April 15, 2020

The Explainer: Face Mask Sewing Tutorials

What it is: As coronavirus has extended its reach around the globe, demand has increased for essential supplies, including face masks. That has led to shortages, which have become extreme enough that many institutions have turned to the public for help. One institution, Deaconess Health System, has asked the public to create and donate CDC-compliant face masks. Crafters have responded to the challenge.

Where it is: Global. Viewership and creation of face mask tutorials is spread around the world.

Facts & Figures:

  • Videos related to DIY, how-to, or tutorials with “face mask” in the title have been viewed over 200 million times in the U.S.
  • Deaconess Health’s face mask tutorial is the most-viewed video on its channel

Increase in views of face mask sewing tutorials

Daily views of videos related to DIY, Tutorial or How-To with "face mask" in the title

Increase in views of face mask sewing tutorials

Source: Global YouTube views, 1/1/2020- 4/08/2020

Look out for:

Uploads of videos related to sewing face masks seems to be split across content from sources who can be seen as authoritative and from “craftivists.” Together there is a message that there is a greater good to which everyone has the ability to contribute.

Reputable Sources - When they needed to get their message out to the public, asking for volunteers to make face masks, Deaconess Health System uploaded a video that included instructions on how to do it. That video is one of many uploads related to COVID-19 or face masks that have been uploaded by medical institutions, but that’s not the only kind of authority active in this space. JOANN Fabrics also uploaded a tutorial while announcing that they would collect face masks for donation.

Hobbyists - This is a moment for craftivism. People in the garment industry and sewing hobbyists are creating tutorials showing others how to make face masks and have created several charitable efforts, including the Million Mask Challenge to galvanize people to make face masks to donate to people who need them.

Key Videos and Creators

Deaconess Health 4k subs - Deaconess has been uploading content related to COVID-19 regularly. But it’s the video they created showing people how to make face masks to donate that has become the channel’s most-viewed -- over 2M views.

The Fabric Patch 21k subs - A recent Creator on the Rise selection based largely on growth from face mask tutorials.

Bridal Sewing Techniques 38k subs - This channel’s primary focus has been teaching sewing techniques for creating bridal gowns. Recently, the channel has shifted focus; its latest video focused on face mask tutorials.

ครูอารีย์ Kru Aree Official 59k subs - This channel hadn’t uploaded in nearly a year before it created several face mask tutorials. Interestingly, the earliest face mask tutorial was in the mold of the channel’s earlier uploads, featuring a woman showing how to make a product in a factory setting. The more recent uploads have a DIY craft-video presentation, lacking dialogue and shot in a studio setting.

Mr Crafts 176k subs - Mr. Crafts has uploaded over 10 different tutorials for face masks. This channel is also responsible for one of the most-viewed of these videos: this tutorial gaining over 5 million views.

Sew Yeah - This sewing channel’s tutorial has gained over 750K views.

Joann Fabrics 156K subs - This fabrics retailer’s tutorial has been viewed over 1.5 million times. The video encourages people making face masks to donate them through JOANN Fabrics.