Lots of people are doing this as there is finally some consensus on masks in this time of pandemic. A month or so ago when we were told to start social distancing, I was musing about what I could do to make a constructive effort to see us through this time. Like most people the uncertainty was a negative force which was weighing on my mind.
In a previous life I was a hospital lab technician where we did tests to help doctors diagnose people’s ailments. While I’m no immunologist or virologist, I couldn’t shake the knowledge that respiratory illnesses are often airborne and that despite people saying masks were useless in preventing the spread, I couldn’t see how this could be the case. Maybe not as effective as a medical grade N95 mask, but I’m sticking with a simplistic but compelling ‘a barrier is better than no barrier’ mantra in intercepting airborne particles or droplets as we now know is pertinent. In addition, anything that stops you touching your face has to also reduce opportunities for spreading germs. So despite many people saying masks were not helpful, I decided to go ahead for my own peace of mind.
IMO masks serve a psychological purpose too; they remind us and others about distancing as well as helping us and others feel safe. I feel that part of managing our welfare during the pandemic is as much about our perception of risk as well the actual risk which is real enough.
I saw a recommendation for Trend Patterns mask and there was also information here on the efficacy of various materials as filters.
So I decided to make masks for me and him for when we had to go out amongst folk e.g. shopping.
My first effort was using the Trend Patterns version, it’s made from cotton that came from Minervatdotcom a couple of years ago, and lined with fusible interfacing to act as a filter.
The mask came together easily, was breathable and fit me reasonably well, however it was no match for the profile of Himself so I had to look for something bigger.
I then came across the #fufacemask from Freesewing.org. I actually made these from some scraps of scuba fabric (Fabric Styles) lined with cotton with a layer of filtering in between.
This pattern comes in three sizes and the large version gave the coverage he needed.
I used ties rather than elastic because its easier to wash them at heat; it’s recommended to wash at 60° C to ensure sterilisation. These masks are easy things to make and I made enough for us to have a rotation so that we can wash them as soon as we get back indoors and have fresh ones at the ready.
It’s a tiny thing to do but in addition to making me feel safer it also makes me feel I’ve done something constructive and productive. I’m also offering them to any of my family and friends who want them.
If you are going to use masks, do be mindful of how you handle them, try to avoid taking them on and off and adjusting too much – the idea is to avoid touching your face as much as possible. Having both sides made from different fabrics can help you avoid self contamination – i.e. make sure you don’t put the outside on your face once you’ve worn it. Also when you remove them put them straight into the wash and then wash your hands.
I’d like to thank people like Trend Patterns and Freesewing.org amongst many others who are giving their time and effort free to help us help ourselves and others.
Take care all of my friends out there. How are you navigating the pandemic?
Thanks for dropping by.