Coronavirus cases are continuing to grow around the world, and to prevent the spread some people have taken to wearing face masks. With masks proving popular, some shops have run out – leading to creative at-home mask creations.
Do fabric face masks work?
With the coronavirus outbreak across countries worldwide, there are shortages in PPE or Personal Protection Equipment.
The recommended masks are N95 respirators or surgical masks, however, the Centres for Disease Control state fabric masks can be used as a last resort if no others are available.
Dr Shawn Nasseri said: “While homemade masks are not as effective as surgical masks or N95 masks, they are absolutely helpful in this time with the major shortage going on.
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“They help keep the area clean and clear, so it is better than wearing nothing.”
To make an effective mask, layers and a tight fight are the most important parts as these can stop particles.
Dr Nasseri said: “Masks with a silky outer layer (if possible), middle layer of a thick, tightly woven material like nylon or cotton, and then a comfortable cotton on the inside are ideal.”
The best fabric for homemade masks is a tightly woven, 100 percent cotton fabric.
Examples of this in household items are denim, bedsheets, and heavyweight shirts.
Avoid t-shirt material as this can stretch when sewn and holes can appear which would defeat the purpose of the mask.
How to make a face mask from fabric
There are free patterns for face masks online, you can find one here.
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Fabric such as cotton, a washcloth, or a microfibre cloth
Elastic bands or hair ties
Sewing machine or needle and thread
1. Put right sides of the fabric together – Cut 9×6 (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 (Child)
2. Starting at the centre of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
4. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again put an elastic with the edge out.
5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5 to 2 inches open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
7. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.
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