Community-made non-medical face masks



The last day of collection of community made non medical masks will be Thursday July 30. 


The safety of children, youth, parents, caregivers and staff at CHEO is of utmost importance. It drives how CHEO is responding to COVID-19.

Please help us by creating and donating colourful, kid-friendly cloth masks for everyone coming to CHEO who is older than two years of age.

We have the commercially available masks we need for everyone coming to CHEO — thanks in part to the support of donors in our amazing community.

But we also want to provide everyone coming here with cloth masks — for use at CHEO and in the community. In addition to engaging the creative sewing community, re-usable cloth masks are more environmentally friendly.

So for those who can sew, we’d love your help!

Why cloth masks for children, youth, parents and caregivers?
  • Public health officials are recommending cloth masks as a reasonable way to protect others when you are in public and you can’t maintain appropriate distancing — akin to coughing into your elbow.
  • Re-usable cloth masks are also a great, environmentally friendly way to protect others from pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic spread of disease.
  • We will likely be using cloth masks in the community for a while.
How will CHEO use the masks?

We are currently providing every parent, caregiver, youth and child over the age of two years a commercially produced mask.

When we have enough of the community-made cloth masks, we look forward to providing these re-usable, kid-friendly masks for use at CHEO and out in the community, in addition to the commercially available masks.

Please note:

How do I make masks I can donate?

Here is an easy-to-follow pattern if you don’t have one. We like it because it has kids’ sizes and there is a video tutorial. But remember we need adult sizes too!!

Free downloadable face mask sewing pattern and tutorial on how to sew three types of double-layered masks, and the video tutorial. (Both courtesy of © Joanne.L | Craft Passion)

  • Type A: Normal face mask
  • Type B: Face mask with a POCKET for filter insert or as a surgical mask cover.
  • Type C: Add on a removable NOSE WIRE to Type A and Type B (as shown in the video). It comes with a sleeve to insert nose wire for a better seal and as an anti-fog for those wearing glasses.

All three types have patterns for four sizes: small kids, young kids, teenagers/small adult and large adult.

You can choose to make any size you wish. But please remember, CHEO needs masks for the parents and caregivers who accompany kids and teens in the hospital.

What do I need?

Along with standard sewing supplies (sewing machine, measuring tape, etc.), you will need:

For mask Type A and B

  • Main Fabric (cotton), 13″ x 7″, prewashed.
  • Secondary Fabric (cotton or flannel), 12″ x 7″, prewashed.
  • Elastic cord for ear loops 16″, or, shoelace/ribbon/cord/t-shirt yarn with at least 44″ length for the head tie.

For mask Type C

You will also need to following:

  • Bias Tape, 2″ wide 6″ long, prewashed (as nose wire sleeve).
  • Wire, 6″ (as nose wire), bent the ends inward to make it 4.5″ long.

Please note

  • Use clean, unstained fabric to make your masks.
  • We will launder all donated masks at the hospital before they are distributed.

Feel free to share your creations on social media. We’d love to see them. Tag us @CHEO and use the hashtag #SewHelpful

How do I package my masks for donation?

Please place your masks in a plastic bag, separating them into the separate bags by size, clearly indicating the size on the bag: Small Kids (3-6 years), Young Kids (7-12 years), Teenage, or Adult.

If you wish, please write us a note, including your contact info and email address so we can thank you. Please put your note in a sealed envelope marked: Community-made Masks.

Where and when can I deliver my completed masks?

By mail:

  • You can mail your community-made masks to CHEO in a sealed envelope or box:
    Community-made Masks
    Attn: R. Correll RI2127
    CHEO, 401 Smyth Rd, Ottawa ON K1H 8L1

In person:

  • You can drop your community-made masks outside the main entrance of CHEO.
  • When:
    Mondays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    Thursdays between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

What can I expect when I drop off my masks in person?

There will be clearly marked collection bins for each size and a bin to drop of your contact information should you wish to do so. There will also be a volunteer nearby if you have questions. Please adhere to physical distancing best practices during drop-off.


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m in isolation after travel, etc. Can I still make masks?
Yes! We will be laundering all masks at the hospital when we receive them.

Why are you recommending the light/dark fabric combination? What if I don’t have light/dark fabric?
We will accept masks made in any color or pattern – just do your best. We are recommending dark fabric for the exterior and light fabric for the interior.

I’m using a different pattern. Is that okay?
Yes! We just ask that you try to follow the fabric guidelines – dark outer fabric with light inner fabric, cotton or polyester or a blend.

Where can I find fabric and sewing supplies right now?
In many cases you can still shop online.

You can also order fabric from Fabricland and they have curbside pickup available at locations in Ottawa.


Other questions?

Please contact [email protected]

Thank you for helping!
We are grateful for your dedication to helping children, youth and families at CHEO.

Upcoming CHEO Events

There are so many different events that happen in support of CHEO and for that we are most grateful. Please check out our special events calendar so you can join us and help make a difference. Feel free to become involved as a volunteer or organize your own event.