How to help: Vanderbilt officials call for mask donations, provide instructions on how to make them at home

Local hospitals are calling for residents to sew and donate medical masks. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Local hospitals are calling for residents to sew and donate medical masks. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Local hospitals are calling for residents to sew and donate medical masks. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Residents in the Middle Tennessee region can help medical professionals treating those with coronavirus and can do so from the safety of their homes.

Officials with Vanderbilt University Medical Center have released instructions on how to make hand-sewn face masks to donate to local hospitals.

"Vanderbilt University Medical Center has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) currently on hand to protect its employees and patients from COVID-19," officials said in an announcement on the VUMC website. "However, the global supply for this equipment continues to be uncertain and we are actively taking steps to secure more supplies."

While VUMC officials said hand-sewn masks are not a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended way to defend against coronavirus, cloth masks can work well for other conditions, which can help conserve existing respirator mask supplies. Masks will be donated to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt Adult Hospital and the Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital.

Masks can be dropped off from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Entrance A at Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks. Those interested in donating masks can email

Instructions from VUMC are listed below:

What you will need:

  • Tight-weave cotton fabric or quilting cotton that has not been used, was purchased in the past year and has been washed without fragrances or dyes

  • Rope elastic in 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch width

  • Sewing machine or needles and thread

One adult mask, which are the kind most in need, requires two 9-inch by 6-inch pieces.

How to make the masks:

  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together horizontally.

  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner and then stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.

  3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.

  4. Now, sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put in elastic with the edge out.

  5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.

  6. Sew across the bottom, leaving about 1.5-2 inches open. Stop and cut the thread then turn inside out.

  7. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask, and make sure the tucks are the same direction.

  8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

See the full announcement from VUMC here.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


A number of parents and community members have called for more parental involvement and district training regarding racism in schools. (Community Impact staff)
Parents, teachers call for more training to address racism in Williamson County Schools

During the WCS Board of Education meeting Jan. 19, a number of community members spoke about a lack of training and resources to address racial tension at schools, as well as a need for the district to more directly address incidents.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County active COVID-19 cases drop more than 20% in past week

Active cases have been consistently above 2,000 in recent weeks.

Williamson County Schools, state address effects of COVID-19 on learning loss

According to preliminary data from assessments given to students in the fall, Williamson County Schools officials calculated that some students have lost as much as 9% proficiency in reading and math as a result of school closure last spring. This number is lower than the 50%-65% decreases estimated by the Tennessee Department of Education officials in September; however, local officials said, there is still catching up to do.

The shop is expected to hold open house events Feb. 5-6 to celebrate its opening. (Courtesy Pexels)
New boutique Valentine House now open in Westhaven in Franklin

The shop is expected to have open house events Feb. 5-6 to celebrate its opening. 

Perry's Steakhouse & Grille will open Feb. 18 in Franklin. (Courtesy Perry's Steakhouse & Grille)
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille will open Franklin location Feb. 18

Perry's offers Prime-aged steaks, seafood and its signature entree, Perry's Famous Pork Chop, a in-house-butchered pork chop measuring seven fingers high, which is carved tableside.

Mother and daughter Melanie Johnson and Nikki Reeves took over ownership of the space in December from the previous owners, another mother-daughter team who had run the shop since its opening in 2016. (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mother-daughter duo takes over Westhaven space at Sanctuary South

Located in the heart of Front Street, Sanctuary South has become a mainstay of the Westhaven community—it is within walking distance of the neighborhood’s residential streets. Now, as new owners take control, the shop is undergoing some changes while staying true to its roots.

The second round of the Paycheck Protection Program launched Jan. 13. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Q&A: What to know about round two of the Paycheck Protection Program

Did you know that food and accommodation business can qualify for 40% more funding in a PPP loan? Find more about the second round of the program below.

Rep. Glen Casada has been placed on administrative leave according to a Jan. 8 announcement from House Speaker Cameron Sexton. (Courtesy Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. Glen Casada on leave after federal search of office and more Nashville-area news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Nashville area.

The new bank location will open in February. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Volunteer Bank to open location in Cool Springs

The new location will open soon along Carothers Parkway.

Tennessee is working to vaccinate vulnerable populations, including those age 75 and older. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Tennessee moves to vaccinate in long-term care facilities as COVID-19 cases climb

Beginning Jan. 13, the state—through a partnership with Walgreens and CVS—will begin vaccinating residents and staff in assisted care facilities and homes for the aged. 

Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar opened in early January in downtown Franklin. (Courtesy Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar, Victoria Rosa)
Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar now open in Franklin

The new eatery is now open in Harpeth Square in downtown Franklin.

The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen is scheduled to meet next on Jan. 26. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Franklin BOMA expected to appoint former mayor John Schroer to fill vacant seat through 2021

The city of Franklin will add the seat—held by Alderperson Pearl Bransford until her death in November—to the ballot for its next election in October.