iron in place. Stitch long edges closed.
  6. Pin one (1) tie at each corner.
  7. Sew around the edge of the mask twice, catching the bias tape as you go.