Q: What pattern are we using for our face masks?
A: For general use, we are recommending the pattern originally published by Deaconess Health, though some seamsters are using variant patterns. A how-to video is available at the link. This pattern has been deemed to be generally sufficient for incidental contact, but no mask alone is proof against infection. We will share any specific pattern required by our local healthcare facilities for fulfilling requests from those facilities.
Q: What fabric are we using?
A: The recommendation is 100% cotton for both sides. One side flannel and the other 100% cotton is acceptable but is reported to be very warm for the wearer, and will be more so it gets warmer. For further information, please review this article on the best materials to use for DIY-masks.
Q: Can I use wool, duck cloth, jeans, etc.?
A: These materials are not recommended.
Q: Why aren't we using vacuum cleaner bags, furnace filters, etc. for filters?
A: As this article on the best materials to use for DIY-masks shows, for breathability and general effectiveness, two layers of 100% cotton are most suitable for our purpose. Moreover, these masks are intended to be washable and reusable – most other filter material is not washable.
Q: Do I need to put "bendy metal" in the nose piece?
A: No, but you can if you want. But try it out first and make sure you can wear it for 12 hours and wash it.
Q: Do you have any tips or tricks?
A: Of course! Try ironing in your pleats instead of pinning (video). Also, cotton rips straight, so save your scissors and tear away! (A little snip helps start the rip.)
Q: What if I don't have elastic?
A: You can use bias tape, twill tape, shoelaces – anything that won't slip – to sew in tie laces. The easiest is to sew in a separate 15-inch tie at each corner, but some seamsters have figured out how to sew in a long tie that loops around the neck.
Q: I don't have any supplies how can I get fabric, elastic, etc.?
A: Submit a materials request by clicking on "Volunteers" above and filling out a Materials Request form.
Q: What about JOANN Fabrics and Crafts… aren’t they giving away supplies?
A: When last we checked, JOANN is not using the preferred pattern and fabrics. Plus JOANN requires you to drop the completed masks back off with them. They decide where to distribute them and since our local hospitals aren't taking them, they likely aren't staying local. Our focus is on supporting our local community. If this changes, we will update accordingly.
Q: My masks are done! How can I get them to central distribution?
A: Hooray and thank you! Visit the "Volunteer" tab above and submit a "Mask Pick-up" form. If you are dropping them off yourself, we will email you the address of the location once we receive your form (you'll only have to do this the first time - we're just protecting the addresses of our volunteers).
Q: Should I wash my masks before dropping them off?
A: Long answer - For large orders, a Distribution Coordinator washes the masks in hot water, plenty of detergent, and no fabric softener. The masks are then dried, and packaged directly from the dryer. For small orders, recipients are asked to wash them before use, directly from the bag and into the wash.
Short answer - you don't have to, but you can if you want!