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SHORTAGE OF MASKS

SHORTAGE OF MASKS

Face mask on a layflat on white background. Two face masks left face mask is bright pink and the right face mask is green.


UPDATE: Masks are a great way to help in the midst of this global pandemic. We all need to be wearing masks when going on essential errands or outside, both to protect our essential workers and the most vulnerable, and to help de-stigmatize the wearing of masks. Below we have collected many different patterns and resources for sewing masks. Please keep in mind that if you are making masks for medical professionals, hospitals may have specific guidelines so please do your own research on what local organizations are calling for. We’ve shared this mask pattern as a video tutorial available on our IGTV channel. No face uncovered!


Amber wearing a green face mask.  Image is up close to showcase face mask.  Amber is wearing a black tshirt with her blonde hair in a bun.

RESOURCES & PATTERN LINKS
  1. Make a Medical Style Mask video tutorial by Emily Platzer of BLDG61 (Boulder Public Library's Makers' Space) This is the tutorial we shared on our IGTV recently.
  2. Colorado Mask Project includes resources and tutorial videos and pattern downloads. Goal of making 5 million masks by April 15th for civilians to wear in public
  3. UC Berkeley School of Public Health Database of all hospitals in the US and the current mask needs and specific pattern requested.
  4. Manus Supply are looking for volunteers to sew masks, and will ship necessary supplies to home sewers. Your efforts will go to help support medical professionals and volunteers in CA, CO AND LA.
  5. Find The Masks #findthemasks This is a website you can find by state what they are accepting, what their requests are this is useful across the board.  There website is part of the getusppe.org coalition.  #GetUsPPE
  6. Denver Mask Task Force FB group to join if you want to support this movement. They have an excel sheet of updated patterns, volunteer sewers, in need of masks and an entire spreadsheet.
  7. 1 Million Masks pattern and resources
  8. Masks For Heroes pattern and database of facilities that need masks.
  9. We Need Masks You can register a healthcare facility.  They have mask instructions and have an updated system for locations and what type of mask they are in need of.
  10. Denver St. Joseph Hospital Pattern This pattern has been developed with St. Joseph Hospital in Denver to meet their medical requirements and staff needs. As of 3/22/20 per the Denver Task Mask Force page they do not need anymore masks but this is great pattern resource.
  11. Sew The Curve Flat This link has 3 patterns and one pattern is "designed to work over N95 Mask, potentially extending the lifespan".
  12. Craft Passion The second half of the pattern has a version with a pocket in which an insert can be added as a filter.  They also have patterns for kids too!
  13. Make Face Masks tutorial and video recommended by the Belgian Federal Public Service for Public Health.
  14. Sweet Red Poppy video tutorial.
  15. Gather Here video tutorial
  16. Sew to Save pattern with video tutorial and distribution/drop off info
  17. Fu Face Mask Pattern by freesewing.org
  18. A.B. Mask designed by a nurse for a nurse, fabric mask and N95 cover sewing pattern.


A friend and medical professional, Margaret Parsons, MD, reached out to us with information to share. From Maggie: 


"Makers and Crafters can help with the shortage of surgical masks!
Sewn masks have not been scientifically tested, but they certainly can provide some level of protection for individuals and health care workers as we face a serious shortage of regular surgical masks. They could be particularly valuable for lower risk health care providers, and since are washable, provide a good economic, reusable alternative as well.

There is information below on materials and construction.

Fabric Choice and Preparation: It is important to use a tightly woven fabric.
Quilters and Sewers know their high-quality quilting cottons vs. less tight woven fabric.  Think of weight like Kona Quilting Cotton as a gauge. Also, it is suggested to use a cotton duck, canvas or similar weight for the outer layer, and the cotton fabric on inner layer (would need a tweak on some patterns to use two fabrics). Just allow an extra 1⁄2 inch or so as cut fabric pieces to allow for the two fabrics variation and additional seam.
• It is important to not use a polyester, stretchy, or textured fabric.
• If using just cotton quilting type fabric, please consider one of the patterns that allows for a filter of some sort. A filter might be a piece of HEPA filter (like for
vacuums) that can be cut to fit the pocket! Or it might be a not-too-stiff piece of a non-woven such as light-medium interfacing, another layer of fabric, or a piece of surgical fabric (like surgical gowns are made of). Or get creative and adapt a
pattern to have an optional filter pocket.
• If your supplies/skill-level are at just the cotton basic mask, that is OK.
• Pre-washing of fabric in HOT water is suggested so they won’t shrink in hospital laundry.

Constructing the Mask Ties: Make sure they are long enough, and that they will tie securely.
• Some patterns use elastic loops, which can fit nicely over ears, but may be less an option as stores are out/restocking. Elastic loops can be knot-tied rather than sewn and OK to leave not tucked into the mask channel. Allows for adjusting size.
• Bias tape can make great ties. Or you can make your own, using bias tape as the ideal. If you can bias cut, it curves better as the mask wraps around face, but straight cut is OK. It is important to have the mask fit snuggly to be protective covering nose, and mouth/chin areas. You may need to adapt patterns based on supplies available.
• Be sure what you create does not have ties that fray easily.
Nose shaping: Most surgical masks have a flexible piece of metal along the top edge to fit over the nose.
• A 4-1⁄2 inch length of craft pipe cleaner sewn into middle of the top edge of the mask can work very well. Just push it up against the top seam/edge and carefully do a top stitch along the edge against the pipe cleaner, being careful not to hit it with your sewing machine needle. If pipe cleaners are not available, that’s ok, it’s just a very nice addition if you can. This was tested on different patterns and
worked very well."
 
Thanks Maggie for sharing this info with us!
 

Jaime wearing a pink face mask with bright pink ties standing in front of a white wall.


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