In today’s post: Learn how to make a face mask and find free face mask patterns so you can donate masks to health care providers with no other options. #millionmaskmayday
About a month ago my sister recommended I share a free face mask pattern on my blog for people who want to sew homemade masks. While I thought it was a good idea, I decided not to create my own pattern because I cannot guarantee the effectiveness of a homemade mask and I did not want to indicate in any way that homemade face masks can replace medical grade protection. However, due to extreme shortages of N-95 masks, some hospitals have begun asking for volunteers to sew fabric masks.
I HATE the idea that the health care professionals (and first responders) who are already sacrificing so much for us may not have the protection that they need. I wanted to figure out how I can help, and I decided to compile what I’ve learned into a post so you can help too! In this post you will find:
PLEASE READ: Due to some comments I need to clarify here that I am not promoting use of fabric masks as a *good* alternative to medical grade masks. I am not making any claims as to the effectiveness of the homemade masks. I am not trying to say medical professionals should not have or do not deserve to have N95s. Instead, I am simply sharing the fact that some hospitals, care centers, etc., have asked for these masks to be donating so they can use them as a last resort due to the extreme shortage of N95s right now. These masks may be used in lower risk situations so N95s can be conserved during this extreme shortage. Please see the info from the CDC below and then contact your local health care institutions OR one of the organization listed below if you would like to help.
Should I make a homemade face mask? What does the CDC say?
Homemade face masks should never be considered a better or comparable option to medical masks such as the N95. However, due to mask shortages around the country, the CDC has issued new guidance:
In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP [health care professionals] might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. link to source
The CDC cautions that the effectiveness of homemade masks is not completely known; however it appears that hospitals, care centers, first responders, etc., are interested in having whatever protection a homemade face mask provides when other options are not available. A movement has begun, with different organizations working to coordinate volunteers who will make face masks at home to donate to those who need them most.
Organizations coordinating volunteers to make face masks
I was alerted to the movement to start sewing face masks by Days for Girls. This is a well respected nonprofit organization that coordinates volunteers who sew reusable hygiene kits for girls that don’t have access to disposable items. Days for Girls has mobilized to begin making fabric face masks as well. If you register with them they will email you a couple of patterns you may use, and then will follow up with information about where to send the masks you make.
When sewing a homemade face mask, please use a good quality tightly woven cotton, such as a quilting cotton. Also please be sure to wash and dry your fabric on hot/high before you cut out pieces and begin sewing.
There are lots of face mask patterns online, but these are the ones I have seen hospitals and the organizations linking to. If you work through an organization, check to see if they direct you to a specific pattern. If you will be donating locally you can see if the organization you’d like to donate to has a preferred mask pattern. If not, you can use one of the patterns below:
This face mask pattern was designed by the Turban Project and has been shared by Deaconess Health Systems as part of their plea for people to start sewing masks. This mask is extremely easy to sew – it starts with a rectangle of fabric that is pleated to mimic a surgical mask and uses elastic that goes around the ears. At the link you’ll find a video showing you how to make it. I’ve already made a few of these and if you have some sewing experience you’ll likely be able to make each one in about 15 minutes.
This mask is fairly similar to the Deaconess mask and is also quite simple to make. This one is good if you prefer a written tutorial with LOTS of example photos to a video.
This is another simple mask pattern. This one doesn’t have pleats, but instead is curved to give good face coverage. The Fu Face Mask uses ribbon for ties, so it may be a good option if you are having trouble finding elastic. Printable pattern PLUS video instructions.
This face mask was designed by Jessica Nandino and shared on Instructables. It has pleats in front and ties that go around the head on top and the neck on the bottom. This pattern is a little more time consuming to make because of how the ties are attached but also appears to offer a good, comfortable fit. It’s also designed to fit over an N95 mask and possibly extend the life of those.
This mask pattern is available in 4 sizes and actually uses elastic hair ties to go over the ears. Instead of pleats it uses a contoured fit over the nose.
I hope and pray that manufacturers are able to produce the medical grade face masks our health care professionals need! In the meantime, sewing homemade face masks for them to use as a last resort is one small thing I can do to help during this difficult time.
Let me know if you end up sewing some too – I’d love to see us work together to make a difference!
This content was originally published here.