How to Make Fabric Face Masks Follow tutorial to adhere to CDC Guidelines

As healthcare workers have been left with personal protective equipment (PPE) in short supply due to the coronavirus pandemic, companies and individuals—from Matouk to Apple—have stepped in to manufacture masks, face shields, hospital gowns, and more. If, like many crafters we know, you're itching to find a way to help, look no further: The team at textile manufacturer Thibaut, whose employees have been making masks all week, are showing us how it's done. Grab some scrap fabric and get your sewing machine, or even your needle-and-thread, ready.

But first: Why are so many people making masks anyway?

The spread of the coronavirus—and ensuing cases of COVID-19—has decimated supplies of medical-grade masks, leaving many healthcare professionals resorting to re-wearing potentially contaminated masks several days in a row or even creating makeshift masks from T-shirts or bandanas. Additionally, due to new recommendations from the CDC, more and more civilians are wearing masks in public to prevent the spread and pickup of germs.

Do cloth masks protect against coronavirus?

No mask or shield has a 100% success rate at blocking the spread of the virus. The most effective masks are surgical-grade and N95 masks, but, given that those are in short -supply, many hospitals have urged their workers to use whatever is available. Cloth face coverings are a way of "bridging the gap," providing coverings that are not ideal but are better than nothing. The mask pattern Thibaut created features two layers of tight-knit cotton, which, while not on par with medical-grade masks, offers more protection than, say, a bandana.
Additionally, the CDC is currently recommending civilians wear cloth face coverings when in public.

What's the best way to use the mask?

The CDC recommends that face coverings: "fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape." For this reason, your best bet is to use pre-shrunk fabric and/or wash and dry the masks before donation or use.
When removing the mask, you should be careful that it doesn't touch your eyes as you take it off your face.

How do you care for a cloth mask?

Cloth masks should be laundered regularly—and you should wash your hands (for the recommended 20 seconds!) before putting on and after removing a face mask.

Should anyone not wear a mask?

"Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance," says the CDC, since the coverage may make breathing more difficult.

So how do I make my own fabric face mask?

Here's a step-by-step tutorial from the wonderful team at Thibaut.
  • Fabric
  • Ruler or yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread and some extra time!)
Stacy Senior Allan, marketing director at Thibaut, suggests including a note, which Thibaut is doing with each mask it donates. "When you’re giving to a hospital, it’s nice to put a little note in there to show your appreciation to the people on the front lines," she says. "When I do the drop-offs, these people say how great it is to know that people on the outside are thinking of them. It’s practical but it’s also something special."
Can't find a local place to donate your masks? Ship your masks to Stitchroom, which is facilitating donations.

How to Sew a Thibaut Tie Mask: Thibaut

Thank you Thibaut! Xx


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