April 26, 2020

What it's been like at our Seattle factory as we've made face masks

A person cutting material for making masks.


Above: Irma cuts fabric for our Reusable Cloth Face Masks. We're now manufacturing over 20,000 masks a week here in Seattle.

This: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14V_vow2qQi7rri9BB5ZVbX0TspkCL70cyJwKt44Eneo/

The above spreadsheet shows you our work. It shows you how many masks we’ve made and how many masks we’ve donated (thanks in large part to you) since we started making masks on March 25th. It is my philosophy that the actual work we are doing right now is more important than any words I can share with you.

The staff and volunteers at HanaCares in New York. 

We started sewing and prototyping cloth face masks around March 16th. We began making masks on the production floor on March 25th; today is April 25th. In that one month, we have made over 67,000 masks. We expect that number to increase over the next month; the first mask designs we made were very slow-going. Our current Reusable Cloth Face Mask is much faster to make. Our production crew has been working intelligently and diligently to increase efficiency; those efforts have amounted to a 2x increase in the number of masks we’re able to produce each day. At this point in time, we are able to produce 20,000+ masks a week. 

The past month has felt like a year; so much has changed, so much has happened, and there’s still so much work to (gratefully) do. 

Below are some snapshots of what it’s been like here, just stuff we want to share with you. And as we share this with you, we want to invite you to share your experiences with us in the comments. This post feels awfully one-sided; if we were talking with you in person, we’d much rather hear what you’re up to as opposed to going on and on about what we’re doing. We hope you are safe and well.

Left to right: Julia T., Brad, Quentin, and Kayla. Each purchased our Reusable Cloth Face Masks and shared these photos with us; hope they give you a sense of how they fit on a range of folks. These are all the Original size of mask. 




Irma and Edelmira spread fabric that will be cut to make face masks. Purple is a color we're using for some donation orders.




Irma wearing a Reusable Cloth Face Mask that Candi made for her out of a favorite fabric/pattern.



The staff at Mud Bay pet supply stores wearing our Reusable Cloth Face Mask and demo-ing proper distancing.

Staff at the employee-owned Mud Bay pet supply stores wearing our Reusable Cloth Face Masks and demonstrating appropriate distancing. 




Me and Fong attempting to discuss mask quantities while maintaining an appropriate distance. 



Masks sewn at home using our pattern by @tvolcheck

@tvolcheck used our Reusable Cloth Face Mask pattern to sew masks at home. "Like most people I’ve been experimenting with different mask patterns. These stay on, no adjusting mid-wear and are completely comfortable for longer timeframe. Found a winner!"

Jimmy Mooney ordered a sewing machine online in mid-April. Since then, he’s been making cloth face masks using our pattern with the help of his wife. He also gave us some great feedback on the pattern itself that we’ve since incorporated. Pretty cool!




Ben and Nik were actually discussing something, and then I made them pretend to be discussing something so I could take more photos for this post. I think they're doing a pretty good job. 




Trang made her own mask and sewing smock; I love the print she chose.




This is our neighbor Blas who owns Fulcrum Coffee. He's wearing the newer Large size mask; it fits him well. I bought a huge box of their cold brew and it's been keeping me going all week. Very good coffee.




TianYing has been working on trimming threads, quality-assessing masks, and shipping orders. 


  • We've separated the Donation and Buy A Mask pages; click here to donate only and click here to sign up to be notified when masks will be available for order.
  • We are, indeed, working on a version of our mask with a pocket; there’s much to say about that and we’ll share more when the time comes. I think we have 5 different mask designs in the works right now.

Safety information

Safety is important. See this list of the safety precautions we're taking at the factory.



A new use for the Travel Tray........ 




Matt is shipping face masks; we can't ship bags right now, but we are still taking your orders and they're very important to us. 


Eric wearing the Reusable Cloth Face Mask that he ordered from us; size Original.


Photo by @ericlabanauskas 



DOn - June 6, 2020

Hi, like my 2 masks from you. Can you confirm that these masks(ordered in May) CONFORM to today’s ( June 5) government
CDC GUIDELINE for cloth masks. That you masks are either 3 ply of materials or more ? For absolutely safety? Thanks!

Robin - April 27, 2020

I love that you are working some of your masks on the barter system. I love doing things that way. Then everyone gets what they need without money exchanging hands. Keep up the great work.

Julie Hilbring - April 26, 2020

Thank you so much, we love these masks at St. Mary’s ER in Chicago! ❤️

Maria Lopez - April 26, 2020


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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.