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Northeast Georgia Health System offers homemade mask instructions
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Northeast Georgia Health System employee Brenda Jones sits at a sewing machine Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at the NGHS Corporate Plaza helping make face masks for in case the need arises. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set out guidelines for mask usage during the COVID-19 crisis, including what to do when no masks are available. - photo by Scott Rogers

Itching to get sewing and do some good for doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus? Northeast Georgia Health System has published directions for homemade masks online.

People in the region can find instructions at nghs.com/covid-19/sewing-instructions, which lays out materials needed and steps required. The page also includes a step-by-step video.

The hospital system stressed that 100% cotton, 4-ply material must be used for the masks.

Hospitals are staying a few days ahead of supply of surgical masks, which are used both for patients coming into the hospital and medical workers.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Four pieces of 9-by-6-inch rectangular strips of 100% cotton, 4-ply fabric for regular-sized masks or four pieces of 7.5-by-5-inch strips for small masks.

For the earpieces chose one of the options below:

  • Two 7-inch pieces of rope elastic; make sure to tie knots at each end.

  • Two 7-inch pieces of flat elastic between a quarter-inch to a half-inch wide; do not tie knots at each end.

  • Four strips of 16-by-1-inch fabric. Fold the strips in half and zig-zag stitch all the way down the length of the cut edges.

  • Four 16-inch pieces of ribbon between a quarter-inch to a half-inch wide. Zig-zag stick the raw ends.

Step-by-step sewing instructions from NGHS
  1. Layer four pieces. Make sure the middle two pieces have their right sides, or printed surfaces, touching.  

  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, then stop.

  3. Turn the fabric 90 degrees.

  4. Lay a piece of elastic (or one tie/ribbon) between the center two layers of fabric

with the edge lined up with the corner (the long end should be on the inside).

  1. Sew a few stitches forward and back to hold.

  2. Sew to the next corner, stopping about 1-inch before getting to the end.

  3. Bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner making a loop (or if using

ties/ribbon, sew in a new tie/ribbon – do not loop the first tie/ribbon to this

corner like the elastic step).

  1. Sew a few stitches forward and back to secure it, then sew to the end.

  2. Move the elastic (or tie/ribbon) into the center, out of the way so it does not get

caught in your next sewing.

  1. Turn to now sew across the top of the mask to the next corner.

  2. Repeat steps 4-9.

  3. Sew across the bottom leaving about 2 inches open. Stop, cut the thread.

  4. Turn right side out.

  5. Tuck in the edges of the 2-inch gap and sew closed.

  6. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask with elastic or ties. Make sure the tucks

fold the same direction and are the same size as each other.

  1. Sew around the entire outside edge of the mask twice.

Drop off locations:

Any NGPG office

Front door

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday

NGHS Foundation

2150 Limestone Parkway, Suite 115, Gainesville

9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday

NGMC Braselton

Main entrance, 1400 River Place, Braselton

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday

NGMC Barrow

Main entrance, 316 N. Broad St., Winder

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday

NGMC Lumpkin

Emergency room entrance, 227 Mountain Drive, Dahlonega

9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Friday

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