Making facemasks

Posted by ihatediabetes @ihatediabetes, Mar 25, 2020

Hi everyone, I am spending time learning to sew and making facemasks for the hospitals. They asked for volunteers to make these due to shortage. I spent several days trying to hand-sew masks. It was so time consuming. So I bought a $99 sewing machine from Walmart and have been learning to use it by making facemasks. I still can't reload a bobbin so I bought preloaded bobbins. I haven't sewed since I was in home economics class in 8th grade. I plan to donate these 11 facemasks tomorrow at a local hospital. They have a drive-through lane for donations.

@sueinmn

Latest face mask report from South Texas – When last I wrote, our small group had made 50 masks, and were running low on supplies. Last week, 3 chance connections sent us back into production. Since then, we had made and given away another 30 or more to people who live in our community because mask wearing in public is mandatory here, and sent some to friends and relatives around the country.

The latest story:
First, the local quilt Mom & Pop shop was allowed to operate as long as nobody else entered the store, so I was able to place a phone order for curbside pickup of an assortment of fabric.

Second, a "friend of a friend" posted that she knew someone willing to donate quantities of lingerie elastic for mask making and we quickly said "Yes, please!" That led to a large box of elastic being brought to my patio to be wound into hanks, sorted and delivered to 4 groups of sewers. We entertained several workers for a couple of hours – with neighbors watching from afar – as we untangled, cut, wound and batched…

Third, the school district where my summer home is located reported in a community involvement meeting that they had no masks for the workers providing care to the children of essential workers, kids coming to them every day after being exposed to medical, first responder, and retail worker parents at home.
So we went back into the mask-making business Friday and Saturday, with "Sue's Sweat Shop" (my brother's name for it) in full-fledged operation on my patio. At the end of the day, we had (again) depleted our fabric supply – we're down to hand-sized scraps. We have now made over 150 masks, and will be sending 50 of them out tomorrow to the first school that responded. They will be accompanied by wearing, removal and washing instructions.

It feels wonderful to be able to do something productive in this stressful time. We know homemade masks aren't perfect, but we worked hard on a design that it quick to make, easy to fit to a variety of faces, sturdy, and relatively comfortable to wear. We have refined the design to include a nose wire, open top for inserting a filter, and around-the head elastic (all-day wearers almost all find the ear loops too uncomfortable for full-time wear.)

Has anyone else found willing takers for masks? Where are you finding supplies?

Our factory is closing now as we prepare to return to our distant homes. It has been such a great experience that we will undoubtedly be looking for a new service project for next winter. And I have no doubt that I will be a "factory of one" producing more masks from my abundant supply of fabric when I get home.
Sue in MN

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@sueinmn, I so appreciate what you and others are doing to make and supply those very needed and much in demand masks. Thank you!

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Thank you for what you're doing to help healthcare workers. I'm a beginner sewer also and can relate to "nightmare " projects that I took on. I'll try your pattern, thanks.

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I have a question to anyone making masks. What are you using for a metal nosepiece, if you're using one? Thanks.

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@lesflowers

I have a question to anyone making masks. What are you using for a metal nosepiece, if you're using one? Thanks.

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@lesflowers I am not using a nosepiece in the masks I make.
Welcome to Mayo Connect. How did you find us?
Ginger

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@lesflowers

I have a question to anyone making masks. What are you using for a metal nosepiece, if you're using one? Thanks.

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@lesflowers Hi, for occasional users, we don't use a noespiece.
For daily users, we use real pipecleaners from a smoke shop, made of white cotton type chenille with aluminum wires. They are shorter than the craft ones, and we bend the ends over on themselves about 1/2" to avoid poking the face. My cousin was using copper electrical wire stripped of its insulation and bent on the ends – fine gauge wored best.
Wire reinforced masks must be handwashed and air dried.
Also, for daily users, we leave the top open so a filter can be inserted if desired.
Sue

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@becsbuddy

@colleenyoung I’ve been doing a lot of research on the masks. What I have found out is that our home made masks won’t prevent the virus, but they can help with social isolation. Signals people to stay 6’ away. Also, reminds you not to touch your face. It is impossible to find the right filters for the “to-code” masks, anyway.

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I cannot even sew a button on properly. Don't laugh, it's true! I end up with the thread knotting, breaking, getting blood on what I'm trying to put the button on–OH, I am a mess. No way could I make a mask! Anyway, I did read this: you can take a new filter for a sweeper–one which is for HVAC–anyway, and sew this into the mask. I can't remember now. I have a problem with my memory! Perhaps you may research this??? God bless you! May we all stay sane and well during this time of isolation! I have hibernated since December. I was ill then this happened. I am very happy to have a computer. It's old but it works! I ordered it from QVC. Can you believe that and it is several years old.

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