Community member Jo Ann Bailey, a professional seamstress and teacher of sewing, submitted this report below about making fabric masks for healthcare workers. (Last week on the cathedral's Facebook Group, there was a call from Providence Hospitals for help sewing masks, but they have subsequently engaged manufacturers, including a Mukilteo furniture factory, to produce masks in quantity and are no longer soliciting volunteers. The opportunity described below is a better option!)
A shortage of protective clothing for medical professionals is yet another complication of this current COVID-19 crisis. Fabric face masks from the community are now welcome as hospitals and clinics prepare for an increase in patients. While fabric masks are not to be used in the care of COVID-19 patients, according to the CDC, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. Fabric masks can also be helpful in other areas of patient care as supplies of PPE are depleted. Prior to disposable masks, fabric masks were standard use for hospitals. These masks can be washed and sterilized repeatedly as needed. They provide needed protection to health care workers as well as patients.
Seattle area JoAnn Fabrics locations [editor's note: no relation!] are receiving and distributing donated, community-made, masks. For store locations visit www.joann.com. Patterns and clear, easy to follow, instructions are also available here: https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response/
A few helpful hints:
- Narrow elastic has recently followed toilet paper off the store shelves. The tie-on style of mask will probably be the best for now unless you have ¼” elastic in your stash.
- Use 100% cotton, tight weave, fabric. Use on both sides, or line the inside with cotton flannel.
- From the patterns and styles available, choose the one that best suits your supplies and skills.
Please email or call if you have questions. I would love to hear from you! Email at this link.
—Jo Ann Bailey