Do fabric masks prevent the COVID-19 coronavirus?
According to the CDC, no, they will not a prevent anyone from getting the virus. However, at this time, healthcare professionals are using them in two ways. One is to place on patients who may have been exposed to the virus to prevent the possibility of spreading the virus to others by sneezing or coughing. Additionally, some healthcare workers are using them over top of their medical-grade protective masks as an additional layer to extend the life of those masks.
To assure that masks are used only in a manner that is safe and does not provide a false sense of security, we require that any location requesting masks have medical professional available who is able to make the determination on how fabric masks may be used safely in their specific medical environment. We understand that this limits those can are able to request masks; however, please remember that those who are making masks on this project are doing so using their own sewing machines and their own fabric and supplies.
Can I only sew masks for a facility in my area?
Not at all! Even the locations listed as requesting drop off of masks will accept packages by mail. Please don’t feel limited. Every location that has requested masks is feeling desperate and can use your help, even from a distance.
Do I have to use your pattern?
You can use any pattern you find or are comfortable sewing. Most masks will be the pleated “surgical” style masks and there are numerous patterns and videos available on how to sew these. You are welcome to use any of those that you are comfortable using. With a few exceptions, most locations seem to prefer fabric ties rather than elastic; however, for many it doesn’t even matter.
Where can I get fabric or the free fabric kits that have been mentioned online?
At this time, we do not have access to either fabric or kits for making masks.
Do I need to wash the masks before dropping them off or mailing them?
No, you don’t. The facility accepting the masks will be laundering/sanitizing them using their in-house methods before use.
Does it matter how many masks I make?
We encourage you to make as many masks as possible but, in some cases, even just a few masks makes all the difference, especially for some of the smaller locations needing protective gear assistance.
How should I package the masks once they are done?
Please package the masks is a sealed plastic bag and then into any shipping packaging (if they will be mailed) to make it easier for the receiving facility to handle them upon arrival.
Why isn’t there a location listed in my state?
Locations must request to be added to our list and a request can only be made by an authorized person within that organization. Many facilities have requirements for what type of items their staff can use. There is no point in sending masks to somewhere that can’t use them and may even throw them out.
I was sewing for a location and now it’s gone from the list
If a location is now gone from the list, it means that either their requested fulfillment has been satisfied or they have requested to be removed. We encourage you to choose another location on our ever growing list.
The Sewing & Craft Alliance is an initiative of two sisters, Joyce Perhac, President of FoxfireManagement, Inc. and Janice Blasko, owner of the Abbey Group, who have a passion for promoting the home sewing industry. SCA operates the www.sewing.org website (the website run by the former Home Sewing Association) as well as the National Sewing Month campaign for the sewing community. The two also join forces and produce another passion-driven event called Christmas Expo.
As mask shortages started coming to light during the week of March 16, 2020, we began receiving a growing number of requests from sewists asking about sewing masks, as well as healthcare workers asking if anyone could sew masks for them. On Thursday night, we felt we had to act on a way to bring these two together. On Friday, work began on the www.WeNeedMasks.org website. The website launched 28 hours later, on Saturday, March 21 and began to get signups within a few hours and requests have continued to come in from almost every state. We are happy to be able to provide this connection but will be happier when we can safely say that we’re closing it down because proper personal protection equipment is readily available to all healthcare workers again.