What started as a small project to provide face masks for my husband’s veterinary team, swiftly accelerated. My mom has now made over 500 face masks for friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances. She has worked countless hours washing the fabric, ironing fabric, cutting out patterns, pinning, knotting, ironing pleats, sewing, and trimming each face mask.
She just retired a few weeks before the pandemic, so she was pleased to be busy and to help toward a significant cause. If you receive a homemade face mask is a blessing if you are lucky enough to know a generous seamstress or skilled at DIY. Recently, securing materials has become more and more difficult. Fabric stores have very long wait times to get in, and online retailers are either sold out or weeks delayed in shipping supplies.
As cities and establishments start to require face masks for work or public gatherings, not everyone has a connection to my sewing maven mother. The good news is that more and more face masks are becoming available for essential workers and the general public through large-scale manufacturers. I am an advocate of fabric face masks versus disposable because they are washable, reusable, and sustainable. Per the CDC guidelines, below are the recommendations for safely putting it on, wearing, and removal of a face covering.
How to Wear Your Face Mask Correctly
- Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
Wear the Face Mask to Protect Others
- Wear a face covering to protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms
- Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public
- Don’t put the mask around your neck or upon your forehead
- Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, clean your hands
Take Your Mask Off Carefully, When You Are at Home
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties
- Fold outside corners together
- Place covering in the washing machine
- Wash your hands immediately with soap and water
The face mask is the most common of face coverings. Yet, there are several options with items that you might already have at home that offer double-duty applications. Some of you might own face coverings for snow skiing, boating, or hiking that could be utilized for the pandemic. Even a simple bandana or scarf works really well and adds a bit of your own personality. If you need sun protection from a UPF 50+ rated face covering, I think Coolibar has the highest quality options.
Below is a collection of different kinds of face coverings to fit your needs and budget. Please note due to the overwhelming response for face masks across the country, orders may take longer for fulfillment and shipping.
Traditional Face Masks
Scarves That Double as a Face Covering
Brands that Give Back
Some clothing brands have shifted their business to accommodate face masks into their collection of accessories. Several fashion brands are donating back to those on the front lines with each purchase of their face coverings. Here are some of my favorites:
Offset the Cost of an At-Home Seamstress
My mom has devoted almost 100 hours, and we have collectively contributed over four figures to the cause of protecting our community. If someone you know has given you a mask(s) or is donating masks to healthcare and essential workers, please offer to offset the cost of their efforts. It seems like such a small item, but all the materials (decorative fabric, fabric lining, nose crimp, elastic, and thread) do add up to nearly $3 for a handmade mask. Contributions enable more face masks to be made.
Rundown of Face Masks
In the medical field, you begin your careers by ‘See One, Do One, Teach One.’ Seeing others wear a mask seems more typical today than several weeks ago. Putting one on yourself is awkward in the beginning, yet becomes more natural. Teaching and showing others around you to protect themselves is the greatest gift. See a Mask. Wear a Mask. Give a Mask.
I hope your search for masks is a little less frustrating. I think we are going to keep doing the social distancing dance for many more months in some fashion or another. By practicing social distancing and limiting your interactions with others, we can all help prevent coronavirus from spreading. If you have any unique or ingenious hacks, I would love to hear about how you (or someone else) has created a face covering. Just comment in the section below.