FAQs

Do I have to wash the fabric before sewing?

If you are making scrub caps and headbands or masks with your own materials yes. Please wash and dry the fabric at high temperature to reduce shrinkage. 

If you are making masks with our kits you do NOT need to wash the fabric as we have washed it already. If you are making masks from your own fabric (after ensuring that the fabric meets the specifications), please wash on hot using unscented detergent and dry on high temperature prior to cutting your pieces.

What material is needed for masks?

Based on our research, 100% cotton with a minimum thread count of 180 is required.  We are purchasing high quality quilters cotton.  Bed sheets can be used IF you can verify that they are 100% cotton and a minimum of 180 thread count.

Do I have to wash the items
once I have made them?

No, you do not have to wash the items. They will pass many hands before being delivered and will be washed prior to their use.

If I want to buy my own fabric
where should I go?

We have compiled a list of local sewing shops (excel sheet). Please support our local businesses! If you are buying fabric for masks, please ensure that you are buying 100% cotton with a minimum of 180 thread count.

I don’t have any buttons.
Where can I find them?

Once you join the Facebook Group you can connect with one of our volunteers who is making them at home with a 3-D printer for us for free.  In addition, the east and west end coordinators have donated buttons for use.

Any helpful sewing hints?

Mark your elastic but don’t cut it yet. Insert the end into the casing and sew the one end. Pull the elastic until you get to the mark. Sew the second end down then cut the elastic.

Sewing the tie ends: have a small piece of fabric handy that you can use under the presser foot to make it level when trying to get close to the end.

If unsure about button placement, the button should be around the tip of your ear when the item is worn. 

Reinforce single thickness of cotton for buttons with felt, fleece, leather or swimsuit fabric. These don’t fray but will help to hold the button on.

Sew the buttons on by machine: use the zigzag stitch with stitch width to 0 or drop the feed dogs. Ensure that the needle goes into each hole by turning the hand wheel a few times prior to stepping on the foot peddle. Ensure that you leave a 2” – 3” tail so that you can tie off the threads so the buttons do not unravel. Alternatively, you can switch to a straight stitch, and stitch 5-6 times in one hole, move the button slightly, stitch 4-5 times again in the same hole- and this is enough to lock the button in place (and no tying of threads needed!!)

When cutting items, you can often cut multiple items at the same time!!

Any exposed raw edge of fabric will fray when washed multiple times and the seam will eventually give way.  In order to prevent this, please either use a serger to finish exposed raw edges of fabric OR use a zig zag stitch or overlock stitch on a sewing machine to finish the edge.

What do I do once I’ve finished sewing
a batch of items?

There are drop off locations in different parts of the city. Once you are on the sewists list we will give you the addresses.

How do I get onto your sewists list?

To join the sewists list please join the Sewing for Ottawa Facebook Group or, if you are not on Facebook send us an email (info@ottawahandmade.com)

I can’t leave my house but I still want to sew.
What can I do?

If you are a person who does not drive / cannot leave your house, please join the Sewing for Ottawa Facebook group. You can then let us know that you need delivery.

I don’t sew but I still want to help

That’s great! We are looking for drivers willing to deliver and pick-up items, help with cutting t-shirt yarn and other non-sewing tasks. Please join the Sewing for Ottawa Facebook Group (or write to us if you are not on Facebook) and let us know which areas of the city you are willing to cover.

Why do we have to follow
the mask pattern provided?

We’ve chosen this pattern for mass production/distribution because current research tells us it is the most effective NON-medical fabric mask design and is adjustable to cover the widest range of face sizes/shapes.

Can I use the patterns on your website
for my own projects?

Yes! However, please make sure you are using your own materials.  Any materials donated for this project must be used to create items for this project.

I made masks before realizing that we had to
follow a pattern. Can I still drop them off to you?

Yes. We don’t want your previous efforts to go to waste! Something is still better than nothing.

I’m on the sewists list but not sure
who the contact person for my zone is.

Please ask on the Facebook page and one of our volunteers will point you in the right direction.

What are you doing to ensure safety in this project?

We are maintaining physical distancing! All pick up and drop offs are porch only.  We ask that you clean your hands before and after drop off to ensure everyone’s safety.  We ask that you not participate if you or anyone in your household are sick or are under any public health restrictions (e.g. self isolation orders).