Need a mask? Many states have required the use of face masks when out in public spaces so we put together all the info we have in one convenient post!
There are different kinds of face masks and by now everyone knows what an N95 or surgical mask is. Due to the lack of availability, these are for healthcare workers only.
For personal use, you can buy a mask from us HERE (we donate a mask for every mask purchased) or there are plenty of free mask ideas and patterns available. We complied a list below of our favorites depending on your motivation and skill level.
First, here are the CDC guidelines about the use of masks/face coverings:
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
Cloth face coverings should—
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?
Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?
Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing
BEST FACE MASK PATTERNS AVAILABLE ONLINE
Here are a few of our favorite patterns found online:
Fu Face Mask (from freesewing.org)
This pattern is the one I have been using because of the fit that contours to your face. The instructions are straightforward but you will need a sewing machine and basic sewing skills.
For hospital donations, I use size MEDIUM and bias tape for the straps.
For personal use, I use size MEDIUM and 6-1/2 inch elastic.
Here is a link to the pattern, instructions and video: FU FACE MASK
SIMPLE SEWN MASK (from CDC website)
1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.
2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down.
3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.
4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.
NO SEW FACE COVERING (from CDC Website)
This no-sew t-shirt face covering is simple and easy and found on the CDC website
FACE MASK WITH FILTER POCKET
Many people have been looking for masks with a pocket to add a simple filter -paper coffee filters, HEPA vacuum bags, etc. For vacuum bags, \be careful which ones you use. Choose the ones made with polypropylene not fiberglass. Quick tip: reusable grocery bags are made of polypropylene so you can cut them up to use as your filter! Here is a free pattern to make a mask with a filter pocket.
We have been donating masks and just started selling masks to offset the costs to donate and ship them. If you are making extra masks, several organizations have stepped up as information hubs to see where and what is needed in your area.
DEACONESS Healthcare was one of the first I saw that set up a link by state with the ability to request and donate masks. Visit Deaconess HERE
MASKS NOW COALITION is a facebook page that is coordinating the donation and requests for masks. Visit their page HERE
Be well and safe everyone!
Who wants to hear a story? (It's long but has a happy ending)
Late last Monday, I received a call from a friend and local ER doctor, Dr. Garrett Sutter. Like hospitals around the country, his ER staff was running out of gowns to treat Covid19 patients, and asked for help creating makeshift isolation gowns.
After expressing the urgency of the situation, Dr. Sutter dropped off a disposable gown for me to understand what they needed. Together with my family, we brainstormed how to make this. Friends dropped off rolls of building paper (Tyvek) we thought we could use. At 10pm that night, I dropped off two samples: one made from Tyvek and one from lightweight muslin fabric.
From making these two samples, we knew that Tyvek was too noisy and not flexible enough; muslin too thin. We thought garbage bags would be a good option but didn’t want the plastic waste. Heavyweight fabric was the best option: expensive but durable enough to be sterilized and reused over and over again. After that, the design came together quickly and I sewed a single makeshift gown sample.
Dr. Sutter took the samples the next morning to the hospital and consulted with admin, doctors, and ICU nurses. After their input & recommendations, we revised our pattern. With an approved pattern in hand, they now wanted hundreds of gowns made as soon as possible. What?
I have a small sewing studio for The Patchwork Bear, but we aren’t able to produce hundreds of gowns- we make memory bears! It was a challenge to find a cut/sew manufacturer that wasn’t closed due to the coronavirus pandemic– until I found Switlik Survival Products. As a military contractor, they were deemed essential and more importantly, OPEN! They agreed to help sew the gowns with us. Yay!
Now all we needed were the fabric & materials, in stock and available for immediate delivery. Large fabric companies were quoting 6-8 weeks before we could get the fabric. That would be too late.
After more phone calls and a bit of luck, I found a few small NJ businesses who could supply our materials– and deliver them quickly.
I'm so excited to share that thanks to all these local businesses, today– just 7 days after the ER staff tried on our first sample gown, we will be able to deliver the first batch of isolation gowns to the hospital and expect to produce hundreds more that are needed in the coming weeks!
Thanks for taking the time to read my little story. Please support small businesses- we need you now more than ever. xo- Jen Cura, The Patchwork Bear
Calling all crafters, fabric hoarders and anyone with a sewing machine: Sew facemasks for your community
For all crafters, fabric hoarders and anyone with a sewing machine: Many hospitals are in need of facemasks.
Due to the shortage of surgical and N95 respirator masks, hospitals and clinics are asking for donations of handmade facemasks. These don’t replace the N95 ones but can be used throughout the hospital by non ER staffers or over N95 masks to extend their use.
If your local hospital is not accepting or in need of facemasks, consider making a few and donating them to your local EMS, post office or grocery store. While they may not be the best option in filtering out coronavirus, they are still helpful. Get the whole family involved for a productive project and time well spent. We spent the morning making a few and I even got my husband to cut patterns and my kids to make the straps!
Here's a great link to a simple pattern with instructions ando tutorial:
Feel free to reach out or comment if you have any questions about making these. Stay well everyone!
Due to the current situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to implement a few changes to normal procedures when working with your orders. Our priority is the safety & welfare of ourselves, our families and our customers.
- First, we are still taking online orders. Being stuck at home is the perfect time to clear out your closets and set aside clothes for us to make into keepsakes for you BUT it is uncertain how long the virus can last on clothing. Suggestions are anything between a few hours to a few days, so for the foreseeable future the following steps will be in place:
- We will not be accepting in-studio appointments for clothing drop off or order consultations.
- Please try to wash & dry your clothes in the hottest temperature setting or sanitize them before sending them off to us. (Lysol makes a laundry additive that safely sanitizes colored clothes even in cold water)
- Write your ORDER NUMBER clearly on the outside of the shipping box. As an added precaution, we will not be opening packages for at least 3-4 days from when we receive them. Be assured that all packages will be received, signed for and stored safely indoors until we open them. We will continue to update you via email when packages arrive safely.
- If you are displaying cold/flu symptoms or are in self-quarantine when packaging your clothes to send to us, please let us know.
Be assured our sewing and work spaces are sanitized regularly and in between separate orders. At this time, we are still working on your orders but expect delays due to our personal, local and state limitations. Thankfully to date, no one in the studio has tested positive for COVID-19 or experienced any symptoms but to allow for the care of our families, our little team is even smaller.
Things have been changing so quickly and we will keep you updated through our Facebook and Instagram pages. As always, we THANK YOU for your support and we will get through this together!
Stay safe and healthy everyone.
xo- Jen Cura and all of us at The Patchwork Bear