It is important to note that covering your face with a piece of cloth won't protect you. But, it could help you from spreading the virus if you're like some people who lack symptoms and don't know they have it.
Sewing your own mask is easy, says Jeannette Childers, who’s 77 and lives in Mesa, Arizona. She’s among scores of volunteers across the country sewing masks. So far, she’s made 65.
1. Cut material and interfacing to 12 x 9 inches
2. Iron interfacing to material (adhesive side to back of material)
3. Once ironed, fold fabric in half with interfacing on the outside
4. Cut two pieces of elastic — each 7-inches long
5. Pin and sew 1/4-inch from edge leaving a 2-inch gap in the center
6. Put elastic band on each corner, inside the material and pin to keep in place, making sure the elastic is not twisted. Pinning in center as well
7. Using the pattern, mark locations of pleat lines and add pins on both sides
8. Fold 3 pleats. Sew around the entire perimeter of the mask, this holds the pleats in place, and closes the 2-inch gap
All you have to do is remove the pins, test out your new mask and head out to do your grocery shopping or wherever might make social distancing difficult.
While you’re at it, make extra to donate. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers.
Angelica Jaramillo Harding, a nurse in Mesa, Arizona, picks up donated masks from a Joann fabric and Craft store every Friday to distribute at hospitals, medical centers and clinics. Last week, she gave away 350 of them.
Since March 23, Joann stores nationwide have been providing supplies to make masks for free if you donate the finished products. Since then, they’ve donated more than 16 million. “We’re definitely touched by the community,” Harding said. “It helps us not to feel alone in this.”