Instructions for Medical Face Masks

You can drop off the masks at the Blount Memorial Foundation,  811 Jones Avenue, Maryville. This is the street just past Dunkin Donuts going towards the hospital on S. Washington Street. Maybe stop by and take a dozen donuts or coffee to the Foundation office!

The office is open from 8am to 4:30pm Monday – Friday.  Call them at 865-977-5727 when you get there and they will pick them up from your car. Lehla McMahan is the Donor Relations & Grant Coordinator. They are thankful for all masks that are donated.

Just another way UMW can work with our communities in this time of need. 

You can also check with your local hospitals, urgent care centers, physicians' offices, and any other place where workers may need Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that these masks can be made in times of crisis as a last resort and should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face or over a certified mask that is being reused due to the current shortage.

A study of homemade face masks found that cotton T-shirts and cotton pillowcases are the best materials for making face masks, based on their ability to capture particles yet remain breathable, and that they perform comparably to surgical-grade masks.


How To Make a Face Mask


  • Cotton Fabric – best to use two different patterns of fabric for a “clean” and “dirty” side
  • 40W Sew-In Stabilizer at least 12” X 9”
  • 2 40” pieces of Double  Fold ½” Bias Tape
  • Flat Aluminum Wire – 5mm wide (currently out of stock at Hobby Lobby) ☹
  • Substitute Pipe Cleaners for the nose piece.
  • Basic Sewing Supplies


  1. Cut piece 12” X 9” out of the cotton fabric on the fold and stabilizer.
  2. Sew stabilizer to wrong side of cotton fabric.
  3. Fold fabric right sides together, matching 9-inch sides.
  4. Sew along the short side, using 3/8” seam allowance. Turn right side out and iron to press      flat.
  5. Create 3 pintuck markings by folding the mask in half and pressing it with an iron. Fold outside edges to the center and press again.
  6. Open the ends of the bias tape and fold them backwards so the right sides are touching each other. Sew a straight line along the short end of the bias tape making sure to backstitch. Turn the corner right side out to create a clean finish.
  7. Find the center of the bias tape and position it at the center of the mask. Open the bias tape to align the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edges of the mask. Pin in place along the length of the mask. Sew the bias tape in place along the crease closest to the raw edge, repeating this on the opposite side.
  8. Cut piece of wire to 4 inches. Bend the ends of the wire inwards to prevent them from poking through the fabric. Slide wire into the bias tape along the top middle of the mask. Pin on either side of the wire and push it upwards to avoid sewing over it.
  9. Fold the bias tape upwards and encase the raw edge. Pin in place and sew along the entire      length of the bias tape ¼” from the edge. You can use your fingers on either side to guide the bias tape as you sew.
  10. Create 1/2” folds facing downwards using the markings you made in Step 5. Pin the folds in place making sure all tucks are facing the same direction.
  11. Sew over the pintucks along the right and left edge of the entire mask using a 3/8"  seam allowance.