Friday, March 20, 2020

DIY Face Mask to help stop spread of COVID19

As of this moment there are over 10000 cases of COVID-19 in the US.  We need to stop the spread and that is the only way we are going to get through this.  The time for action is now. The CDC and Hospitals around the country are asking for home sewers to make masks.  It's time for us to step up and help each other.  Even if you can't sew you might be able to get these masks into the right hands. Maybe you know someone who works in the medical field who knows who to contact, or you are first responder or know someone who is.  Ask your friends, someone will know someone else who can provide the answers you need to distribute these masks in your own community.

DISCLAIMER!! These masks are in no way a substitute for an N95 mask worn by medical providers. These masks WILL NOT provide complete protection against the COVID19 virus. However, they will reduce your exposure about 50% according to the Cambridge study* which is still better odds than no mask at all.  DO NOT wear this mask and consider yourself safe and protected.  This mask is no substitute for staying-home.  Preventing the spread is only possible by preventing contact with infected individuals.  This tutorial is provided as assistance for making masks as directed by local providers. 
I'm reposting here the link to the youtube video made by EasytoSew.  This is NOT MY CONTENT but I have added tips below that I think will help you sew these up.

The YouTube tutorial is fairly straightforward. 

  • You can make masks out of sheets, pillowcases, tight knit cotton t-shirts/fabric (BEST)  or quilting cottons.  For people local to Corvallis, we have the go ahead from Samaritan to make them as shown in the video with quilting cottons but use cotton knit if you have it.
  • DO NOT insert a tissue as shown in the video. Just make the mask.  
  • You can use a plastic coated twist tie, green coated floral wire, anything you can think of that won't rust in the wash.  If you use a piece of wire, i recommend bending over the ends of the wire back on themselves so that they don't poke through the fabric in the wash.  

After you have inserted the twist tie and sewn it down, flip the mask over so that the opening is face down.  
  • Make your pleats from the top down as follows.

Mark lines starting from the top edge at 1.5",every half inch until you get to 1.5" from the other side. You want 9 lines. These are your fold lines
Fold 3, 1/2" pleats and clip in place

  • When you go to fold the bias tape over to the back (as shown in the video), make sure that fold is small, about 1/4-3/8".  Otherwise you will have difficulty getting the safety pin through the folded bias binding.
The video calls for a 9 3/4" elastic.  Please avoid elastic containing latex. If the package says it contains rubber, then it's latex. If you don't know what your elastic is made of, make a mask with ties instead.  Some medical providers have indicated that they would prefer binding ties instead of elastic so that they fit all sizes of people.  They also hold up better in the harsh detergent and hot temperatures they will use to wash them.  Instructions to add 2, 2"x34" strips is shown in the video.  These strips do NOT need to be cut on the bias. 

For personal use, you can insert a piece of an unused vacuum cleaner bag as a filter, cut to size to fit into the pocket. THIS MASK WILL NOT PROVIDE 100% PROTECTION FROM COVID-19 but it will provide some protection.  The best defense is to stay home, practice social distancing and wash your hands.  

ETD For local people, the Corvallis Modern Quilt Guild is no longer coordinating mask pick-up/drop-off. We have handed this job over to the Corvallis Sewing Brigade Group on Facebook.  They are coordinating with Benton County for distribution of masks.  Please visit their Facebook page for drop-off locations.  They also have suggestions for mask patterns and best practices for making them.

Let's get sewing. 

Samaritan Health Request for masks with instructions
They request tight knit cotton fabric where possible.  Flannel lining is ok.  Please avoid elastics containing latex where possible.

Elastics that are latex free include, spandex fold-over elastic (google FOE or fold-over elastic, there are a ton of vendors selling this on etsy, I recommend the 3/8" or thinner if you can find it), another option is clear swimwear or lingerie elastic,1/4" (this is very strong and made of polyurethane, therefore latex free).  The swimwear elastic is also very comfortable to wear (shown below).  

*Davies, Anna & Thompson, Katy-Anne & Giri, Karthika & Kafatos, George & Walker, James & Bennett, Allan. (2013). Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness. 7. 413-418. 10.1017/dmp.2013.43. -- 

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