Who knew quarter inch wide elastic would become such a sought after commodity? And the surge of videos on how to make bias tape is another sign of our times. Then, there is a rush to buy HEPA vacuum cleaner bags to make impromptu mask filters. [Note: my brother tried a HEPA filter in a mask and found it was almost impossible to breathe through it.]
Speaking of masks, while sewers go into high gear, it’s unclear how many hospitals will accept homemade masks. The University of Kansas Health System has said they won’t accept them. Some San Francisco Bay hospital systems also won’t accept them. Kaiser Permanente will accept masks made according to specific instructions as an extra layer over N-95 masks. (Note: when I tried the link to the instructions I got an error message.) And to think that N-95 masks are now part of daily conversation.
A PolitiFact article on homemade face masks that examined studies of effectiveness said:
A study from 2013 found that cotton masks only perform about half as well as surgical masks and “should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals.” More recent research had similar results.
So at best, using thick or layered fabric to make a homemade mask could be as effective as using some surgical masks. At worst, it prevents at least some of your respiratory droplets from spreading to others while in public.
Under ideal circumstances, no face masks are intended to be worn for more than one encounter. That guidance also extends to homemade masks.
“At the end of the day, these cloth masks should be treated as contaminated materials that you bring in to your home — they need to be laundered in hot soapy water, and you’d need to consider sanitizing in bleach or hydrogen peroxide regularly,” Peltier [an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst] said.
Some experts have said face masks could also serve as a reminder to not touch your face, which is one of the ways the coronavirus spreads, according to the CDC. But Peltier said he’s not aware of any research that shows that’s the case. And there’s a chance that masks could actually encourage people to touch their face more since they can be uncomfortable to wear.
Still, since those infected with the coronavirus may not exhibit symptoms for up to 14 days after exposure, the CDC may soon advise everyone to wear masks in public just in case they’re sick. In that case, if you’re going out in public, wearing something is better than nothing.https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/01/are-homemade-face-masks-effective-against-covid-19/
For me the bottom line is I just haven’t seen enough evidence that homemade masks are that useful in a medical setting. I’ve made two masks apiece for my husband and me. If I learn that hospitals are actively using homemade masks I’ll crank up my machine.
I have begun a sewing project that involves inset ovals, though rounded edge rectangles is a more accurate description. In the Curves issue (issue/07, p. 74) of “Curated Quilts” I found a mini quilt called Happy Little Ovals by Jill Fisher. It inspired me to pull out a set of squiggly striped Marcia Derse fabrics and construct my own ovals using the 6 minute circle method.
It seems to be turning into a table runner. I’m now auditioning some black fabric for inserts between the three vertical columns, as shown in the second photo. Let me know which you think works best.
I’m linking to Off the Wall Fridays.