WATCH | Learn to make a cloth mask - no sewing required!

Make your own mask: A local sewing teacher shows us how
Make your own mask: A local sewing teacher shows us how

Whether on not you're on team mask, the question remains: where to find them? We're locked in, and South Africa's medical staff need them more than we do too. 

Medical grade masks are in short supply globally, and so some overseas hospitals have asked the public to sew and donate fabric masks to them.

In the US, one large fabric and craft supplier is offering mask making packs for sewists to pick up and then donate to nearby hospitals once assembled. 

A crisis response option 

According to this article, there is conflicting research into the efficacy of homemade masks, revealing that studies into H1N1 viruses show common fabrics may provide "only marginal protection against virus-containing particles in exhaled breath".

It appears the best homemade masks are made from fabric with "a tight weave, and have a moisture impermeable layer and/or a pocket for a replaceable HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter". 

According to the US based CDC, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted, and the general consensus among medical staff is that homemade masks are "better than nothing" when treating patients.

The Western Cape Department of Health says cloth masks can be used by both the community and non-healthcare workers and where there is no physical contact.

This includes:

    Travel to and from work in public transport

    When stepping outside the house to go shopping or seeking healthcare

    In self isolation when contact with others is necessary (remember distancing)When stopping and talking to members of the public (for example, traffic police)

    When conducting interviews during house to house visits (for example, Community workers)

    When cleaning the streets/ disposing of domestic rubbish

Find out more about using a mask properly here

If you have a sewing machine

If you'd like to try your hand at sewing masks for your family, you can learn from local sewing teacher Mascha Rutherford. An experienced sewist, she has also provided a simple pattern to download and print at home, for free.

Download the PDF pattern here

The pattern is simple enough, and she'll talk you through how to put it together in the YouTube video below (or here).

If you don't have a sewing machine

If you don't have a sewing machine, Mascha offers three options to make a mask - no sewing required!

Learn how from the video below, or on Youtube:

Chat back:

Have you made your own masks? 

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