← Back to News

Face mask donations needed for senior living communities

Like other health care organizations, senior living is experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs). Face masks are especially in demand. Our Benedictine Living Communities are accepting donations of new surgical-grade face masks and home-made masks. Instructions for making masks are provided below.

Donations can be dropped off at a Benedictine community near you—locations can be found here—or for more information email info@bhshealth.org.

Mask Instructions

Materials Needed
Mask Body: Tightly woven cotton fabric (See alternate fabric options and tips below)
Mask Ties: Flat Elastic (1/8” or 1/4”), Bias Tape (1/2”-7/8”) or Fabric Ties
Basic Sewing Supplies
Alternate Fabric choices: Outer layer of tea cloth, inner layer of a micro fleece to wick
away moisture, and an inner tea cloth layer.


  • Fabric should be tightly woven but breathable.
  • Wash and dry fabric prior to sewing.
  • Choose a fabric that can handle high temperatures without shrinking or otherwise deforming.
  • Consider using different fabrics on each side of the mask to help easily distinguish which side was toward the face.

Cutting Instructions

Mask Body: Cut two pieces of 9” x 6” fabric, right sides together
Mask Ties (choose one option):

  • Flat Elastic: Cut (2) 7” pieces of 1/8” or 1/4” wide elastic
  • Bias Tape: Cut (4) 16” lengths of bias tape
  • Fabric Ties: Cut (2) 1-1/2”x 36“ strips of fabric (sewing instructions below)

To make your own woven fabric ties, cut two strips 1-1/2” X 36” long. Fold strip in half long ways and press.
Fold raw edges in toward center fold and press again. Stitch down the side to close tie. Cut to 18” length and finish one side by folding twice about 1/4” and stitching to secure.

Sewing Instructions

  1. Put right sides of fabric together
  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew the elastic, bias tape or fabric tie 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 (or if using bias tape or fabric tie, place your second one) 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 (or if using bias tape or fabric tie, place your third one)
  5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic (or if using bias tape or fabric tie, place your last one)
  6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out. On short edges, make pleats. Pin three (3) ½” tucks on each side of the mask. There should be about 1 ¼ inches between top edge and top pleat. Pin each pleat in place along the opposite edges, matching the pleats. Make sure the tucks are the same direction.
  7. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.