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COVID-19 and Face Masks: How you can help prevent a shortage.

COVID-19, Other | March 24, 2020

Across the country and in Indiana, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), supplies are running low. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are in need of face masks. The longer the pandemic persists, the more the need will increase.

Please consider volunteering by making homemade face masks. Using sewing machines and fabric, you can make a difference in the life of a healthcare worker.

American Senior Communities continues to follow the CDC, State and Local health authorities’ recommendations and mandates closely which now requires all healthcare workers to wear face masks when in the nursing center.

Don’t sew? You can also help by donating fabric or coordinating a donation of fabric from a local fabric store.  To find a community that could benefit from your donation of masks, visit ASCCare.com/communities.

How to Make a Homemade Face Mask:

Video tutorial and directions courtesy of EasyToSew. Download directions here.

Supplies Needed:

  • Tightly-woven cotton fabric, cut to 7.5” x 15” (38cm x 19cm)
    • Speed Tips:
      • If you have a quilting cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler, use them.
      • Consider cutting multiple layers at one
  • Strip of binding, approximately 2” x 7” (5cm x18cm)
    • You can use fabric. See Making Your Binding directions
  • 2 elastic pieces, cut to 9 3/4” (25cm) OR fabric tie that’s 34” long. Better to err on the side of a longer.
  • Optional: For adjustable nose wire, twist tie (that’s plastic covered) or copper wire approximately 6.5” (16.5cm)

Directions:

  • 1:07/7:47 – Finish the short raw edges with a straight stitch 1/8” from the edge, a zig-zag stitch or serged ege.
  • 1:24/7:47 – Fold the right sides (the pretty side) together to form a tube with the edges you just finished touching. Pin.
  • 1:28/7:47 – Mark finished edge 1.5” from each side. Stich a 1/4” seam from each side to the mark. Be sure to leave the opening in the middle.
  • 1:53/7:47 – Adjust tube such that the slit is in the middle. (This will be your filter pocket.) Press seam open.
  • 2:02/7:47 – Turn tube such that the right side faces out. Top stich 1/8” along the seam, continuing alongside the opening to the other seam – do both sides. Be sure not to catch the fabric underneath!
  • 2:23/7:47 – Adjust the tube such that the slit is in the middle. Mark 1/2” above the seam line on each side.
  • 2:52/7:47 – Pinch and fold on that line. The slit will now be 1/2” from the folded edge. Press.
    • The 1/2” pocket will be for the adjustable nose
    • The bigger pocket will be the filter
  • 3:00/7:47 – Pin. Stitch 1/8” all the way around.
  • 3:33/7:47 – Insert wire in narrow pocket and tuck into Pin. Stitch across narrow pocket, 1/8” from slit. Check that larger pocket is still clear and flip piece over.
  • 4:14/7:47 – Make three pleats. Pin and press.
  • 4:37/7:47 – Stitch 1/4” across pleats.
  • 4:53/7:47 – Apply binding to the pleated sides, very similar to binding a quilt.
    • 4:53/7:47 – Take your piece of binding and place it flush to the edge of the back side of the mask, right sides together. Trim so about 5/8″ hangs off each side. Roll the 5/8” excess to the other side and pin all in place. Stitch 1/4” from the edge.
    • 5:36/7:47 – Roll over to front side. Then fold roughly 1/4” twice to form a generous 1/2” hem on the front side of the mask. You’ll want the room for running the elastic/fabric tie in the next time. Stitch 1/8” from the edge.

If you are using elastic ties:

  • 6:27/7:47 – Insert elastic through hem with a small safety pin. Tie ends in a knot. Pull elastic through hem until knot is hidden in the middle of the hem.

If you are using fabric ties:

  • Make a 34” long fabric tie. Make sure you plan for a 34” tie and WAIT to finish the edges.
  • Insert fabric tie through hem with a small safety pin.
  • Finish the edges of the ties.

Making Your Binding

  • You don’t have to use bias tape, simple cut a 2” wide strip of fabric and follow the steps above. Not perfect, but practical and saves tons of time.
    • The whole point of bias, especially with quilt binding, is to allow flexibility around curved edges. The edge we’re binding is straight.
  • If you really want bias tape, you can make your own single- or double-fold bias tape. Here are some instructions for single-fold bias that don’t require a bias tape maker tool: Bias Tape Directions.
    • To get the same width as above, draw 2” wide strips on a square of fabric, at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the weave.
    • To make one long piece of tape, you lay two strips, right sides together, at 90 degrees to each other and sew at 45 degrees, so that when you fold it back it makes a straight line of fabric. Then iron flat.

CDC guidelines for use of homemade masks:

In settings where face masks are not available, homemade masks may be used for the care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

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