Home-sewn Masks Protect Healthcare Workers' Official Masks

posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 in COVID-19

Spencer Hospital and the local medical clinics have been contacted by numerous kind-hearted people who would like to put their sewing skills to work, creating cotton masks. Such masks cannot be worn by healthcare workers in place of regular health-grade masks, yet they can be worn over healthcare workers' regular masks to help extend the life of these supplies which are in short supply. Below is a recommended pattern for a home-sewn masks to fit over an N95 masks to help prolong its usefulness.

In addition to community-made masks, the local medical community also welcomes donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) which local businesses may have on hand. These include:

  • Protective gowns
  • Gloves (first preference of latex free and powder free)
  • Eye protection (best if it provides wrap around protection)
  • Masks (especially N95)

Donated items can be dropped off at Spencer Hospital. Please call Mindy Gress, Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation director, at 712-264-6226 or giving@spencerhospital.org

N95 Homemade Mask Cover

This cotton mask cover is used to prolong the use of an N95 mask for emergency care workers. Created by Sarah Bengford.


Cotton Fabric, heavier for the outside layer and a softer fabric for the inside layer.
Bias tape


  1. Cut two pieces 11.5” x 6.5” fabric.
  2. Cut two pieces of bias tape at 37”.
  3. Place fabric right sides together. Start in the middle and sew a ¼” seam all the way around stopping 1 ½” before beginning stitch. Turn right side out.
  4. Press seams then sew as close to edge as possible to finish mask.
  5. Fold 3 tucks down the side. With tucks, the mask sides should be 3” in width to cover the mask. Stitch as close to original seam as possible to hold each tuck down.
  6. Fold bias tape in half and center it on the short side of the rectangle. Insert fabric into bias tape and sew onto mask. Sew all the way around the 37” bias tape to close all sides. Repeat on other short side of mask.
  7. Clip all loose threads.