Mon – 3/23: It’s time to do more.

Action – If you can sew, if you have material, if you can drive to connect these resources, please help!

Update 4/23/2020: Not a sewer? Got an iron? Be a gown maker. Go here.
Update 3/25/2020: You volunteers have made the New York Times! Check out the bottom of this article! Also check out this video of the project from KEYT, along with news of a local high school project to make 3d-printed face shields. Ventura County is full of awesome people!
Update 3/29/2020:  Go here for updates on other donations and other volunteer opportunities.

nurse bound mask

Message from Amy B Towner, MBA, Chief Executive Officer 
Health Care Foundation for Ventura County, Inc.

Thank you for your willingness to sew and donate your time, talent and fabric for this endeavor. These masks will be used countywide. Point of entry will be Ventura County Medical Center for dissemination which is part of your Ventura County Health Care Agency.  Our Trauma Nurse, Gina Ferrer will be receiving and disseminating and her information and drop off location is below.”

Volunteer needs!

  • If you are showing signs of symptoms – cough, fever, sore throat (or a sudden loss of smell and taste!), please do not sew.
  • Volunteers/Materials Needed!
    • Fabric types used: 100% cotton fabric fabric, (Update 3/23/2020:Infection control has said that cotton and cotton/poly blend materials are acceptable for the masks.”) Please reach out to your networks for any that can be used.
    • Fabric – Do you need it? /Do you have some to  donate?: Fabric donation drop offs at 890 Via Cielito, Ventura. Text to 805-794-2852 to coordinate. Please reply with your name, phone number, email and address if you are unable to pickup/drop-off so we can match you to a driver in your prospective location.
    • Used fabric OK if you wash in the sterilize cycle of your washing machine. 
    • Cutters: People who can just cut material
    • Sewers: People to sew the masks, using the pattern and instructions below. (Please, NO substitutions.)
    • Drivers: People  who can pick up and drop off products who are healthy for those elderly helping who can’t leave the home.
    • Drop finished masks/gowns to Gina Ferrer (Trauma nurse) at 765 Saratoga Avenue in Ventura. Text to 805.216.2165 to alert them to expect your delivery.

If you are able to do any of these tasks, please email Amy at with the following information:

  1. Full Name
  2. Cell Phone
  3. Email address
  4. Full residential address
  5. Need/donation
    • “I have fabric/thread supply to donate”
    • “I need need fabric so I can sew”
    • “I can drive for supply/demand”

Mask instructions:

The mask Ventura health professionals want is the one pictured above, which goes high up on the nose and low on neck and can double as a mask and N95 cover. Note that it has cloth ties, not elastic, which dissolves in hospital laundry autoclaves. They are assuming that these masks will be used for 5 months, so they need quality over quantity for healthcare workers and more people to sew. (Here are some actual Ventura Co. professionals wearing their new handmade masks! Please, NO substitutes in materials or design for their safety!)

nurse masks

  • Instructions online here.
  • Pattern update: Someone redrew the pattern piece on a computer and it’s much easier to print and “cleanercomputer pattern. “Anyone can just print the PDF at 100% scale on a 8.5×11″ Letter sized sheet. Do not rescale it. Check the dimensions on your print with a ruler. For those without a printer, all dimensions are shown on the pattern and you just need a ruler to draw it out very quickly and easily.”
  • Don’t have a printer? Having difficulty printing?:
    • A volunteer has printed patterns on her doorstep for anyone to grab, no need to call ahead! Address is 424 Jones St., Ventura.
    • For those who have had trouble printing, just email here and this volunteer will mail you one.
  • Instructions in printable format Mask+Instructions.
  • Video here.
  • Hints on making bias tape: According to the video above, straight-grain tape is fine for this project, but here’s an excellent video on the folding and pressing part. You don’t need a bias tape maker, but it makes it easier. A whole set is about $8 online.


  • Please follow the instructions as exactly as you can, using two new thick pieces of 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend materials for infection control. Please wash and dry the fabric before cutting.
  • Used cotton/cotton-blend fabric OK if you first wash the clothing in the sterilize cycle of your washer and dryer high heat cycle. Example of how to cut up a cast-off shirt to make masks here.image

mask ingredients

  • After finishing mask, please wash your hands, wipe down your ironing board, and iron the mask(s) on HIGH to help kill germs and put them in ziplock bags (you can put more than one mask in a bag).
  • Drop finished masks to Gina Ferrer (Trauma nurse) at 765 Saratoga Avenue in Ventura. Text to 805.216.2165 to alert them to expect your delivery.
  • Please take pictures of sewing, modeling your masks, someone picking up or dropping off finished products or donations and send to , we want to document our virtual effort!



More from Amy…

Every day, I will be attending the Incident Command meeting and getting feedback from CDC and CDPH in case we need to make changes to mask.

With the response of the state and federal government, we may need to rally as a community, use our networks to ascertain products, drive provisions, or assemble items.  We ask you to stay nimble and agile in this process as it changes rapidly.

Public Health got a report today from Joann Fabrics that people are in line to buy “fabric for masks” but are perusing the aisles buying unessential items. We need to flatten the curve of this disease by social distancing. Your social distancing also helps our healthcare workers just like the mask.  Most people are using their own personal stock or asking others to drop off at their doorstep of their personal stock. We especially want those of mature age to stay inside and they should not be shopping for mask material. Thank you for observing the Public Health Officer wishes. Again, you should not be sewing if you have symptoms or potentially exposed to a person who tested positive. We are helping by all doing our part on every front.

One thing we have seen through all the disasters we have had the past few years is our community heart and spirit. Together, we can help flatten the curve by observing our social distance.  Staying vigilant to help in healthy ways to support healthcare workers and flatten the curve of this beast!

Thank you, again, for your assistance in helping protect our community. WW2 ladies made bullets for protection; 2020 volunteers make masks for protection!!! Stronger together!!!

– Amy Towner

Here’s some information and  resources from our earlier posts.

  • More volunteer opportunities here.
  • Community resource information here.
  • Earlier post on masks in general here.
  • There are no CDC ratings for homemade masks! If you are marketing them, DO NOT IMPLY that your masks are “CDC-approved” or that they achieve an “N95 rating.” This is false advertising and can create dangerous overconfidence in their users. The CDC states that homemade masks can be used for droplet protection when there are no alternatives. “…homemade masks are not considered PPE (personal protective equipment), since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. …Homemade masks 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.”
  • If you are donating masks to an institution – ASK what requirements they have. (We have, Ventura County picked the one we feature above.)
  • If you have commercial masks and gloves you can donate to medical professionals – go here.
  • If you are wearing a mask because you are ill or caring for an ill person, please note the method to use face masks to prevent contamination spread.

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