weekend links–and making masks

Hello friends!

There has been a lot of talk about sewing masks for hospital workers who are facing critical mask shortages. Some people question their effectiveness and others say that a fabric mask is better than no mask. It’s worth noting here that the Centers for Disease Control have gone on record to say that homemade masks can be used as a last resort. The Craft Industry Alliance has also weighed in on the topic.

We've rounded up some useful information about face masks in general and DIY face masks in particular.

We’re not here to take a position on this debate. But for those who may have masks at home and who are also able to stay home, we have a suggestion. Why not sew masks for yourself and donate the stash you have to health workers? Some hospitals are also requesting fabric masks. Before sewing, check with your local hospital to see whether they are asking for mask donations. And if they don’t have a preferred pattern, you can choose one from the links below.

  • This article from SmartAirFilters.com has really useful graphics showing the results of a study by University of Cambridge researchers, to determine the effectiveness of various substrates in face masks.
  • This article from Forbes discusses efforts in the sewing community to make face masks and has links to some patterns.
  • This pattern made by a nurse is designed to stand alone or be worn over an N95 respirator. The author notes that this pattern is for use as a last resort, and doesn’t replace medical-grade masks. She also provides some information about conflicting information published in peer-reviewed medical journals, about the efficacy of homemade masks.
  • JOANN Fabrics has posted several tutorials for face mask sewing on this page.

There’s some good news, too. Providence, which had started an appeal called the 100 Million Mask Challenge for their providers in Washington state, is now saying that local manufacturers have heard their call and will begin to produce medical-grade masks and face shields for them. They have left up the links to their patterns for masks and shields for other healthcare providers who might need them.

We’re so grateful to all the people working to keep us healthy and to save lives right now! And if a mask can help someone, all the better.

Pinterest Picks

I haven’t been on Pinterest much lately, so just a couple of images for you. Does the photo below, left, remind you of our Afternoon Tea Blouse like it reminds me? Also, I’m fascinated that the blouse on the right includes four different printed fabrics, three of which are the same print in different colorways. Crazy, and it somehow works!

Liesl's March 27 Pinterest picks
pinterest link and pinterest link

Weekend Reading

Bluprint’s Free Creativity Care Package

We wanted to make you aware of this super generous offer from our friends at Bluprint in case you are stuck at home right now.

Join them for “Craft More Happy Moments” to receive free, unlimited access to all their video content (knitting, sewing, baking, drawing, family crafts, and more–over 1300 classes!) through April 9, 2020. It’s a great solution to cabin fever.


There is no credit card needed to take advantage of this generous offer, but you will need to create an account with them if you don’t have one already. Follow this link to join in and get started. Happy creating!

And with that I wish you a very happy weekend. Stay safe and healthy, and guess what? Next Monday I’ll start introducing our newest Liesl + Co. patterns for spring!




  1. We use masks every day in surgery in the veterinary industry. Not as self protection but to protect our patients lest we sneeze mid operation!
    While I doubt many hospitals here would accept homemade masks, I’d guess the veterinary clinics would and that would free up some disposable surgical masks for the hospitals. Consider your vet as a place for donations. Many clinics are being called on to donate their respirators and other equipment.
    I’ve been railing against all the single use, disposable stuff in our clinic for so long, and now I feel like I’m not just a hippy, I’m a practically useful crafty person!!

  2. Susan

    As always, I love reading your weekly post and wanted to tell you that this time! Thank you as always and you too – stay safe!

  3. Dana Tougas

    There’s now a movement in Metro Atlanta, Georgia to organize home sewists to make and distribute homemade masks to area hospitals, nursing homes, etc. check out https://www.sewingmasksforatlantahospitals.com/ and also on Facebook

  4. Holly

    Today I made 3 n95 covers for my niece. She works in a hospital where they are only allowed one mask per day. This means if some one spews on you, you have to keep that mask on the rest of the day. Now, I’m going to go make 2 out of linen for me and the spouse, to wear when we go shopping. They remind you not to touch your face.

    I’m hoping the covers will allow her to remove the cover, put another on and continue with her day. End of the night, she can toss them in the wash.

    So, wear a mask, keep your distance and WASH your hands.

  5. Kat

    I am making some masks for a real estate agent. I suspect they will be requested to use them for a while.

  6. Jenny Gage

    Here’s a link to a series of instructional videos an old college friend made to teach individual sewing jobs to volunteers in her area participating in a production-line approach to mask making: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLm49rpSlJsNxOyxyDOA-2lqJi9MrDW0vh
    At the time of their posting, that neighborhood crew had churned out 200 masks, with 600 as their ongoing goal. She wanted others to feel free to adopt (and adapt) the process in their own neighborhoods if that were helpful.

    While recognizing that what healthcare professionals most need are medical-grade masks, I love how hardship plus kindness is proving to be the mother of invention these days. (As an aside, the whole effort reminded me of the way that so many in this Oliver & S community joined together to make something like 500 sundresses for children in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010.)

    I’ve enjoyed supplying hand-sewn masks (I used the nurse’s pattern Liesl shared above, adding in a doubled length of wired ribbon at the bridge of the nose to improve the fit, mostly because elastic is in short supply) to friends who’ve asked for them, as well as to a nurse in an elder-care facility in the greater NYC area trying to make her N95s last longer. I wear one myself when I go to the grocery store or take the dog for a walk, and if nothing else, it’s very effective in keeping me from touching my face. It’s just one more way that sewing is therapeutic!

    Stay healthy and sew on, everyone!

  7. Thank you so much for linking to our post on Craft Industry Alliance. We really appreciate it.

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