Sewing Tips

Corona Virus: Home-made Masks

4/2/2020 Update: The CDC has turned full circle, we are all wearing masks.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html

3/28/2020 Update: How fast things change! Two weeks ago people said masks were silly (the mayor of NYC also said it was fine to take the subway and go to Lunar New Year festivals…..). Not anymore!
https://nypost.com/2020/03/28/experts-say-face-masks-can-help-slow-covid

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3/26/2020 Update: fascinating article about mask-wearing. This helps explain why containment is successful in Asia, where masks are commonly worn to protect from air-pollution:
https://medium.com/@matthiassamwald/promoting-simple-do-it-yourself-masks-an-urgent-intervention-for-covid-19-mitigation-14da4100f429

And this:
https://medium.com/@Cancerwarrior/covid-19-why-we-should-all-wear-masks-there-is-new-scientific-rationale-280e08ceee71

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3/25/2020 Update: the science behind medical masks:
https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/03/23/face-masks-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/?fbclid=IwAR0tmVRFCKl66XRK0SVdmQNwNbUx492QQYWBTk1F5MePBo-JXf9cX-1cWbY

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3/22/2020 Update: where to get elastic:
https://7pinedesign.com/the-great-elastic-shortage

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March 19, 2020

Sewers are known for their charity efforts, coming to the rescue in times of need, and the outbreak of Covid19 virus is no different. There’s a ton of information online about whether or not handmade surgical masks provide any protection from airborne virus, or if they are a useless substitute for CDC-approved air-purifier N-95 respirator masks. However this week several hospitals have publicly asked the sewing community to make masks, not as a replacement for N-95 masks but rather as a supplement. They need them for:

  • doctors/nurses to cover the N-95 masks to extend their life
  • auxiliary staff so that the N-95 masks can be reserved for the physicians in direct contact with virus victims
  • patients who are immuno-compromised

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This is what else I know at the moment: (you can right-click on any of the blue links to open in a new window):

#1. The Centers for Disease Control has updated guidelines 3/17/2020 to allow “emergency” handmade masks :

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html

More information about this here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/change-us-law-will-make-millions-more-masks-available-doctors-nurses-white-house-says/?fbclid=IwAR0KX3DGCMth5uy4fzvJHtiTXI80O9klgS-1Oo0zCABX0mAzy_aN0K_qrxA

Still not convinced?
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2020/03/20/calling-all-people-who-sew-and-make-you-can-help-solve-2020-n95-type-mask-shortage/?fbclid=IwAR2JW3hqkUuNvm2oh9fASCYuavSd-R0CxHHZt6BnKDaRiI65_tkO_9AZSoE#7d2f8e174e41

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#2. While 3M and Honeywell are ramping up production, some hospitals are asking for donations of handmade masks. For example here is a memo from Pagosa Springs Medical Center in Colorado:


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10158105926454640&set=p.10158105926454640&type=3&theater

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#3. If you are interested in helping, contact your local hospital to find out if they are accepting hand-made masks. Just like donating gowns to NICUs, every hospital is different in their needs and requirements.

  • some want SHAPED masks to cover N95 respirators, others want PLEATED surgical mask types
  • some require pockets to insert filters, for medical personnel use, to prolong the life of standard supplies…others will accept masks without pockets to be used by support staff, or by patients
  • some require nose bridge wire, others do NOT want it
  • some want elastic straps, others want ties which can last longer through washing in extremely hot water
  • some want to add in their own elastic, cut to their own specs

Some hospitals have created their own sewing groups and only want masks made to their specifications using their patterns for example:(
https://www.phoebehealth.com/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus/mask-production )

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#4. Before you start making masks, be sure to wash your hands well, disinfect your scissors, cutting mat, and sewing machine with Lysol or Clorox, and make the first mask for yourself to wear before making masks for others. YOU MAY BE A CARRIER without symptoms. Most hospitals will wash donated masks before distribution however you can’t be too careful.

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So what kind of masks can you make? There are two basic designs: SHAPED masks stitched of curved pattern pieces, and PLEATED masks stitched of rectangles. Think of the shapes of respirators, and of surgical masks to get the idea:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 95-1024x470.png

N95 respirator: this is worn skin-tight, and can be covered with a SHAPED mask that is larger all-around to keep the respirator covered and clean.
Surgical mask: this is worn closely but not skin-tight, and can be covered with a pleated fabric mask to keep it covered and clean OR it can be inserted into the pocket of a fabric pleated mask OR it can be inserted into a pocket in a shaped mask.

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SHAPED MASKS:

This free pattern (and YouTube video) is requested by Moab Medical Center”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvKjgMKC7wc&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2idsSMYQOcz-uKVlYaDkZsaJcNBXLQIPbKgqjv4LNixec7uR3h4pCH_30

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For a similar style (shaped, with filter pocket) the ithinksew blog this pdf for free:
https://ithinksew.com/Products/Details/2781

(This is the downloadable pattern:
https://www.ithinksew.com/Products/Download/2781 , she also has a Youtube video showing how to make the mask and insert a homemade filter)


https://ithinksew.com/Products/Details/2781

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And a similar shaped pattern here (this one is being used by the group Relief Crafters of America):
https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/?fbclid=IwAR2NhujjkDElOWBAuA-7K_s0Bj8-NDBDxnTKQyuT5Sh9VoKY-a2zlSt3kv8




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The Phoebe Health system in Georiga is using the pattern in this link:
https://www.walb.com/2020/03/20/phoebe-employees-homemade-facemasks-get-national-attention/?fbclid=IwAR1vg6iFj-sCKGjFoi_fGu6DtGj6y8VLeXrWywBPYmKuanDzsmRJZBPt1wY

It is meant to cover respirators which MUST be discarded if stained.

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The “Olsen” mask is preferred by many hospitals. I first heard of it being used at Unity Point Health in Cedar Rapids Iowa:

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This pattern has good instructions as well:
https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Cloth-Face-Mask/?fbclid=IwAR0xoBd7JNzfthOcKig23CBb7IoL8QXd_-4JrVZZ5wwVCZ7TZNJb9x4_wSw

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Well written instructions and a nice size range on this one:
https://eunoiapatterns.com/product/better-together-mask/

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For people who prefer YouTube, please check out this video by MimiG (
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hpzLQTy-SA )

with links to this free pattern:

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One more shaped pattern:
https://freesewing.org/blog/facemask-frenzy/
https://freesewing.org/fu-facemask-freesewing.org.letter.pdf
https://freesewing.org/docs/patterns/fu/instructions/


https://freesewing.org/blog/facemask-frenzy/

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This tutorial has a cute method for using hairbands instead of elastics for a colorful touch:
https://www.lisascarolina.com/2019/02/fabric-face-masks-easy-but-fiddly-and.html?m=1

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PLEATED MASKS: Basically fabric interpretations of the disposable masks you see everyday in countries with severe air pollution:

Deaconess Hospital in Indiana is asking for these simple rectangular pleated masks ( https://www.courierpress.com/story/news/2020/03/18/coronavirus-deaconess-ask-public-provide-medical-face-masks/2865273001/ )


https://www.deaconess.com/SpecialPages/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR3PZzrmekR7zi4WbwDR7wTs7oQlxLVD4F4ewyboKYh-9uzrfA75-A2qa5s

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This is the mask they recommend:

https://www.deaconess.com/SpecialPages/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask/Documents-Mask/Mask-Information.pdf

The Deaconess website includes a link to this video, using 8×5″ rectangles for childrens sizes and 9×6″ rectangles for adults:

https://www.deaconess.com/SpecialPages/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask

Here’s another video link from The Turban Project.

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If you prefer a step-by-step photo tutorial, this is a good one from ButtonCounter (right-click to open in new window):
https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial

(This pattern is recommended by Stillwater Medical Foundation in Oklahoma)


https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/?fbclid=IwAR2SJu02Psij7xXNQmeq-DNxoEGocs2roN1Wa-OeFXZWzj6WgjNGsDBjTTQ

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Here’s a similar method, also quick and easy:
https://thestitchingscientist.com/2020/03/how-to-sew-a-face-mask.html

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Another tutorial and pattern:
https://katiekadiddlehopper.blogspot.com/2020/03/fabric-surgical-style-mask-free-pattern.html?fbclid=IwAR24fHTui_anutAv_GdhnmVmmFxomjDm6x0iI0tFz7hyATyZqYadisfP6zQ

This one has a version using all bias binding, however it doesn’t have a pocket for a filter.

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I hope that everyone is staying well.

Happy Sewing! Janet

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