Saturday, April 04, 2020

Masks On

I've been sitting out all the face mask making drives so far. There was so much confusing information and so many medical professionals pooh-poohing home-sewn masks as being at all helpful. There are a lot of different types of patterns out there, and so many requests for one or another for different applications. Before I put in the time and effort, I wanted to make sure that the masks I made would actually be used.

From what I've gathered, having something on the bridge of the nose that will conform to the shape is most helpful. And elastic loops over the ears are easy to make but wear out quickly when the masks get frequently washed, so cloth ties are better as well as being more adjustable.

So now that the guidelines have been changed to recommend everyone wear a mask when going out, I'm going to practice and make some for our own use. My sister-in-law has asked for some. I think I'll also make some for my mom and dad as well.

According to the latest information, two layers of quilter's cotton, especially those very tightly woven batiks works the best to filter particles as small as the virus.

After our experience living in China, we got used to seeing a lot of people regularly wearing masks. Their society's experience with SARS and MERS made it essential for it to become the every day custom. So now when we go out here for our once weekly trip to the grocery store, it is good thing to finally see some people wearing masks.

* Wearing a mask tells other people that you are taking this whole Covid-19 thing seriously.

* You are wearing one not to keep yourself healthy but instead to keep others healthy.

* It also might help protect you, but it isn't a guarantee. At the very least it will help you remember not to touch your face.

Remember the whole thing with this particular virus is that if you have caught it, you may have no symptoms at all for up to two weeks! But during those two weeks, every time you are out and about, any cough, laugh or even talking can result in teeny droplets of saliva in which the virus is riding along going out into other people's noses, mouths or eyes. Then they have it, and you have no idea at all that you've been spreading it to others.

So wear a mask if you have to go out, keep other people safe from you, just in case.

Of course the key is to still stay home, ie, don't go out more often now, just because you have a mask.
There are no guarantees with this thing, it's an invisible enemy that we're all up against, and the more our fellow humans stay home or stay away away from each other, the faster we can go back to "normal".

Okay, so onto the mask making!

My super helpful husband made me the metal bits for the bridge of the nose shaper out of 1/4" aluminum flashing that we happened to have around  (?!?!? don't ask me I just live here).
We discussed how to not have the ends be sharp which would cut through fabric, thread or people's faces. At first we were going to go with duct tape, but I thought it might get messed up when getting washed over and over. He figured out how to round off the edges with some cutting and sanding. These feel just like the store-bought surgical mask nose bridges when they're sewn in, very flexible but still sturdy. Really makes the mask fit well.

Here's the first mask I tried making. Very easy directions and the pattern is well done. If you want a video tutorial, this is the one that goes with this pattern.

I thought it worked out pretty well, the curve in the center works well for the three nose/chin combinations in our household. I found that the elastic over the ears was irritating to my skin, but that might be just me and my sensitive skin.  I also think the length the pattern suggested for the elastic wasn't quite long enough.

So I tried making another one, this time with ties instead, and it was much more comfortable for me. Not as easy to put on, but not that much harder if you can tie a bow.

I liked the adjustable-ness of the ties instead of the fixed length elastic.
Also, this pattern has a bonus in that there is an opening to slip a filter inside, like a piece of vacuum cleaner bag, or a coffee filter for extra protection.
Tomorrow, I'm going to try out another pattern that is is a pleated rectangle instead of a curved center seam.


Jaye said...

Really good information overall. I have also been sitting out the mask making, but I need to make a few for the family, at least. It is good to hear that the pattern you are using works well. I'll give it a try. Send me some nose bridges if Marc has spare time and you have extras. ;-)

Julie Zaccone Stiller said...

Marc says he'll make you some nose bridges. How many do you think you'll need? I had a hard time getting going on the masks, and didn't do any for donations just for my family.

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