We have not been posting regularly for the last year, but we will be prioritizing posting again now.
Numerous workrooms have contacted us to ask questions about making face masks – for medical professionals primarily. (According to CDC Guidelines, if you are not a medical professional or if you are not already infected, social distancing is preferable to wearing a face mask. In any case, it is the medical professionals who really need and still cannot get face masks.)
In making those masks, there are two major considerations so that we produce masks that do NOT do more harm than good:
- – The seals everywhere are adjustable and as tight as possible; and
- – The fabric used will stop at least a goodly percentage most of the virus from passing through. The coronavirus is 120NM in diameter. A NM is one-billionth of a meter. The 95 in the N95 masks means that the fabric prevents 95% of the virus from passing through.
There is a Million Mask project to recruit home sewers to make masks from kits provided by the Provident Health System. Although Providence says the fabric is “not available commercially,” they most likely mean not available retail.
An epidemiologist with King County Health of Washington State believes that Providence undertook this project because they could not get N95 masks for front line medical workers and because these masks were better than nothing – meaning they had fabric that would stop a majority of the virus from passing through even if the seals were not optimal.
N95 masks – still largely unavailable because they’re sold out. 3M, the producer is doing all they can.
The Million Mask Challenge project by the Providence Health System has blueprints for making fabric facemasks and a video on sewing the kits using the material they mail out.
If you want to receive information on fabric and other sources of materials, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or stay tuned as we’ll be writing another post about this topic soon.
If you choose to make these masks or shields, and you can use safe materials, that is preferable, of course – such as using GOTS certified for the fabric and GOLS certified or Oeko-Tex 100 certified foam strips for the foam – but we are dispensing with material safety considerations because of the extremely short timeline we are all under.
Leigh Anne and Patty