UPDATE: The public health conversation about homemade fabric masks is shifting rapidly. I'll try to keep this page as up to date as possible as new information and direction emerges. The latest on fabric masks from:
- BC's Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry: https://globalnews.ca/news/6786043/bonnie-henry-coronavirus-mask/
- Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/non-medical-masks-covid-19-spread-1.5523321
- US Centre for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
I'm sewing fabric masks at home and donating them to help the COVID-19 efforts. If you have a sewing machine and can sew (novice sewers welcome!), and would like to join me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Not for profit - My #1 goal is to help COVID-19 efforts. Masks I make and coordinate will be donated free of charge to people who need them. Healthcare workers and others on front lines are priority. I'll accept donations from individuals who request everyday-use masks. Proceeds will go to Our Place Society.
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 the information below to every mask I donate (click the image below to download, or scroll down to "More Information for a link to a downloadable PDF):
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.
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.
Modifcations: I'm adding a nose wire inside the top seam at the crest of the mask and sewing an additional layer of interfacing onto the exterior layer of the mask for filtration.
This pattern offers a pocket to insert your own additional filter.
SURGICAL STYLE mask: This pattern from the Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They recently put out a call to Toronto area sewists saying they need 1,000 masks per day for hospital visitors, discharged patients, and Toronto east-end community members.
Modifications: I'm sewing an additional layer of non-woven interfacing onto the exterior layer of the mask for filtration. The photo instructions also don't indicate the nose wire, but I'm including it as well.
This pattern also offers a pocket to insert your own additional filter.
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 tight-weave cotton sheeting fabric for interior layer.
- Various fabrics I have on hand (mostly 100% cotton) for the exterior layer.
- Non-woven interfacing sewn in as additional filtration layer (100% washable).
- I have used twist ties, pipe-cleaners, and other wire I have on hand.
- TIP: fold over the ends of the wire so that the ends don't poke through the mask. Also, you'll need to ensure the wire is secured tightly to withstand washing. I have been covering the wire with twill tape to create a self-contained channel on the inside top edge of the mask.
WHERE WILL MASKS BE DONATED?
If your organization needs fabric masks, please email me at email@example.com. Healthcare and essential service workers are priority.
Donations to date:
- 40 masks (mine and friends') donated to support workers in Vancouver's downtown Eastside, along with many more masks made by Vancouver-based makers.
- 40 masks (mine and friends') in progress going to BC Transit workers, along with other masks by local makers.
- Various masks donated to friends and neighbours by request.
- Fabric Masks Best Practices leaflet (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)
Thanks in advance for reading and sharing this page!
- Amy, Margie Bella Textile