Where to Buy Face Masks in Kalamazoo + Simple DIY Patterns to Make-at-Home

Where to find Face Masks in Kalamazoo

Gov. Whitmer’s Recent Order Strongly Encourages Face Masks When in Public

Governor Whitmer has declared that we can golf again! And go boating! And buy garden supplies!

But… you’re gonna need a mask for that.

Michigan’s Stay-at-Home order is extended to May 15, but according to the emergency alert that we all received, “Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a homemade, non-medical grade mask when they leave the house.”

While I am not going to interpret these orders, I’m going to guess that you don’t have to wear your mask if you’re going on a boat with your family or going for a walk, but if you’re going somewhere that you’ll encounter people you don’t live with, mask it up.

Will I be Arrested if I Don’t Have a Mask?

No, you will not be arrested.

Under the order, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask,” Whitmer said at the press briefing, adding that these masks are crucial to protecting the public and employees.

So basically, we need to wear masks to show respect for those around us, and to help slow the spread of coronavirus so we can all return to the movie theaters and concerts some day.

Things to Look for in a Face Mask

Whether you buy or make a mask, there are some common things to look for. The CDC has good recommendations, including a mask that:

  • fits snug around the nose and sides of the face
  • uses multiple layers of fabric
  • can be easily laundered (in the washing machine is easiest)
  • secures to face with ties or elastic (or stretchy knit)
  • is not see-through when held up to bright light (ensuring the material is dense enough to filter out particles)

And finally

  • is breathable!!! So many patterns out there do not consider the function of the mask.

What even is breathable? Cotton, like T-shirts, quilting cotton and even bandanas (in multiple layers).

Once you’ve got one, you should know how to wear it. Here are some pointers from fellow Michigander, Lindsay Fraser on how to wear a pleated face mask.

Kalamazoo Answering a Call

In late March, Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services asked residents in Southwest Michigan to make and donate fabric face masks to health care providers and first responders. Bronson Healthcare began accepting home-sewn masks to supplement their PPE – check out their template and instruction page.

The community stepped into action immediately.

The SWMI Protective Gear Project (a donation-based operation) was initiated. Group members created tutorials and shared sewing tips. As of late April, the group of over 1,800 members has a self-reported mask donation of over 25,000 for healthcare and frontline service workers – and that number is growing.

Volunteer to Help

Want to help?  Visit Find the Helpers or the SWMI Protective Gear Volunteer link to get started. Volunteers are needed for sewing masks and other logistical assistance.

Where to Buy Face Masks in Kalamazoo

Not everyone knows how to sew. And even if you did, you may not have time to sew, between trying to work 40 hours a week while simultaneously taking care of toddlers and trying to be a substitute teacher for your older kids. And making every meal because restaurants are closed.

So if the thought of making a mask stresses you out, just buy a face mask. Here’s a list we’ve started:

Vintage Mitten | Kalamazoo

                    Located in Kalamazoo and offering masks for adults and kids. Will ship.

Troll Marketplace | Vicksburg

Kid and adult sizes. Follow Facebook page for availability.

House of Pariah | Kalamazoo

Masks made in Kalamazoo with sizes starting at 3 years old. For every one mask sold, one will be donated to a frontline worker.

MK Dancewear | Portage

Cotton face masks for child and adult sizes. Order online.

A. Marie Handmade | Allegan

All donations will be used to purchase supplies to donate masks to those in need. Also, contact for bulk-order face masks.

Sassy Olive | Allegan

Donation-based masks (or free if you can’t afford it) available as they make them.

The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental   | Kalamazoo

Face masks in child and adult sizes. Available in stock or to drop-ship directly from the manufacturer.

SWMI Protective Gear Vendors

A Facebook group in Southwest Michigan looking to connect makers with residents looking to buy face masks. Masks are made locally with vendors selling all sizes (kids and adults) and add-on items such as ear savers.

Are you selling well-made face masks right now? Put your contact info in the comments so readers can find you!

Two Types of Mask Patterns if you Own a Sewing Machine

If you own a sewing machine and haven’t made a mask by now, I’m going to assume that you are not really confident in your sewing skills.

Good news: sewing face masks are easy for novice sewists, if you find the right pattern.

Best Fitted Face Mask Pattern & Tutorial

My favorite is Mimi G’s mask. It’s a fitted mask with no sewing through pleats required. You’re sewing two pieces of fabric together and then feeding through either elastic or ties.

This mask is also good for us spectacled citizens: it fits under your glasses, eliminating the “foggy spectacles” look.

If you want to get zany, you can leave a hole in the top to insert a filter.

Want to try pleated?

Best Pleated Face Mask Patterns/Tutorials

Pleated masks are nice because they’re a little more customizable to your face. You can open it up however much you need to create a good fit.

I like this pattern by SarahMaker because it leaves an option for inserting a filter.

My sewing friends have vetted this pattern. It is extra helpful for health care workers, as you can wear a medical-grade mask underneath it.

Tie Materials for Masks

The most comfortable masks tie around the back of your head, as opposed to over the ears. Both methods work, but you get longer wear out of behind-the-head models. Materials you can use are:

  • 1/4″ elastic (Sold out in many places, so unless you have it on hand, this may not be an option for you. It is also uncomfortable for the behind-the-ears masks. Best suited for around the head.)
  • bias binding tape
  • quilter’s cotton cut in long strips
  • knit cut from old t-shirts (friendliest for behind-the-ears masks)

No-Sew Mask Options

There are approximately 4,200 no-sew mask tutorials out there. About 4,199 of them are not the most practical. Who wants to spend an hour making a face mask?? Nobody. Not even someone with a sewing machine.

I used my sewist experience to dig through the noise and find three no-sew options that I think are the most suitable.

No-Sew Face Mask From a T-Shirt Sleeve

I like this one the best. You just cut out a shirt sleeve, cut some strategic holes for the ears, and you’re on your way.

No-Sew Face Mask With a Bandana or Simple Rectangle Cut from Fabric

I recommend using a piece of quilting cotton or maybe even a knit shirt, as I don’t think that bandanas have the best close weave, and thus wouldn’t keep as many particles from passing through it.

But basically, grab a rectangle of fabric and some hair ties (yeah, they’re probably better than the rubber bands they use here) and make this mask.

CDC Patterns for No Sew Face Masks

The CDC has two simple, realistic options for no-sew masks. One is similar to the bandana method above, and one is cut straight from a t-shirt, ties included.

I’ve Got My Face Mask, How Do I Clean It?

Listed below are the CDC’s general guidelines on how to properly clean most masks:

Tips for Keeping it Clean

  • Wash your fabric face masks routinely, depending on the frequency of use.
  • All face masks should be washed with hot water in the washing machine, and tumble dried on high heat. More delicate, handsewn masks may need to be washed by hand.
  • Individuals should not touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and, wash hands immediately after removing to prevent further spread of the disease.


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4 thoughts on “Where to Buy Face Masks in Kalamazoo + Simple DIY Patterns to Make-at-Home”

  1. I am selling face masks. Lots and lots of fabric choices. Fitted or pleated style. Ties or elastic. Kids and adults. Look me up on faceebook..Mindy Acosta from Kalamazoo.

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