UPDATE June 22: I'm no longer actively making masks, but will make more if an urgent need should arise in B.C. If you need a mask in Victoria, BC, you can try the YYJ Mask Makers Facebook group - there are many local makers making and selling masks there.
I've been sewing and donating fabric masks to support public health measures in response to COVID-19 since March. To date, I've made over 360 masks and raised over $1,500 in donations to various organizations including:
- Black Visions Collective
- Our Place Society
- The Mustard Seed
- The Rainbow Kitchen
- Victoria Native Friendship Centre
- Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre
My masks went to:
- Support workers on Vancouver's downtown Eastside, along with many more masks made by Vancouver-based makers.
- BC Transit workers, along with other masks by local makers.
- Cool Aid Society through the physician-led Victoria Inner City COVID-19 Response Coalition (VICCR).
- Alert Bay along with many other island-made masks, face shields, sanitizer and other supplies through Project Draw Breath.
- Victoria Native Friendship Centre to support a broader Indigenous community support project.
- 260+ to various Victoria-based essential workers and general community.
1. Not for profit - My #1 goal is to help COVID-19 efforts. Masks I make will be donated free of charge to people who need them. Healthcare and essential service workers are priority.
If you're an individual requesting everyday-use masks, please consider making a donation to a local charity in exchange, if you are able. If you're not financially able, that's okay.
2. Informed - I am guided by information provided by BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Henry, and other health authorities including the CDC and WHO.
3.Responsible - Clear and honest information about fabric masks to help ensure people are using them safely. I am attaching a leaflet (below) to every mask I donate. Click on the image below to download a printable PDF if you want to use it too :).
Updated: April 14, 2020:
4. In this together - Everyone, even novice sewers, are welcome to join this effort. And, everyone has a right to do what they need to do in order to be safe and healthy.
If you're wanting to make masks, some information is below:
I am making two different styles of fabric masks:
FITTED STYLE mask: This pattern and these instructions from US clothing company State the Label. They worked with their local hospital in Athens, Georgia to design this mask to meet hospital workers’ needs.
This pattern offers a pocket to insert your own additional filter.
Modifcations: I'm adding a nose wire inside the top seam at the crest of the mask.
SURGICAL STYLE mask: This pattern from the Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This pattern also offers a pocket to insert your own additional filter.
Modifications: I'm cutting them a little larger than the pattern indicates to suit various face sizes. I'm also sewing a nose wire into the top seam at the crest of the mask.
You'll need a sewing machine, fabric, thread, nose wire, and some elastic cord or thin flat elastic (1/8" wide preferred) or alternative material for ties (twill tape, bias tape, or rolled cotton jersey material strips work well).
- State the Label calls for stretch jersey cotton for a versatile fit.
- The MGH calls for polyester exterior layer (dark colour) and 100% cotton interior layer (light colour) but notes that all cotton will also suffice.
- I have read conflicting information about what fabric works best for masks. I am using:
- High thread count cotton sheeting fabric for interior layer.
- Various fabrics I have on hand (mostly cotton) for the exterior layer.
- I am using a wire that is encased in fabric so it can be sewed directly onto the mask and withstands washing.
- Ensure you curl in/fold in the ends of the wire so they don't poke through.
- You can also sew a channel for a removable wire.
- Fabric Masks Best Practices leaflet (Updated: April 14, 2020) (3 per page) PDF for download - I'm attaching one to every mask I donate to help ensure people are using them safely.
- Victoria-based mask sewing Facebook group (public group)
- Vancouver-based mask sewing Facebook group (private group)
- Canada Sews