Sunday, March 29, 2020

Homemade Surgical Masks - free Paganoonoo pattern and info on what materials to use

Pattern updated 03Apr2020
Covid19 is contributing to a shortage of medical supplies. 

As a very LAST RESORT for proper PPE (personal protective equipment) the CDC recommends healthcare providers use homemade masks.  

For the general public, recommendations are shifting to wear a mask if you are in public. 

When proper masks are not available, homemade is better than nothing. Masks are needed for many types of people: folks working public facing jobs, those who want to protect others from themselves in case they are a carrier, those who work with high risk populations, veterinarians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals.

This blog post is to provide you with information on how to choose materials and provide a free pattern.

I did a bit of research and found a study about the effectiveness of various fibers in screening particles.  The study looked at 2 factors:

1: Breathability
2: Particle Screening Effectiveness

They said both were key.  Vacuum cleaner bags are as effective as surgical masks, but are not breathable, so they are out.  Cutting to the bottom line they recommended:

1: Tightly woven cotton - think high thread count sheets, not quilting fabric
2: Tight knits

Here is a video where I explain in a bit more detail on how to pick a fabric:  

An overview article with links to the original study is here.

And about ELASTIC - there has been a shortage, and medical workers have been complaining about elastic hurting their ears.

A terrific alternative is ties made with t-shirt string.  This "string" is made by cutting ribbons across the body of a t-shirt and pulling it tight.  The ribbon curls in on itself and makes a mostly non-stretchy string.  It holds a bow very well.

I've made a video showing how to make t-shirt string: 

I've drafted a pattern based on the information provided above.  It has 3 sizes, Adult - which covers an N95 mask, pre-teen, and child. 


And here are the pages, sized to print on 8.5" by 11" paper:

Stay safe. Thank you for helping,

Michelle Paganini

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