Making Scrub Masks

When I was first approached about making making masks for our local hospital, I was sure it was a hoax. Surely they weren't that desperate for masks, since I knew that cotton macks really didn't provide the kind of protection from the Covid-19 virus that the real hospital masks did.

Sadly, that's no hoax. Here's my info on how I'm making them, but there are tons of tutorials out there. Mine was based on the pattern one of the hospital nurses sent me.

The key things: They need to be made from high quality woven cotton and need to stand up to plenty of bleach and laundering. Prewash and dry your fabric so they don't shrink after washing the first time.  So that means that there's no need to make them with the super cute prints that are being shown on FB and IG. The outside and inside should be different colors in case it is taken off and then put back on before laundering. It was requested not to use 1/4 inch elastic as it's too wide. Right now it's hard to find 1/8 inch elastic, so I'm making a combinating of masks with large hair elastics for ear loops and long fabric ties. Also requested  was to include a small piece of wire in the top to form the mask around the nose. Bread twist ties or florist's wire works well.

 NOTE: We are in the process of tweaking the pattern so we can cut 3 masks from a single WOF (width of fabric) or 6 from two different fabrics by WOF this is for easier kit cutting from yardage. We are still updating as time goes by.

If you are using a kit from Sew Simple of Lynchburg, it will do 6 masks and you'll have enough fabric left over to make fabric ties for the masks. PLEASE return these masks to Sew Simple or to Amy's Altavista studio as they are intended to go to hospital workers.


Pattern adapted by Amy K Johnson from a variety of sources.
Courtesy of Sew Simple of Lynchburg and

·         Two different colors, 7 ½ x 7 inch squares of tightly woven quilt shop quality quilting cotton  One 7 x 6 ½  inch square fusible interfacing, midweight.
·         ou’ll need 2 rectangles of fabric 2” x 4” to make casing for fabric ties, elastic loops or large hair ties.
·         Elastic loops of around 10”, or 6” if sewn into the corners. Play with this based on the materials you use.
·         If using fabric to make ties instead of elastic loops, you’ll need 2 strips WOF by how ever wide you are comfortable with. I used a binding foot and the ¾” strips it could use. This was fiddly. I’d use at least 1” to 1¼” wide strips. WOF is a little long, so you’ll trim off the excess.
·         One piece of wire/bread tie/florists wire approximately 5” long, bend ends over about ¼“ to reduce chance of poking through fabric.
·         Strong polyester thread.

Fuse interfacing to wrong side of one square, centering it on the fabric. Follow manufacturers instructions for fusing.

Place fabric squares together, wrong sides facing out. Sew with a 1/4in. seam allowance down the two shorter (6½“) opposite sides.

Apply wire to top seam allowance by zig zagging over it with a wide zigzag. Be careful!
Turn mask right side out.

Because we are adjusting this pattern, the diagram below needs updated. The biggest pleat needs to be at the top for the nose area.

Make folding template from card stock and use template on next page to make a series of 3 pleats across mask. The pleats should face down. (Not like a pocket facing up on outside.) The largest pleat should be at the top. They do not need to be exact, but you want your pleated sides to measure 3 inches when you are done with the top pleat 3/4 of an inch. If you have delegated an 'outside' fabric, make sure the pleats face down and not up on the outside. ('Up' would make a pocket of sorts.)

Stitch across ends over the pleats with a straight stitch. Trim stray threads.

Make a casing with each of the two 2” x 4” rectangles. Fold one short  end under ½“. Fold the long sides to the middle and then fold into half. All edges should be folded in except one short edge.

 Apply to  the end of the mask, encasing the raw edges and holding the fabric tie, elastic loop or large hair tie within the casing. If using shorter pieces of elastic, stitch them into the corners as you sew the casing down to the mask, tucking the ends into casing.

If using fabric ties, press long edges into the center, then fold in half again. Stitch along edge of the two folds on one side and insert the ties into the mask side casings at the halfway point. Tie knots into the ends at an appropriate length and trim.

I will back to this post in the next few days to add more details, but for now I wanted to get this out. There will a facebook video on the

This is an ever changing project at this point.


  1. You're doing a great job. I like the wire idea. And thank you for mentioning the vigorous washing that will happen AND the idea different colors on each side! Putting the mask on the wrong side in would be a bad idea. Celia

  2. I mean putting it back on with the outside in. Celia

  3. Is the folding template accurate here now?

    1. Not really. Basically put in three pleats until the sides measure 3".

  4. Have you updated the pattern? Also more pictures along the way or a video would be terrific!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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