a fabric face mask by holler & squall
A blogger offering a make-your-own-face-mask tutorial during a pandemic sounds like some kind of morbid April Fool’s joke. Imagine: One of the wealthiest countries in the world lacks face masks enough for medical professionals and so DIY mavens the country over start sewing their own and delivering them to hospitals in need. But here we are, with a PPE shortage of epic proportions and volunteers sewing masks from home. The reality is so shocking it sounds like a joke made in poor taste.
A homemade fabric face mask isn’t as effective as the medical-grade N95 respirator masks needed to protect folks working on the front-lines of the coronavirus pandemic, but they can serve as a stopgap measure. In some cases, medical staff have been using them as layers to help extend the life of disposable medical-grade masks. In other cases, fabric masks are being used by medical professionals working in less high-risk scenarios to conserve the limited supply of respirator masks for staff working directly with covid-19 patients.
If you’re not a medical professional and you have a personal supply of N95 respirator masks, the consensus is clear that medical-grade masks should be reserved for the medical professionals who need them. You can find a place to donate them here. If you’re able to sew masks yourself, you can join an existing effort to get those masks to folks in need.
a fabric face mask pattern from STATE
Patterns and places to donate:
+ If you have masks to give or if you’re a medical professional who needs masks yourself, #GetUsPPE is a good place to start. DonatePPE is another site connecting hospitals and healthcare professionals with their local communities.
+ If you have materials to donate, Mask Force is collecting materials and organizing volunteers.
+ In New York, my friend Gillette of Holler & Squall has been sewing masks (top image) for the past several days. She’s had luck with two different patterns: a simple rectangular mask with pleats and a slightly more complex fitted face mask that more closely resembles the N95 masks.
+ My friend Alexa Wilding shared news today of a joint effort between NYU and Jane Herships to produce face shields. To date they’ve made 132 shields and NYU has requested 200 more. They’re collecting donations for materials through Venmo, directly to @janeherships.
If you have additional resources or patterns of your own to share in the comments, please do.
The CDC is now officially recommending face masks for anyone going out in public, regardless of whether they’re symptomatic. In an effort to save medical-grade masks and respirators for healthcare workers, the CDC recommends that the public make or wear fabric face masks like the ones shown here. I recently made face masks for our family using a simple pattern from the New York Times, swapping in cotton ribbon that’s easily washable for the ties.
If you’re not able to make a mask yourself, For Days, is selling a pack of ten washable reusable masks (and donating many others to folks in need).