Masks for Heroes

UPDATE  April 5, 2020

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The cloth face mask is another tool to add to the still essential tools below:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Don’t touch your face
  3. Stay at home
  4. Keep a social distance
  5. NEW—Wear a cloth face mask

Below are updated patterns and instructions for fabric face masks. These are based on two different designs and actual use.

  1. Fitted mask pattern (four different sizes) and instructions (has space to insert filter) Fitted Mask Instructions:
  2. Pleated mask pattern (one size) and instructions (has space to insert filter) Pleated Mask Instructions:
Pleated mask

Another resource for making masks and information about fabrics to use:

Quick and easy way to make fabric ties. Fabric ties are preferred by many instead of elastic around the ears.

Many thanks to those who are making “Masks for Heroes” – healthcare providers, first responders, truck drivers, food service providers, as well as their families and friends.

Masks for Heroes Initiative

What is the Masks for Heroes Initiative (MFHI)?

MFHI is a virtual meeting place for hospitals and volunteers in their local areas to find each other for the purpose of making facemasks to support health care provideres during the COVID-19 Pandemic to fight the spread of the Coronavirus.

This site is sponsored and managed by volunteer health care workers, sewists, and IT professionals who want to assist grass roots efforts to help local communities connect with each other in this time of crisis.

What are our goals?

Our goals are to connect volunteers and those in need by:

     1. Identifying best practices, guidelines and recommendations available at the time and providing an informed opinion and/or best suggestions for those who may not have that background. 

     2. Sharing information and websites where we think they address this narrow topic of face masks to reduce expose to the COVID-19 virus when approved person protection equipment is in short supply or crisis

Please note: This information is not intended nor should be used as expert opinions or regulatory in nature.  If CDC, FDA or other governmental guidelines are established, those should be followed. Users must make the final determination regarding if they wish to use this type of equipment. THESE MASKS ARE NOT MEANT TO PROTECT AGAINST THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS.

     If you find other sites that may be relevant, please forward them and we will review.

How do I get started?

First, either contact your local hospital, medical center, and/or urgent care clinic your area to verify if they need face masks. If they do, ask the following questions:

     1. Is there a preferred type of mask they want (e.g., N95 cover shield fitted or pleated) ?  See patterns below.

     2. Is there a preferred size(s)/dimensions?

     3. Is there a preferred material(s) for masks. List in order of preference (e.g., cotton, cotton-poly, surgical linen, etc.)? And, are any materials prohibited?

     4. Is there a preferred thread?  All cotton, poly blend, nylon?

     5. If they have a preferred material (e.g;, surgical linen)  will that be provided? How?

     6. Where can completed masks be delivered?  Drop off? Mail?  Delivery service? local delivery, Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, etc.


Go to this group that is coordinating a nationwide effort. They have a network set up for hospitals to request help and folks to volunteer to help. They also have the patterns.

– Relief Crafters of America

We are ready to get started! Where can I get a pattern?

Below are links to patterns, tutorials, and general information. Please be sure to coordinate with your local facility to be sure YOU are meeting THEIR needs, or coordinate with the Relief Crafters.

There are two types of masks:

     (1)  Fitted: This fits over the N95 respirator as a cover and can be washed to prolong the use of the respirator, or used alone.

     (3) Pleated:  This can also be used over the N95 respirator as a cover or alone.

NONE of these masks will prevent the COVID-19 virus

CDC Guidance for Homemade masks is below and linked.  While this is guidance to health care professionals(HCP) those who wish to make masks to support HCP should do so and let the HCP decide how they should be used.  If the crisis deepens DIY masks may be a last resort or used in less risky operations to prevent the spread of the virus.

HCP use of homemade masks:
In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

Instead of elastic which is becoming difficult to find, consider using 1/4″ or 5/8″ ribbon (sold usually on a spool). Cut 4 strips about 15-16″ long. Attach as you would the elastic, only attach two 15-16″ strip per side. Fabric ties are also acceptable.

– What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?  Read More Here

(1) Face Mask Pattern –  Fitted (see pattern)

(2) Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Mask Pattern (fitted)

(3) DIY Cloth Face Mask  (Fitted)

(4) Masks following CDC protocol –(Pleated )  and Evansville IN

(5) Free DIY Face Mask Tutorials using fabric – LAST RESORT ONLY (Pleated and flitted)

(6) Facebook Group

(7) Joann Fabric Demo  (Pleated)

(8) Missouri Star (Pleated)

DIY Masks: Worth the Risk? Researchers Are Conflicted

NOTE: The MFHI website provides links to other websites for informational purposes and the convenience of its users. We do not endorse individual vendors, products, services, or organizations. Any reference to any vendor, products or services by trade name, trademark, or manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or approval by MFHI.