Making Masks, Making Do

And hoping to make a difference.

Like so many other quilters, crafters, and those who sew, I am making face masks, initially for close friends and family, then to meet the growing need for first responders who may not have access much longer to official PPE (personal protective equipment).

After looking over several tutorials this week and trying a couple, I settled on the pattern you see above. It was designed by Jessica Nandino, an emergency room nurse, who posted her tutorial here.

She points out that research on the efficacy of fabric masks is conflicting and stresses that nothing homemade will ever compare to medical grade PPE. These masks are not sterile and they’re not medical grade. But they’re better than nothing. The fact that our first responders will most likely be wearing homemade masks because of a shortage of PPE is downright scary in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notice that the mask above has nose and chin darts, and it covers the entire face. The top straps go over the ears and tie in back. The lower ties go under the ears and are tied at the back of the neck. It’s designed to fit in two ways: first, directly over the face, and second, over an N95 respirator as a way to provide a protective barrier in hopes of extending the lifetime of the respirator.

Here’s my first batch:

Although mask-making is a sobering enterprise, I can find some enjoyment in choosing complementary fabrics from my stash for the inside and outside of each mask:

Jessica’s pattern calls for the straps to be made from strips of fabric. I thought I might be able to make masks faster by using commercially made double-fold bias tape I already had on hand. I tried both 1/2″-wide tape (on the pink mask in the middle) and 1/4″-wide tape (the remaining masks). Both sizes work but the half-inch wide tape seems bulky to me and the quarter-inch wide tape was difficult to work with in terms of fully encasing the raw edges of the mask in the fold.

I’m feeling a little bit like Goldilocks. Will 3/8″-inch wide (homemade) be just the right size? I’ll give it a try today and let you know.




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5 Responses to Making Masks, Making Do

  1. Reigh says:

    Glad you have taken this on, Dawn! It’s a great project during the stay at home period. You’re a sweetheart — keep calm and stitch on!

  2. Diane says:

    Nubs, you are the very best – a wonderful application of your talents and, as a bonus, a way to work down that fabric stash! 😉

  3. Pam Bowersox says:

    Thanks so much for posting your mask project. I’ll look forward to learning about the modifications you’re making to perfect the process. We’re all in this together trying to make a difference!

  4. Margaret says:

    I will eagerly look forward to the results of tomorrow’s experiment. Your blog was soooo timely – I’ve been making a different style mask for my DIL, and she told me tonight that she wanted a mask that could go over another (I think that must mean the hospital found some N95PPE!!!). I opened your blog to read today’s post and there was the answer. Thank you!!

  5. Charlotte says:

    I’m making masks, also, but only for friends and family….
    Yours are so nice!

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