Iowa 4-H Creates Face Coverings

4 H programs empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities and the world! Iowa 4-H is calling all 4-H members, leaders, alumni, judges, and friends to create face coverings for their community, including friends, neighbors, hospitals, and care centers. We thank everyone who helped us meet our initial goal of 10,000 face coverings. We invite you to help us reach our NEW goal of sewing face coverings for local schools! Please read below how you can get involved - don’t forget to record your donation.

The current number of face coverings donated by our Iowa 4-H family: 28,268

NEW Challenge: Sew, Your Schools Need Face Coverings

  1. Contact your local extension office (check their social media and/or website) for information about local donations in your area. They will provide directions about what schools, sizes of face coverings, and where to drop off your donations. Your office may have sewing supply kits to check out if you do not have access to sewing supplies.
  2. Sew, Sew, Sew – wash your hands and start creating face coverings! Don’t forget to take pictures.
  3. Celebrate! Gather your face coverings and drop them off. (Contact your local extension office to find out if donations should be dropped off at the office or school.) Be sure to take a picture of your final donation and record your donation.

Other pattern options:


Face Mask Straps

mask strap 4 HDo you want to help out but sewing is not your thing?  Many health care workers are required to wear their masks all day long. As the hours wear on, the straps have been known to hurt their ears. In order to make those long hours more comfortable some have started to wear mask strap extensions, a piece that goes across the back of their head for the straps to attach to instead of their ears. Iowa 4-H is encouraging members, parents, volunteers, alumni, and friends to help out this effort by producing and donating mask strap extensions. We have a couple of options available for you:

3D PRINTING If you have access to a 3D printer, you can print off mask strap extensions using one of these files. Other examples can be found on this pattern website or this page of the pattern website.

CRICUT If you have access to a Cricut, you can find directions on cutting mask strap extensions in this Mahaska County Extension news article.

CROCHET If either of the previous two options are not for you, you can crochet a strap extension. Some examples can be found in this Facebook blog video, or this free online pattern download.

After producing your mask strap extensions donate them to a local entity in need.  Some possible examples would include your county emergency management, hospital, nursing homes, police, etc. 


Surgical Caps for Medical Professionals

Do you need a break from sewing masks? Many medical professionals have identified the need for washable surgical caps as the PPE shortage continues. These caps are simple to sew out of cotton quilting fabric, and buttons can be attached behind the ears to hold face masks in place to prevent ear pain. Iowa 4-H is encouraging members, parents, volunteers, alumni, and friends to help out this effort by producing and donating surgical caps. Check with your local hospital or medical professionals you personally know to help identify a department to donate your surgical caps. This pattern is simple and free to print online.


Looking for a way to make this into a fair exhibit? Check out these ideas for a 4-H exhibit goal card.

What did you plan to learn or do?
What was your exhibit goal(s)? A goal includes an action, result, and timetable. The ideas below are different action parts of a goal. Be sure to consider what your result and timetable are as well.

Some options include:

  • Serve my community/country in a time of need. (Citizenship 10510)
  • Learn to sew a straight line. (Clothing and Fashion 10420)
  • Learn to cut fabric. (Clothing and Fashion 10420)
  • Learn to sew a pleat. (Clothing and Fashion 10420)
  • Test out different mask patterns and evaluate for comfort and fit. (Clothing and Fashion 10420)
  • Compare the different masks for affordability. (Consumer Management 10430)
  • Study the health impacts of different masks. (Health 10450)

What steps did you take to learn or do this?
Explain what you did so it is easily understood. The judge wants to know and understand the steps you used to make your exhibit. (You might also consider including/linking to the pattern and directions you used when making your exhibit.)

Include your decisions on the following:

  • Who to donate masks to and why did you choose that option?
  • What pattern(s) did you select?
  • What supplies did you gather?
  • Describe the construction process you used.
  • How did you distribute the masks?
  • Any follow-up that you had with recipients.

What were the most important things you learned?

Reflect on what you learned. Include what you learned about your goal. 
Did you learn anything you did not intend to learn? What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?