Sew South Elgin - Masks for First Responders

You sew them. We collect and launder them. South Elgin first responders wear them.
Your South Elgin first responders need masks for general engagement with the public. This provides a great opportunity for community involvement! No words can describe the appreciation from our South Elgin firefighters and police officers for your hand-crafted donation. If you volunteer your services, we will pick-up your donation from your front porch. Please e-mail and let us know your donation is ready. We will assign a scheduled pick-up time. Please be sure they are in a plastic storage bag (not a grocery bag).

PRO TIP 1: When making masks, please use a different fabric for front and back. If it's a mask you wear to the store and you need to take it off, you'll always know which side faces the public and which side you breathe into.

PRO TIP 2: While the CDC does recommend EVERYONE wears a mask in public, this is NOT a free pass to engage with friends, climb on playground equipment, etc. It's a helpful barrier but cotton masks are far from fail safe. Wash them between uses and handle gently.
Please see information and links to mask-making tutorials below. Questions? email, or leave a message at 847-742-5780.

1. The Centers for Disease Control website includes a Mask FAQ along with diagrams for making masks suitable for donation (or your personal use). Here is a direct link:

2. Vanderbilt Medical Center provides these instructions for a sewn mask:

Materials needed

  • Tight-weave cotton fabric (i.e. quilting cotton). Fabric must be newly purchased within approximately the past year and never used. Wash and dry fabric without fragrance or dyes prior to sewing.
  • Rope Elastic, beading cord elastic will work (you may also use 1/8” flat elastic if ¼” is unavailable. Some have used wider flat elastic and cut it in half with some success).
  • One adult mask requires two (2) 9”x6” pieces tight-weave cotton and two 7” pieces of 1/4 inch elastic. Therefore, one yard of 44” wide fabric yields 12-15 masks. You need 7.5 yards of elastic for 25 masks (14 inches per mask).

You can make two sizes: Adult or Child. Adult-sized masks will be the greatest need.

 1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together (Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.) Cut 9x6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child)

2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.

3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.

4. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put an elastic with the edge out.

5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.

6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.

7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction

8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

The CDC recommends everyone to wear a mask while in public. If you don't have tailoring skills or access to purchasing masks, there are plenty of easy, affordable options available online. Here are two options:
1.  A no-sew mask for personal use using nonwoven, blue shop paper towels. Simple and helpful: 
2.  A tutorial direct from the US Surgeon General:

Thank you South Elgin. Stay safe South Elgin. #SewSouthElgin