Well then… things sure have changed in the last few weeks haven’t they? I think we all feel like we are suffering from whiplash with just how quickly things have changed. I mean really when in our every day live would I be discussing DIY Cloth Facemasks patterns… never. We went from planning March Break getaways to having a complete shutdown of schools, sports, restaurants and basically life as we know it. To say there is a lot going on would be an understatement, we have been thrust into a work from home if you can, kids are home all the time, and oh, don’t go out of your house unless you have to world. As we navigate this new space, and hopefully leading with kindness, we are seeing a need to support others in our community. One of those ways is to support our front line workers with fabric facemasks.
Cloth Surgical Mask
Now please take note I am not suggesting that fabric surgical masks replace medical grade equipment. However there are low risk situations where a cloth face mask may be used instead of a medical grade mask, which does leave more equipment available for those who need it most. There has also been an increase in demand from areas that don’t use as many face masks normally, that are now putting them in place. This puts a huge strain on the supply chain and we may find instances where masks are not available.
The Center for Disease control in the USA offers the following advice regarding homemade facemasks
“In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.”
And in the USA, it has been reported that healthcare centres are requesting cloth surgical masks
“New Hampshire’s largest hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical centre, encouraged volunteers to sew face masks for patients, visitors and staff so medical-grade protective equipment could be conserved for health care workers.” Toronto Star, March 21, 2020
While fabric surgical masks are not the perfect answer, and are not a substitution for an N95 mask, there may be situations where they are helpful and that is why I am providing this information. A quick look at the hashtag #GetMePPE shows just how serious the situation is.
DIY Cloth Facemask Patterns
First up HOW to make a DIY Cloth Facemask – there are a ton of patterns out there I have narrowed it down to several patterns and you can pick which one matches your skill set and preferences.
Basic fabric mask with elastics – Deaconess – Simple pattern, good for beginners, video tutorial included
“Fu” Basic Facemask with ties – 1 page PDF pattern included, and video tutorial
Where to Donate Homemade Cloth Facemasks
If you have a sewing machine, fabric, and some extra time then there are many groups that would love your support when it comes to providing cloth facemasks. There are a few ways to find out who is in need of masks. The Deaconess has an easy to use website where groups can submit requests and those who have masks to donate can see who is in need.
Deaconess directory for those who need masks – includes USA and Canada
There are also local facebook groups that are helping coordinate the effort – if you know of one leave a comment and I will add it to the list
Know of more resources, places in need, or groups to connect sewers who are making masks – let us know and we will keep this post updates as the situation progresses.