Let’s make – and wear – masks!

Let’s make – and wear – masks! March 20, 2020


Folks, I am now convinced that we should all be making — and wearing — facemasks.

Here are some links, which I will be updating as I see more:


A New York Times article which says that the US took a strategy of discouraging masks, in order to protect the supply for healthcare workers, when the reality is that mask-wearking by the general public is one part of the general strategy of those Asian countries which have controlled Coronavirus/COVID-19: Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.

A series of tweets from Hong Kong resident and demographer Lyman Stone about masks, and a longer series about lockdowns in general.

Here’s a Forbes article with more information/resources on mask-making.


Here is a mask pattern designed to allow a filter.  (Note:  it is somewhat complex and I’ve been having trouble with it but I think it’s an issue of my fabric.  Also, the filter is any sort of non-woven material – I’ve seen dried antibiotic wipes as well as the material in furnace filters.)

Here is an “instructables” pattern, which also has some advice on materials and research citations.

Here is a simpler face mask pattern (which, since it doesn’t call for a filter, calls for more tightly-woven fabric).

Here is the simplest of the three, with instructions and a video tutorial.

UPDATE:  here’s another pattern that I’m adding to bookmark.

Here’s another version of a shaped face mask which I will try next to compare fits.

One issue I haven’t figured out is this: how finicky should I be about fabric?  I’m inclined to think that for the filter-using ones, there’s a wider range of suitable fabrics.  It may be that for the non-filter ones, something like a high thread-count sheet might be better.


So far, mask projects seem to be local.

For example, Deaconness Hospital in southern Indiana is asking people to make and drop off masks.

The Bike Bald Facebook group in Oswego (south suburban Chicago) is asking people to make masks not for COVID-19 use but for immunocompromised patients who can’t access their usual sources for routine protection.

Providence Hospital in Washington is organizing mask-making with kits.

The blog “Train with Bain” is also attempting to compile a list.

I should also add that I have a family member who works in supply chain management at a hospital system and he reported that they expect to receive “stockpile” supplies in short order.  But really, I am thinking as much about people outside the healthcare system as within it — cashiers at grocery stores (or shoppers at grocery stores), for instance.

UPDATE:  Here’s the Joann Fabrics website.  Here’s their press release, which says, they are using their classrooms as mask-making sites and also accepting donations:  “All open JOANN locations will serve as collection points for those making in their homes, and all items created by customers will be donated to help medical systems extend their dwindling supplies of protective equipment, and will be used at the hospital’s discretion.”

Here’s a hospital system in Champaign, Illinois, asking for masks.

And here’s the city of Chicago’s face mask drive.


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