April Update! Facemasks Helping Our Community

April Update! Update from US Surgeon General. He suggests wearing masks in public to prevent large droplets in your exhale from infecting others… this isn’t to protect you, but to help reduce the spread by preventing the largest droplets from entering the air. He suggests T-shirt material and demonstrates a very simple washable reusable mask. Now I know what all those gimme Tshirts are good for! Also it results in four layers , more is better! And one study shows tshirt is better than regular 100% cotton. So there ya have it, let’s help stop the spread.  

The science on this… right now many virologists are thinking this corona virus is infecting humans through receptors in the nose. Just so happens older people develop more of these receptors as they age. They also thing the quantity of virus you are exposed to has a lot to do with with how sick you get. So… even if the home made masks can’t stop the small stuff, they can prevent spreading the big globs. 

This is why the mask won’t stop you from catching a virus, but it will reduce the amount of virus you spread. Essentially wearing these masks is socially responsible! I do think the simple quick mask the surgeon general demonstrates is better then the two layer sewn masks from patterns the quilt world is cranking out. But the many many layers is HOT! So find a mask that works for you.

Original post is retained for posterity and the information it contains.

So many of us want to help. Sewing these masks sounds like such a good idea!

I've talked to several experts on infection control and I have to share with you what they said... 

There are valid resources that people can read for themselves I’ll link to them below. The question of facemasks comes up during every pandemic. These studies are not done very often because frankly they are dangerous to do. The most recent study shows homemade facemasks actually increase infection rates among healthcare workers and patients! This study was done in an actual live setting with real disease. And it compares wearing no mask at all to wearing a home made mask. 

Another study uses mechanical means to determine the particle sizes that cotton cloth will filter out. And found out that it pretty much doesn’t filter out any germ size particles. 

People are quoting a CDC page that recommends facemasks as a last resort. I saw that in the beginning and though OH GOODIE I CAN HELP…BUT… The article which mentions using homemade facemasks also states using a faceshield WITH IT!

She is also a quilter and pointed out something that might help us get this message across to other quilters. We know steam goes through fabric and wet steam goes through faster, what is steam? water … the virus in the air is contained in water droplet that people breath out, sneeze out, or coughs out. It is going to go through fabric just like steam does. 



Please know these masks will NOT make you safe in public. They slightly reduce the risk if worn with a faceshield, they do NOT give you the protection of NIOSH rated masks. You can’t go out in public and interact with these.


Everyone here are valid resources that people can read for themselves about why our guild won’t be pushing this effort any longer. 

Based upon the information I have learned. I can not in good faith lead the effort to make home made facemasks.

I believe we will be putting people in danger and not helping them.

However if anyone wants to make face shields I am ALL IN!



A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers 
C Raina MacIntyre, Holly Seale, Tham Chi Dung, Nguyen Tran Hien, Phan Thi Nga, Abrar Ahmad Chughtai, Bayzidur Rahman, Dominic E Dwyer, Quanyi Wang
Infections Disease Research

Simple Respiratory Protection—Evaluation of the Filtration Performance of Cloth Masks and Common Fabric Materials Against 20–1000 nm Size Particles 
Samy Rengasamy,  Benjamin Eimer,  Ronald E. Shaffer
The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Volume 54, Issue 7, October 2010, Pages 789–798, https://doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/meq044

Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks: COVID-19 | CDC Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC