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Helping our Sewing Community

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts our Community more and more, we want to share all the information flowing to our store with everyone. On this page, we will share what we know, who is looking for help, and coordinated efforts shared with us throughout our community.

To add information to this page, fill out our Contact form. We have one Team member maintaining the content on this page and, with all of our other happenings, not all information can be thoroughly evaluated before posting. Please be understanding as we try to do our part to help the Community unite for this cause.

Content last updated: June 8, 2020

Masks - Which Pattern?

Before starting to sew a pattern for any organization, always ask which pattern they prefer you to follow. Information provided here is not designed to replace the critical N95 face masks needed by those dealing directly with coronavirus patients. Rather, these are to be used when there is no better option.

We created a video tutorial for a basic face mask pattern from Here is the PDF for the Fu Face Mask pattern and link to the original instructions

How to Choose Your Fabric

You want to use fabric with the highest thread count available.  Many institutions require that a mask be at least 180 thread count. What does this mean? Thread count refers to the number of horizontal & vertical threads per square inch. If a fabric construction is said to be 60 x 60 , that is 120 thread count.  If you are using two layers of fabric that would be 240 thread count. Avoid using linen or very light weight fabrics, but most cotton quilting fabrics will meet requirements, especially when doubled.  

Check out this NY Times article about the best materials for homemade masks and the effectiveness of using quilting fabrics.

Elastic for Masks

We have a variety of Elastic styles available in-store and online. 

Alternatives to Elastic

If Elastic is not available, you have several good alternatives:

  • Use bias tape ties. You can purchase pre-made Bias Tape by the yard, or you can make your own. See our instructional Bias Tape videos below.
  • Cut Ribbon into 14 inch strips to use as ties.
  • Cut up a t-shirt into strips to make ties.
  • Use extra large elastic hair ties or stretch headbands in place of elastic.

Making Bias Tape

If Elastic is not available, you can make ties with bias tape instead.  In the following videos, Penelope shows you how to use pre-made bias tape, as well as 2 methods for making bias tape from scratch.  We have pre-made bias tape and the bias tape maker tool available for purchase.

Easy Bias Tape Technique:

With the Tool:

Without the Tool:

DFW Sewing Relief Needs You!

Urban Spools is partnering with DFW Sewing Relief to mobilize an urgent effort to get face masks to medical facilities desparately in need.  We are recruiting home sewists and others in our community who are willing to donate their time to the cause.  There are volunteer opportunities beyond just sewing, so please pass along this information to your friends and family who can also get involved.  Click here to read more about how you can volunteer your time and sewing skills.  There are photos and instructions for this group's approved face mask pattern and prepared kits. You can also request face masks for your facility in need.

Masks 4 Moms

This group, started by the MacArthur Medical Center, is focussed on supplying face masks to their patients, many of whom are lower-income pregnant women who do not have the resources to obtain masks themselves. They are collecting cloth, reusable face coverings to give to all of their patients, and plan to distribute the rest to other clinics in need. They are recruiting people who can sew masks from home or donate to the cause.  For more information about how you can help, visit

Other Helpful Resources

Art Gallery Fabrics has assembled this fantastic resource page with sew & no-sew face mask patterns, a database of facilities requesting mask donations, and lots of other valuable information.

Clover provided this helpful chart for choosing the correct Bias Tape Tool. 

Supplies to Keep You Sewing