Slight change of direction, then.
Up to this point, we’ve been told that only virus patients and their nursing/medical carers need to wear a surgical mask. Despite that, shelves have been stripped of them. A Chinese-owned property company here in Australia quietly bought up hundreds of thousands of masks, gloves, hand sanitiser, etc, and exported them back to China. I’m glad they did, or the infection rate would have been far worse, but it did leave Australia unexpectedly a bit short. To get to the point; new research indicates that droplet and aerosol infection from the virus can actually reach far further than originally suspected, up to 8 metres (26 feet) in some cases! Which means that social distancing is not really the safeguard we’d all hoped for. Many argue that only a properly fitted N95 filtration mask as worn by medical professionals is effective. However, despite the massive increase in mask production, we will run out if everyone has to wear one, and wear it correctly. The US Centers for Disease Control have stipulated that if correct Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is not available, then home made masks are better than no masks.
I’ll take that.
So far, I’ve made two for myself and three for the Husband. He does, after all, go out in public more than I do. I plan to have one for every day of the week for him, so they can be well-laundered between wearings. The pattern is from Craft Passion, and there is a long how-to as well as a downloadable pdf of the mask in 4 different sizes. The mask fits snugly around the face and under the chin, and there’s an option for adding an additional layer inside for extra filtration. You can fit the elastic so it goes around your ears in two loops, or two bands round the back of the head (which I personally find easier on the ears). It’s comfortable, not too hot, and because it’s shaped, better than just tying a hankie or bandanna around your face. As you can see, it’s also possible to make them to co-ordinate with your outfits, teehee!
I made a card template of the pattern to avoid the palaver of tracing paper, etc, in the instructions. I draw around it with biro on the back of my fabric to give me a correct sewing line. There’s nothing difficult about it. It helps if you are neat-fingered when pressing and top-stitching, but if you’re not fussed about straight stitch lines, it’s not important. You could get creative and decorate them for kids with animal faces, big smiles, etc.
I’m expecting an announcement soon that we should all wear masks in public places. When it comes, we’ll be ready. Given what I’ve read, I’m thinking I should wear one without waiting for any announcement, as my immune system is not very effective any more.
The smiles on the faces of our neighbours may be hidden, but we’ll know they’re there.