Laryngectomee Stoma Care





stoma covers and patterns




Wear one. These come in all shapes and sizes, are made of different materials and are offered by most suppliers. A good weave is something that the air can easily get through but a fine enough weave to filter. They can be plain cloth or foam squares, turtlenecks, crocheted collars, or made of a bandanna or a scarf. They come in different colors and sizes, can be purchased or homemade. The benefits are many to you, the laryngectomee, and others will appreciate the "cover up".



All it takes to mess up a stoma cover is one unexpected sneeze or cough. Keep extra foam stoma protectors in your glove compartment as well as in your desk or locker at work.



If you are sick of tying the strings on your stoma cover, journey down to your local fabric store and purchase a few small cord stops. these normally will sell from $0.25 to about $1.00 depending on style and quality. You can even color coordinate them to your stoma cover or get the clear ones and they will match any color. I would advise staying away from the cheap ones that use a hollow moving stem as they tend to fray the stoma cover strings much easier than the solid plastic stems. This has worked for me for over 4 years now and I just leave them on the stoma covers permanently and launder the covers by hand with the cord stop intact. (Wild Bill from Minnesota)


Dirty Environments


When in dirty environments as in working under my car or riding my quad in the mountains, I wear and moistened cover over my HME to catch a lot of the dirt and dust so it does not plug my HME so quickly. It can be a cloth or crocheted one as long as it is easy to breathe through. It can even help when mowing your lawn.

Ron Mattoon






When I became a laryngectomy, it was very nice that the hospital gave me a couple of crocheted "bibs", made by volunteers, to wear over my stoma. My mother took over crocheting of these bibs for me. When I returned to work, I wore either a bib or turtleneck tops (long sleeve in the winter, short sleeve in the summer).

I joined our local support group but most of the members were men with just one or two other women, so I didn't get a lot of advice about clothing.

Then one of my daughters was going to get married. I didn't want to wear a bib or a turtle neck for my daughter's December wedding. So I planned to make my dress but I enlisted the help of women from WebWhispers. I said I'd make a high necked dress---WRONG---I was told the neck had to be BELOW the stoma in case I needed to cough and clear the stoma. The material of my dress would not be stretchy and pull out like a turtleneck sweater. Someone then suggested that I wear a scarf to compliment the dress, but to cover the stoma. I argued that I wouldn't be able to breath with a scarf of a silky type of material. WW women told me to wear one of those foam covers under my scarf to prevent the scarf from sucking up into the stoma as I breathed. Problem solved.

Then I saw that the IAL was going to meet near Chicago (we live in Milwaukee, WI). So my husband and I went. I knew they would have some dress-up dinners and a dance where, hopefully, I'd see how other laryngectomy women dressed for nicer occasions. WOW. Do they know how to DRESS UP. Very fashionable scarves, beaded necklaces large enough to cover the stoma, fancy "bibs" of lace or needlework, necklaces that look like a large brooch covering the stoma. And their dresses were anywhere from just below the stoma to considerably lower--definitely not all turtlenecks or plain bibs.

When we went on a cruise with WebWhispers, the dressing-up got even better with the Captain's Dinners. This time I was prepared.

WebWhispers has several venders who sell these fancier bibs and necklaces. I bought my necklace from one of our members who was listed in our Webbies Workshop. She was in Chicago at the IAL, sized a necklace on me and we determined that she'd have to make it a bit smaller as my neck is very thin. If I need to cough, I just go to the bathroom, turn my necklace around on my neck, and do my coughing and cleaning.

I've gotten so many compliments on my necklace.
[Vicki Metz]


Check Out Our Webbies Workshop


For gorgeous custom designed beaded stoma covers and beautiful crocheted scarves and covers, please take a look at the photos in this section.  Yes, they are for sale. Info on this page:

Many of our WebWhispers Suppliers also handle beautiful stoma covers that add something extra to your costume. Check out their catalogs.






Whether you elect to tie, pin or wear your scarves loosely, you can make a fashion statement and feel comfortable about wearing your scarf.

Ways to Tie a Scarf

Video. Had commercial first, then in less than 5 minutes shows you 25 ways to tie a scarf:

A section of our site with several ideas on neck coverings:





Laryngectomy Covers (Stoma Covers)


These first two were sent by the wife of a WW member laryngectomee:

Materials: Crochet Cotton - Size 10
Steel Crochet Hook - Size 2

Original Pattern

1. Chain 5" (Approximately 35 stitches)
2. Single Crochet in 2nd chain from hook and continue across chain.
3. Chain 2 and turn
4. Double crochet across row, repeat rows until 5" is reached
5. Chain 3 and turn.
6. Triple crochet in next 5 sts.
7. Double crochet across row until last 5 sts.
8. Triple crochet in those last 5 sts.
(End of Bib)
9. Chain 50 sts. then single crochet back until end of row.
10. Chain 50 sts. Again for another tie, single crochet across chain, back to bib, and tie off.

My husband found the stoma covers to generally be too small. He has a large neck size and wanted a larger bib, as well as longer ties. Also, due to the necessity of frequent laundering of the stoma covers, we found that the ties had a tendency to break down faster then the bib itself. Rather than throwing away the entire bib, we opted to make the bib separate from the tie. This way, we can remove the tie when it breaks and replace it with a new one. He also feels that this version fits a little better and is more comfortable.

Alternative Pattern for large neck

(Neck Size 16 1/2 - 18)

Approximate Finished Size - 5" High by 7" Wide.

1. Chain 45 stitches
2. Single Crochet in 2nd chain from hook and continue across chain.
3. Chain 2 and turn
4. Double crochet 18 to 20 rows depending on preference.
5. Chain 3 and turn.
6. Triple crochet in next 8 sts.
7. Double crochet across row until last 8 sts.
8. Triple crochet in those last 8 sts., and tie off.

Ties - Chain until you reach a length that circles the neck comfortably with ample length for tying. Then single crochet back across chain and tie off.

Weave the tie in and out of stitches in top row of bib. This gives a slightly gathered effect, which aids in holding the bib away from direct contact with the stoma.



A Simple Pattern for a Crocheted Stoma Cover

Since the covers can vary in size considerably and one person might like more coverage than another, my friend wrote out these very simple instructions for a bib with ties.

You can easily make it whatever size you wish. My favorites are 5" to 6" wide and 4" to 5" deep.

10"tie_____________[__6" bib ____]______________10"tie

Instructions for one approx. 6" wide

Use inches for measurements instead of counting stitches. This allow for variation in thread and hook size as well as the use of different kinds of stitches

Chain 26 inches (for a bib that is 6 inches wide with 10 inch ties) turn, slip-stitch in first10 inches of chain. Triple crochet in each chain for the next 6 inches. Turn, chain one, then triple crochet in each triple crochet. Repeat until bib is as long as you want it: 4, 5,or 6 inches. Single crochet around the outside edge to the single chain (the 10 inch tie you did not slip stitch). Finish off.

Using this last pattern, a crocheter made some for me to see with a size 5 thread (instead of the #10 in the top one) using a Size D needle, and they are great, so experimentation is encouraged! Just got this from her:

NOTE: When tying off and cutting thread, be sure to leave a tail at least 6" long so you can thread it onto a yarn needle and weave it through the back side.

With size 5 thread and size "D" hook, chain 33.

ROW 1 - Single crochet in second chain from hook and across (32 stitches).

ROW 2 - Chain 2 and turn, DC across.

ROW 3 - Chain 2 and turn. DC, inserting hook between stems and below all horizontal threads connecting stitches.

Continue working same as row 3 until desired length (last DC row should be back side of work.) Chain 1 and turn to right side and work 1 row of sc across. Fasten off.

TIES: Attach thread in top corner of bib. Chain 1, then sc in next stitch. (chain 1 and turn, then sc in next 2 stitches,) until tie is approximately 10" long.  Work other tie in the same manner.





Here one for knitters:

Cast on 3" worth of stitches in soft cotton and either work in a non-curling stitch such as garter, seed, or moss, or work in stockinette stitch with a garter stitch border. Increase at each end of every other row until 6" wide and work even until 5" from beginning.  Shape as for the neck of a pullover by working a quarter of the stitches, binding off one half of the stitches, then shaping the final one quarter by decreasing on the neck edge every other row until one stitch remains; then work other side to match.  Use I-cord to edge the top and form ties, or even quicker, make a 15" crocheted chain, continue by working single crochet across the neck edge, and then crochet another 15" chain. Use these pieces as a way to try out new patterns, either lace, cable, or multi colored. These are for men, women, and children, so use your creativity!

And another sent by a knitter:




Easy knitted stoma bib

Size 7 (US) needle

Worsted weight cotton yarn

Size G crochet hook

With crochet hook, chain 61, place last loop on knitting needle
Use a single strand cast on and cast on 23 stitches (24 total on needle)
Knit one row (you'll be back at the chain edge)

Row 1: Slip first stitch as if to purl, K1, k2tog, knit to last three stitches, k in front and back of next stitch, k2

Row 2: Slip first stich as if to purl, k across

Repeat these two rows five more times.

Work even (slipping the first stitch of each row) knitting each row with no shaping for 24 rows.

37.On next row, slip first st as if to purl, K1, K in front and back of next stitch, K to last four stiches, K2 together, K2

38. Slip first st as if to purl, K across

Repeat 37 and 38 four more times

Repeat row 37,

Bind off in Knit on next row, when one loop remaining on needle, pick it up with crochet hook and chain 61, turn, slip stitch in each chain, single crochet in each row end loop across top of bib, slip stich back up other chain. Knot or weave in ends. No other finishing needed.

[Marcie Hanaburgh]


Hints from a crocheter

For the crocheted ones you can use any pattern you would use for an afghan and just make a 6" square. There are books with hundreds of patterns. Even grannies squares or patterns for bibs or coasters, pot holders, etc. They just need to be adjusted a little and of course you can't use the really open lacy ones.




I've been making bibs for my grandfather for over 25 years and I just make the bib then sew narrow bias tape ( 10" ties and the width of the bib) onto it. They hold up for a long time this way



Use 100% cotton, lightweight thermal baby blanket and bias tape to match blanket.. (One example is "All Season Knit Receiving Blanket" by "Baby Morgan", 30 x 40 inches, sold at WalMart). Make a pattern for the stoma cover. One possible pattern is about 10 inches tall; 9 inches across the bottom; 7.5 inches across the top. The bottom edge is squared off. The top edge is curved slightly down at the center to fit comfortably at the neck. Wash blanket and using the pattern you have made, cut out stoma covers. Finish the two sides and the bottom edge of the stoma cover with bias tape. Cut a piece of bias tape 3 feet long. Match the center of the tape and the center of the top of the cover. Sew the tape on, leaving the extended ends so they can be tied at the back of the neck. Care should be taken so that no small pieces of thread are left on the finished product. They could be dangerous if inhaled. Ora Mae Harding


I have been a Lary for 6.3 years and using a TEP for almost 6 years. I had designed a stoma cover using dual layers of thermal knit fabric to give me a semi heat exchanger and stoma cover. About 1 and half years ago I was diagnosed with a second primary on my left lung and decision was made to operate. The operation was done and they had to remove my whole left lung for all to be well with me.

Now I am a Lary with one lung. I thought I might want to protect my single lung a little better than I had been when I had 2 of the things. I had experimented with foam covers and HME's, but was unable to maintain a useful seal for an extended period of time. I didn't like the cost of the foam on a daily basis and then I had my insight that has worked for me and others. That insight was to glue the foam to the stoma cover. Simple and very effective. I am able to wash my covers without losing the foam filter and have been doing this since about May of last year with no harmful effects and an incredible reduction in foam filter costs.  One other benefit that arose was being able to spritz/mist between the filter and stoma cover to provide added moisture when the humidity is low.

Overall = 11" ,  across = 8.5",  bottom to neck opening = 5 or 5.5" ,  straps = 1.25" Foam = 2.5 x 3"  You will want to use double sided clear tape to put the foam on the cover.  I use Velcro to close in the rear and I used 1" x 1" pieces.  Don't forget that the Velcro go on opposite sides.  (Craig Smith)



(from November 2000 WW Journal)

For those with some sewing skills, converting an old favorite (or even new) t-shirt into a stoma cover is not particularly difficult. 

     The process begins by cutting the collar downwards all the way down the back of the shirt and through the bottom hem.  At about 3 inches down from the collar ends, cut the fabric at right angles for a length of about five inches, and again at right angles down the front of the shirt through the bottom hem.  Cut the remaining material off at about 6 1/2 inches below the front of the collar at right angles to the vertical cuts. 

    Fold the cut collar ends over about an inch with the edges on the inside of the shirt. Use a zigzag stitch to sew along the cut edges.  Sew a 2 inch strip of velcro, hooks side up, on the outside of the collar end; and a 2  inch strip of the loops part of the velcro on the inside of the other collar end.  (You want the hooks side on the outside so it does not irritate the skin.)  Finish by sewing the edges of the stoma collar to keep it from fraying.

    One prominent SLP noted that anyone who has done laundry before and cleaned out the drier lint filter can attest that cotton and other fabrics shed fibers.  There can be quite a few fibers which can come from even a small load of washable cottons.  With this in mind, it would be best to wear your homemade cotton stoma cover on top of a foam filter (or HME) to keep fibers out of your stoma. 

    Still another option to that is to put a partial lining on the reverse side of the cover.  For this you should use a porous fabric which does not shed much, if any, such as chiffon-type synthetic fabrics; or the kind of fabric used in bathing suit linings.  Just cut a 4 or 5 inch piece of this material (you might double this size and fold it over for additional protection) hem it all around, and sew it to the top on the inside of the cover at the collar hem so that it will be centered over the stoma when worn.  It only needs to be sewn at the top edge. 

    The pattern graphic is not drawn to scale.  This pattern shown can also be used to make a stoma cover from scratch.  You may also have a favorite stoma cover which you can use as a pattern for making your own. Happy sewing.



(from Arlene and James Lee)

1. Cut a piece of fabric 16? wide and 14? high.
2. Cut a piece for the band 19? long and 3? wide.  This step is done at the ironing board.  Turn in 1/4? on each end.  Fold in half lengthwise, press, and turn in 1/2? on one side.  Add some interfacing and press with the iron.
3.  Mark the center of the scarf and center of the band.
4.  Stitch a small rolled hem on three sides of the scarf.
5.  Run a gathering stitch 1/2? from the raw edge.  Pull to gather to 9 1/2? in width.
6.  With the outside of the band to the inside of the scarf, pin the band to the scarf matching center marks and spread the gathers as evenly as possible.  Stitch.
7.  Turn the band to the outside of the scarf, turn up the seam allowance on loose ends and stitch.
8.  Stitch on velcro: about 3 1/2 inches at the band ends.

To wear it, roll the band under twice, then attach the velcro as tightly or loosely as is comfortable and tuck it down the shirt front.

Note:  You can do wider, longer, shorter, or narrower. 
For those needing to occlude the stoma with a thumb or finger, use the following: (1) Cut a piece of fabric 25? wide and 14? long.  (2) Fold in half.  Make a box pleat 1 3/4 deep and 5? from each edge. (3) Make a 2 inch opening 3 1/2? from the top edge and use either a buttonhole or zigzag stitch to keep it from unraveling. (4) Finish using instructions beginning at number 2 above.





To download, click here:

Project Gutenberg's Beeton's Book of Needlework, by Isabella Beeton

From Samuel Butler's Preface, writte 1870

INSTRUCTIONS in TATTING, in EMBROIDERY, in CROCHET, in KNITTING and NETTING, in BERLIN WOOL WORK, in POINT LACE, and GUIPURE D'ART are prefixed to the pages devoted to these separate branches of needlework. The whole work is interspersed with coloured and other Patterns in Point Lace, Guipure d'Art, Tatting, Embroidery, and Designs for Monograms and Initials for marking handkerchiefs and table-linen. The quantity of materials required for each class of work is also given with every pattern.

The idea of combining a series of minute and exact instructions in fancy needlework with useful patterns was conceived some years ago by one whose life was devoted to the inculcation of the practical duties of woman's life, and to assisting her sex in their daily work of HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT and REFINEMENT.

Her great wish was that her BOOK OF NEEDLEWORK should be as valuable in its way to her Countrywomen as her work upon Household Management was useful in showing the best mode of providing for the diurnal wants of families. Other hands have brought to a conclusion her original plans. The best attainable workers have contributed to this volume. Only those who knew the extent of the late Mrs. Beeton's design, will miss, in the pages now before them, "the touch of a vanished hand."


[This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at]





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