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Cloth Masks - Sewing Tips

There are many people starting to make cloth masks to donate!  I've been gathering up information the past couple days and here's some tips I've learned.  Here is my pattern. 

These masks are meant to help prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the virus - they are not designed to keep you from catching it!! Masks with respirators are the only masks that will keep you from inhaling the virus. 

1) Use cotton thread and cotton fabric so that they can be autoclaved (some say polyester can melt)

Cotton thread

2) If you're using flannel only use one layer of it, make the other layer a lighter weight fabric.  Two layers of flannel is too hard to breathe through.  Try and avoid using flannel in children's masks.

3) Make them with two layers of fabric with a pocket for adding filtration if desired.  A pocket at the top is the easiest to add filtration to.  Do not sew the filter material into the mask, because some of these materials don't dry well.  YouTube Pattern CraftPassion Pattern We can sew it pattern

4) Add a line of stitching or a casing at the top so that they can insert a nose wire.  Don't use standard paper twist ties (unless removable) because the paper will dissolve in the wash and the metal will rust.  Get some plastic twist ties instead, or use metals that will not rust.  These make really good nose wires.  Include the nose wire but make it removable - some hospitals are not accepting masks with the wire.

5) Use light colored fabrics so they can see when they're soiled.

6) Wash + dry fabrics before making them, so that it shrinks.

7) Do not try on masks that are going to other people.

8) Fold edges twice so that there are no raw edges that will fray.

9) Cotton ties (bias tape / spaghetti straps) are generally better than elastic as elastic won't hold up to the severe heat needed to sanitize them.  1/4" to 1/2" twill tape works well.  Pattern pictured. HK Mask with ties

10) Use new fabric only.  Don't use vintage materials, especially old thread as it will break. 

11) Some sources are saying to avoid center seams down the nose as particles can likely get through the holes the needle makes. If you do use a "contoured" mask, use the correct size needle and make sure your thread tension is correct.  

12) CDC does not recommend any face coverings in children 2 and under.  3M doesn't recommend masks for children 3 and under. 

What you can add to the pocket: 

"Shop Towels" also make good filter media, but you want the disposable blue towels, NOT the microfiber washable kind.

If you're not confident in your sewing skills, here's some good info on both sewn and no-sew masks from Happy DIY Home.

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