Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Helpful Tips for Making Your Own Corona Mask

I can’t make you guys do anything, but I am literally begging you to listen to us healthcare workers and take this seriously.” ~Aleixandrea Macias, Nurse

On today’s Full Pink Super Moon, this face greeted me on my Facebook newsfeed.

Macias’ tear-stained, glistening face represents the face of thousands of medical heroes struggling with the overwhelm and the onslaught of COVID-19. At a glance, it tells a  partial story of the pain, fear, suffering, and exhaustion that she and her colleagues experience every day at work. 

Do you see the worn, almost-wound-like area on her nose? Imagine feeling this wear and tear on your body and soul. It's truly a badge of courage.

She and all medical heroes are the reason the SewingArmy is making masks!

If your heart is open and you’re moved to inspired action here’s information I’ve gathered and learned from two weeks of mask-making with my mom—a fearless sHero in her own right who at 88-years-young is working with her 69-year-old Singer sewing machine to help.

Here are 5 questions to focus your loving heart and hands:

The most important question to ask before starting is 

There are six major kinds of masks with different levels of protection and degrees of sewing skill (see image below). Our pocket mask is made for family, friends, and surgical nurses who add a medical (or other filter material) inside the pocket.

* My Tampa Bay group is the Corona Masks for Medical Heroes (4.6K+ members from around the USA and globe; coordinates requests, distribution, and offers everything about sewing masks.) To request masks email needmasks@mail.com. Please be patient and put your address and validate your needs. Shipping to a medical/ care facility or a work badge can validate the need. First-come, first-serve basis.

* Million Mask Challenge Group; information is easy to access, i.e., Beginners, Fabric, Tips, etc. You can also request masks from the group.

Get Us PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is the largest nationwide database for connecting folks who are making and donating masks to people in need

* Check MeetUp and social media for a local group.

Mom is an expert seamstress who, for decades, sewed lined drapes, tablecloths, and dresses for every benchmark in my life, including a wedding dress. I’m an enthusiastic assistant who cuts, pins, and irons whatever is needed. 

Know that there’s a pattern available for every skill level. So be bold and sew one mask. If that doesn’t work, sew another type! Most of all, don’t give up. People’s lives are in the balance. That’s why it’s crucial to join a mask-making group--you’re not alone.

After watching three videos and trying several patterns, mom and I use this video tutorial to make a cloth pocket mask which is more effective than wearing only a 2-sided cotton mask or bandana; you can add a medical filter, dishtowel fabric and/or paper towels folded to size for more added protection.

Everything and almost anything is being used for masks since the CDC suggested that everyone wear a mask when outside the home--bandanas, tee-shirts, leggings, plastic bags, and more!

There are different degrees of protection offered by different fabrics, so please read  Making Your Own Mask? Some Fabrics Work Better Than Others, Study Finds. This is a helpful guide to consider before buying yards of fabric or making dozens of masks.
Love from Momma Clare with our first batch of masks made for St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Pete, FL
Our pocket mask size is two pieces of cotton fabric, 8” wide and 9” long (for 3 pleats); we also use 1” wide x 7” long strips of bathing suit liner for the ear loops. It’s light, soft, stretchy, and can handle multiple washes! We tried wearing a mask with the recommended 1/4” elastic and promptly took it off after only 20 minutes. That’s us.

Nurses, family, and friends report that the pocket mask is soft on the face and ears--a must when you’re wearing it for a long time.

The cloth mask provides protection for the filter so that it can be used multiple times; otherwise, CDC and some hospital guidelines suggest tossing away the paper mask as often as every 20-30 minutes, or at the end of the day.

Cleaning the paper filter mask- The coronavirus doesn’t like heat.
 "70 C / 158 F heating in a kitchen-type of oven for 30 min, or hot water vapor from boiling water for 10 mins., are additional effective decontamination methods." -Annals of Occupational Hygiene 

While mom and I think about the group or individuals while we’re sewing, we wrap up with this prayer before sending them out:

Mask up! Be well, stay well, and stay home!

With love to you and all masketeers.
My mom Clare and I modeling the first masks that we made three weeks ago.

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  1. Bless you both. What a positive inspiring post. I enjoyed every bit of it. Your kind hearts show the world so much in the beautiful short post that is yet so very powerful, filled with loving kindness, ease and grace. Thank you for all you do and please thank your mom as well. Love, Heather

    1. Awww, many thanks for your kind worrds. We're part of a Sewing Army that makes us proud to be of service. I will share this with mom who is not on SM. Hugs xo

  2. Our community is also busy making masks for all our emergency and essential care workers. My church family members are delivering them especially to nursing homes where the risk is so high. Bless all the helpers.

    1. What a fabulous community! Yes, bless all the helpers! Stay safe, stay home!

    2. You and your mom are such inspirations......I no longer have a sewing machine........but my suegra sews and she's been making simple masks since the begining of our lock down two months ago... she's made simple masks tho with 3 layers....but I wanted her to make some like yours as I purchased some 500 filters in Jan which have finally arrived here.........I would like to give a couple of masks and some filters to local nurses and doctors and a couple of dentists...... and I've now shared your video with them so they can make the more complex pleated with pocket masks......thanks so much for helping me make a small difference in central america...........;)


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