Wearing masks is all the rage now, and I've been thinking of making
one so I'd be in fashion on the rare occasions that I venture out.
But I don't have a mask to copy. The design is very simple: tear a
rectangle of cloth, put a box pleat across it, finish the edges, sew
tapes to the corners.
But how long and how wide a rectangle, and how deep a box pleat?
It wouldn't take many iterations to figure it out, but someone must
have already done so and posted it on the Web.
Do y'all know of any links?
On Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:31:07 -0400, Joy Beeson
I made one - as a test - from a cone coffee filter
< 6 cup size = adult, 4 cup = child fine adjust with scissors >
; some medical tape to strengthen the holes < hole punch >
.. and four long elastic bands to go around the ears
Easy as pie.
The recent medical advice indicates that wearing
the masks is not very effective to protect yourself -
but is recommended to protect OTHERS if you are sick.
Protecting yourself would require many mask changes per day
and a sealed bag to store the used ones until you get home
and wash them - carefully - so as not to spread your droplets
that they have been gathering all day long ...
On Tue, 17 Mar 2020 11:48:45 -0400, Joy Beeson
Yep - perfect for that - but if you treat it like a tissue -
- which health authorities say to dispose of asap after every use -
- you'd need to change it to a clean one fairly often ..
- and safely store the used ones for later cleaning.
A better system might be a mask "frame" that accepts a
tissue < or coffee filter ? > that can be disposed-of and easily
replaced at frequent intervals throughout the day < ? >
The one actual test I've been able to find in the scientific literature on
cloth masks vs. standard medical masks is this one:
says that hospital patient care workers (nurses?) in Vietnam,
in an influenza epidemic were, in this study, given either standard
medical masks (which I take to mean something like the earloop jobbies
the doctor's office hands out when you show up with a respiratory illness)
or 5 cloth masks that the (for sake of simplicity) nurses were supposed to
wash after each shift. When the study concluded, they found
that the cloth mask wearers were 13 times more likely to catch flu than the
medical mask wearers.
If you go here:
you'll find a reaction to homemade masks and whether or not they'll
protect you, written by an infectious disease/epidemiology specialist.
There are also references to a number of homebrew patterns in that thread.
Me? I'm staying home.
I read that article too, and I'm trying to gather more of the relevant research on the topic and contact researchers as well. I have organized some readings in google drive (link below). Most of them are pretty discouraging of the practice, and I'm waiting until I can find out more and see how a few more experts weigh in. Unfortunately most of the studies also used very improvised materials and design, not a well constructed home-sewn mask (but that too might be ineffective, or worse dangerous).
I found a cute idea in instructions for a doctor play set: Instead of
a box pleat, run elastic through the ends of the mask, and use the
same elastic to hold the mask on. Though how one would do that with
the loops shown in the picture, I don't know.
Further search showed that the loops are supposed to be hooked over
the child's ears. That would stay on my face maybe up to thirty
seconds. One picture showed very thick cord elastic!
Ah, useful information! "In doing the math, each mask takes a 10 x 6
piece of fabric for the outside and for the lining. 1/2 yard of each
fabric would give you 12 masks."
The pattern is for cutting the cloth up to make a 3-D mask, but
holding a tape measure up to my face suggests that ten by six would be
I could put one loop through both hems . . .
Pretty soon after writing that, I realized that I was overthinking
this. Instead of hunting for a mask pattern that is equivalent to a
handkerchief over the face, just tie a handkerchief over my face!
That's at least as good as any mask in the hands of non-medical
Investigation of my pile of hankies showed that I have three real
bandanas (made when bandanas were practical rather than the latest
fashion), and a linen furoshiki. I make furoshikis in pairs because
cutting one leaves a furoshiki-size scrap, so there should be another.
I think the other one is in a box or basket somewhere with a forgotten
knitting or mending project pinned up in it.
Then today, I discovered that I *did* have the vast supply of canned
cat food I had thought I had when last in the store -- instead of
forgetting how long ago I'd bought it, I forgot where I put it. There
is plenty to last until Senior Day at Martin's.
(The cat has kidney stones, so we want him to get as many of his
calories from wet food as possible, even though the dry food is renal
support and the wet food mostly isn't. He detects and detests the
flavor of renal support in wet food.)
So instead of going to Tractor Supply tomorrow, I'll go around the
south end of the lake, look at the recently-refurbished dam, ride the
length of Chinworth Trail, and have a picnic lunch in Tippy Park. I
rarely share Tippy Park, and never this early in the season. And if
someone else shows up, there are enough tables for a twelve-foot
Then I can come back past the place where the "The Farm" farm stand
will be when the sweeet corn is ripe, just to make it twenty miles.
I've been doing that reading, too. Have you found the study
in Vietnam that assigned nurses in influenza wards either cloth
masks or standard medical masks like the earloop jobbies?
The nurses using cloth masks were 13x more likely to get
flu than the ones using the standard medical masks.
I'm quite willing to ramp up home production here if anyone can
convince me that I'm not doing more harm than good. So far,
they haven't. And the CDC advice to use a bandana or scarf if nothing
else is available sounds like something regrettable to me, in light
of the study in Vietnam.
On Sat, 21 Mar 2020 09:42:04 -0000 (UTC), Kay Lancaster
I'd say that - if your intention for the mask is to protect the
wearer - not much use.
If your intention is for a symptomatic person to wear it to help
protect others - maybe. < along with all the other recommmended
steps like hand washing and social distancing .. >
Vietnam that assigned nurses in influenza wards either cloth
I suspect any sort of mask short of the really serious ones just keeps
the wearer from spitting on someone or something. If paper towels
weren't also in short supply I suspect a double layer of those attached
to your face with a thing made out of elastic and alligator clips would
do just as well.
I'm told we (locally) have enough of the basic masks to put on people
who are symptomatic, and the current request is for masks for
the medical staff, which is what I find so worrisome. I would feel
horrible about a mask I made possibly contributing to a loss of medical
personnel. But if we get one good study showing some particular mask
is helpful and it should be made of a particular fabric, I'm quite willing
But the current "sew any design, any fabric" kick seems like it may be a
waste of resources and time and maybe lives. :-( It may encourage
people to take more risks than if they had no protective gear at all.
I know that sounds harsh, and I feel selfish by not participating, but
my microbiological training is telling my head that this is not a good
idea, while my heart says, "do something right now!". I think I have
to go with my head.
On Sat, 21 Mar 2020 21:42:03 -0000 (UTC), Kay Lancaster
I agree with you - and also question the science behind any idea
of medical professionals using home-made cloth < re-usable ? >
masks ... seems wrong to me.
... it isn't a case of an uneducated do-gooder suggesting it
on social media - and having the idea take off ?
On Fri, 20 Mar 2020 12:49:01 -0400, Joy Beeson
Someone did show up, but he stayed in his truck. I think he'd pulled
off the road to make a phone call.
More worrying were the dog-walkers on the MUP who refused to avoid me.
I rode off into the lawn and waited until they had passed.
I came straight home after lunch. Riding around in loops just to get
tired isn't any fun.
I will walk a mile tomorrow, and climb some stairs.
On Mon, 6 Apr 2020 18:49:10 -0700 (PDT), ItsJoanNotJoann
As long as people realize that a D I Y mask
* * is not to protect the wearer * *
it is to protect the wearer from spreading
his/her spit germs.