Dublin Sewing Center Face Mask Frequently Asked Questions
(updated April 6, 2020)
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. Now that we have fulfilled the original request, we are providing masks to other health care facilities that have requested our assistance.
Q: Are you still accepting the masks using Gretchen's pattern?
A: Yes we are! If you are still making the "Gretchen" mask, we are still accepting those will donate them to a health care facility. There is still a need!
Q: Where can I find a pattern to make a face mask?
A: We have posted a link to a patterns/instructions for a mask that will act as a cover for the N95 masks the healthcare providers are wearing. This helps to prolong the useful life of the N95 mask.. There are more on the internet, however this link has been found to be effective and welcomed by the health care providers.
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.
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.
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. You can also use floral tape that comes pre-wrapped with floral tape. GRETCHEN USED 22 GAUGE WIRE FROM AMAZON, 38 YDS, FROM DARICE.
Q: Should I insert the wire in the A.B. Mask as well?
A: The wire allows for the mask to form around the nose for more stability. The tutorial for the AB Mask has instructions for how you can add the wire to that mask.
Q: Should I pre-wash all the materials?
A: Yes, please pre-wash with no fabric softeners.
Q: How long should I make the ties? Can I use elastic?
A: The pattern for the AB Mask calls for 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). The pattern calls for around 40", however you can cut your strips the width of the fabric (WOF) if you are using 44/45" quilting cotton.
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 the masks are being used to cover the N95 masks which prolong the useful life of the medical mask.
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, or you can drop them by the back door of the store. 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.
Q: Are you supplying, or do you sell mask making kits?
A: No. We do not have mask making kits in our store. We do not sell fabric and are limited in other supplies. We do have thread!
Q: Do you have elastic for sale?
A: While we do not have any 1/4" elastic, we do have Pamela's Fantastic Elastic in stock (in white and black). This elastic is 1 1/2" wide but can be cut lengthwise to as narrow as 1/4" without raveling or compromising the stretch. Please call the store if you would like to purchase some.