Health Care Workers are Short of Essential Supplies

NEW!  Paper pattern to print  (Click here)
If you prefer the traditional way of sewing, 

print this pattern with complete instructions) 

NOTE: The midwives prefer the version below because it has a pocket for inserting a non-woven insert for added security)

New Video Tutorial - Easier to follow

The Covid-19 pandemic has caught us all by surprise and now we must stay in our homes and restrict activities with our friends and neighbours.

While we may be wondering what is going on, our health care practitioners are working under pressure to prevent those of us who are well from becoming sick, and to help those of us who are sick. To keep us healthy, many of them are putting their own well-being at risk.

The situation is compounded by a shortage of essential supplies. One particular issue is the scarcity of disposable surgical masks. Protective face masks are almost impossible for some health workers to obtain right now.

Babies won't wait

Ottawa midwives are feeling this especially. They work in consultation with local hospitals but outside the hospital environment. Babies don’t respect pandemic rules, so they keep on coming. As a result, the midwives are having to improvise, so they are making their own protective masks out of fabric scraps. They use them for themselves and for the women and families they serve, but making them involves a lot of extra work.

Can you Help?

In the spirit of women helping women, perhaps some of us who sew can help by making a few of these masks out of fabric scraps. Mary Daniels will collect completed masks that are placed outside your home and she will deliver them directly to a midwife. They will be laundered before use, and midwives will share them among all the midwife organizations in Ottawa.

(You could also make a mask for yourself in case you feel the need to mask-up)

Here's the Original Mask Video Tutorial

This preferred version of the mask allows for a filter to be inserted inside the mask fabric. Here is a tutorial showing you how to make one at this address (  Written instructions for making them are listed  below)

If you can help with this initiative, please contact 

Notes from above video tutorial:


1. Cut fabric 15" x 8"

2. Prepare bias 7" long  (1/2"  wide to allow for threading elastic easily)

3. Twist tie or pipe cleaner 6.5"

4. 2 elastics at 10" each

5. Serge or zigzag stitch the short edges

6. Fold right sides together--short edges together

7. Mark 1.5" from sides to leave opening for filter gap

8. Sew edge to mark on both sides

9. Press open seam. Now have a "tube" with the opening in the middle of the seam

10. Turn right side out

11. Topstitch along the seam on both sides

12. Measure 1/2 " from the seam line

13. Fold and press 1/4" down to make wire tube. Stitch down and all around

14. Add the wire or pipe cleaner and stitch it closed

15. Make 3 pleats: pin, press, and sew

16. Apply bias to both sides (watch the video here, not sure how to describe it)

17. Fold over bias to make channel for elastic straps.

18. Use a safety pin to guide the elastic through the side channels

19. Tie elastic and pull the knot into the channel.

20. Insert filter (Panty liner will work or dry wet-wipe fabric)

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