The young tailor working near the sewing machine

If you have sewing skills and you've been wondering how you can help the doctors and nurses and medical workers in your community, here's your chance.

Williamson Medical Center is asking for cloth masks to help prolong the use of their supply of N95 masks — the hospital estimates they need at least 3,000 cloth masks.

The masks will be used as an extra precaution to help reduce the risk of exposing colleagues and patients. The hospital says the the cloth masks will not be used in place of proper protective equipment in areas of the hospital where people are being treated for COVID-19.

The hospital is also asking that if community members have any unused N95 respirators or protective equipment to please considering donating to the hospital. Donation drop offs can be arranged by calling Leigh Williams at (615) 772-4296 — Williams can also do porch pickup as well, if that's preferred.

If you cannot sew and still want to give to the hospital, monetary donations for supplies and food for healthcare workers can also be made through the Williamson Medical Center website: williamsonmedicalcenter.org/support-wmc/give-now. Choose the option COVID-19 and any recognition or instructions for the donation in the comments section.

More information on how to donate or how to make masks can be found here: williamsonmedicalcenter.org/how-to-donate-hand-sewn-face-masks/

Additional questions can be answered by Williams at the following contact:

Office: (615)435-5158

Cell: (616)772-4296

Email: lewilliams@wmed.org

Directions for sewing masks

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.)

  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together (Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.)
  2. Cut 2 pieces 9x6 (Adult) fabric and 2 pieces of 7” elastic
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put an elastic with the edge out.
  6. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  7. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  8. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  9. 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 new. 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.

  1. Place right sides of cotton fabric together (Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.)
  2. Cut 2 pieces 9x6 (Adult) , and 4 pieces of 16” bias tape or fabric ties.
  3. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew around the edges of the fabric leaving about 1.5” to 2” open.
  4. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  5. Pin three (3) ½” tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction.
  6. Make ties using Bias Tape or Fabric.
  7. Bias tape: stitch closed.
  8. Fabric: Fold in half, turn under 1/4 " on each long side, iron in place. Stitch long edges closed.
  9. Pin one (1) tie at each corner.
  10. Sew around the edge of the mask twice, catching the bias tape as you go.

This story has been updated to reflect that Williamson Medical Center will be using proper protective gear in areas of the hospital with COVID-19 and added information about how to make and donate the masks.

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