How to Make Cloth Face Masks, and Where to Donate Them in Metro Detroit

How to Make Cloth Face Masks, and Where to Donate Them in Metro Detroit

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 5, 2020)

People all over the country are making cloth face masks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Whether it’s a small number to keep friends or family safe, or massive efforts to equip hospitals, first responders, and essential workers who continue to work in spite of the risks, the effort has become a growing part of the resistance to the quickly-spreading infection.

Several hospital systems are accepting face mask donations. Each has specific requirements.

Other items needed by medical systems include disposable face masks, N95 respirators, eye protection including face shields and goggles, hand sanitizer, disposable gowns, disposable gloves, disposable foot covers and surgical caps. Oakland County has stepped up to coordinate a massive medical supply donation effort.  Information on how to donate can be found in this previous article.

Check the links below for details on how to donate:


Saint Joseph Mercy


Instructions for homemade cloth face masks can be found at the JOANN Fabrics website.  There is also a Facebook group dedicated to mask-making.

Here are just a few examples of how people are stepping up to sew:

Chrissandra Padilla of Holly is an at-risk individual owns an adult foster care home, and cares for other at risk individuals. “I am modeling the style for the masks I am making,” she shared along with a picture. “These have a pocket for the user to insert filtering material and a flexible wire on the bridge of the nose. I have made masks for all of our AFC residents, and am also donating them to my nurse friends and immunocompromised community members who have requested them.”

Diana Whitworth-Riddle of Ferndale received a double-lung transplant on Sept. 15, and had been personally using cloth masks and social distancing for over a year prior because of her health issues.

“Just as I was getting where I could consider getting out and travel the covid-19 started,” she said.

“My husband started working from home on March 14 because they were concerned about him bringing something home to me. With him working at home and me self-quarantined it seemed the right direction to go to start making masks. As much as they were saying there was no point for healthy folks to wear them, I disagreed. I managed to keep myself well for a year even as compromised as I was.”

She and three other sewing warriors –  Mary Lenaway,  Danielle Oren and Sally Chatman – have been making masks for essential workers, helping local food production businesses with their extra layer of protection.  They’ve also donated masks to people they know in the healthcare field, and those on social media with a need.  “Four of us are making them every day and giving them out,” Whitworth-Riddle said.

When asked how long it takes to make a mask, she said “Once they are cut out and all your supplies ready it takes about 15-20 minutes. I go through about 4-5 bobbins a day.”

The work gives her a way to give back, and she plans on continuing to make masks for transplant patients and pulmonary patients once the coronavirus emergency passes.

Rachna Chandra of Taj Cottage in Farmington Hills turned her passion for clothing and fashion design into a mask-making effort to help St. John’s Hospital. The “Mask Mission” has grown to over 15 volunteers who have made over 700 masks by working from their homes with supplies provided through a Rachna’s Mask Making Fundraiser on Facebook.

Chandra is looking for more people to volunteer their sewing skills. “Calling all sewers, we have an urgent requirement of 500 face masks to sew and donated to Ascension St.Johns Hospital, Detroit. We have lot of volunteers working on cutting, need more sewers, if you can sew a straight line on a home sewing machine, you are good. Please reach out to Rachna Chandra @ 7346204933 . Need supplies for this project, keep up the fundraiser, donations of 100% cotton fabric and elastic are accepted”

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

More info:


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