Dublin Sewing Center Face Mask Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why are you asking for face masks?
A: One of our customers is an ICU nurse at a local hospital in Oakland, and she asked Dublin Sewing to put out a request for help. She works with 200 employees, and she would like to give each one two reusable/washable masks, for a total of 400 masks.
Q: Where can I find a pattern to make a face mask?
A: We have posted a link to two patterns/instructions. There are more on the internet, however the two links are those that have been approved for our request.
A.B. Mask for a Nurse by a Nurse (Note: the full-size pattern piece is on page five of this long document)
Q: What fabric can I use for these masks?
A: Please use a tightly woven 100% cotton for your masks and 100% cotton batting for the center. Gretchen has asked that you use only these fabrics, as those are what was submitted for approval in her prototype to her hospital. Other facilities might accept other fabrics, however, for Gretchen’s request, we are asking you to follow her lead.
Q: Are there specific fabric colors I should use?
A: No specific colors, however, please use a different color for each side so the front and back can be easily distinguished. While the photos in the instructions may not have two different colors of fabric, we have been asked to make the masks so that the front and back are different.
Q: What kind of thread should I use?
A: A good quality cotton or polyester sewing thread is best, so it can withstand the hot water of washing machines.
Q: Gretchen’s Instructions call for floral wire. Where can I find that?
A: You can find floral wire and floral tape at various online stores, such as Michaels, Etsy or Amazon.
Q: Should I insert the wire in the A.B. Mask as well?
A: It wouldn’t hurt. The wire allows for the mask to form around the nose for more stability.
Q: What kind of batting should I use? What is batting?
A: Batting is the filler used by quilters. It comes in various fibers, so please be sure you are using a cotton batting. The Warm Company, Pellon and Hobbs Heirloom are three brands that come in cotton. Gretchen has indicated that Warm & Natural batting will work.
Q: Should I pre-wash all the materials?
A: Yes, please pre-wash with no fabric softeners. The batting can be pre-washed as well, so that it will not shrink during subsequent washings. It might be easier to cut the batting into smaller, more manageable pieces before washing.
Q: How long should I make the ties? Can I use elastic?
A: Gretchen has asked for masks that have ties, and not elastic. The elastic can pose allergy concerns and may not hold up well in the wash. The ties should be long enough to tie around an adult head, so around 15-20 inches per tie (four of them).
Q: I am not a quilter, so I don’t really understand Gretchen’s instructions.
A: There are pictures in Gretchen’s instructions, and there are a lot of video resources on the internet for mask making as well as quilting. A quilt sandwich is three layers of fabric: one piece of cotton, one piece of batting and the last piece of cotton on top. If you need instructions on binding, please search the internet.
Q: I have heard that fabric masks are not recommended. Why are you asking for them to be made?
A: There are a lot of conflicting reports on this topic. We do know that Gretchen has received approval for her mask for her workplace, so that is what we are asking for.
Q: What should I do with the masks once I have made them?
A: You can drop them off at Dublin Sewing Center. While we are closed to the public, Dave, Darren and Karen are in the store Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. You can knock on the door and leave them outside. They will collect them. Please put the masks in a zip-lock bag with the number of masks written on the outside of the bag. Please wash your hand before putting the masks in the bag.
Q: What if I cannot get to the store to drop off the masks?
A: You can mail them to the store. Alternatively, here is a link to a database of facilities that are accepting masks throughout the country. This database has been compiled by volunteers at the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health.
Q: What should I do if I do not understand any of the instructions or cannot find any of the materials?
A: While we appreciate your willingness to help, please do not call the store with your questions. We are not fully staffed, and those who are at the store are not sewists, so we may not have your answers. The best way you can help at this time is to stay at home and be safe. We await your return when things return to normal.