How and why you need to start sewing masks


Mila Barry

O’Maley 8th grader Willow Barry models a homemade protective mask

MILA BARRY, Staff Writer, Editor

As COVID-19 continues to tighten its grasp on our nation, the need for PPE (personal protective equipment) becomes more severe. Medical facilities of all types are seeing an increasing number of Coronavirus patients each day, and the CDC recently recommended that all citizens make use of masks when in public spaces. 

There’s not much that individuals can do to alleviate the shortage of medical grade PPE, but sewing cloth masks is a simple way to fulfill the needs of the masses. Homemade masks provide sufficient protection for everyday activities, and help divert professional products to the doctors and nurses on the frontlines. Best of all – even the most inexperienced crafter can easily make one. 

“The kind I am making, starting with a 6 inch by 9 inch rectangle, is very easy,” said community member Amanda Cook, “There are so many mask patterns online right now. Some have pockets for filters, some have wires to help form the bridge of the nose. I chose the style I am making because it looked easy to do quickly.”

Beyond being an investment in self-protection, masking-making can be an investment in the community. There are thousands of essential workers and volunteers stationed outside of hospitals who risk exposure and have few protective resources. Organizations throughout Gloucester are currently looking for fabric mask donations. 

“When I started making masks, I was thinking of the people who were still out helping other people,” explained Cook, “I contacted the Open Door and several other organizations in our community. In the time since I have started, I have seen calls for masks from all over the place. I am currently making masks for a rehab facility which does not have enough PPE.”

Cook recommends the other makers follow her example and reach out to local organizations in order to get masks to places and people in need. 

You may be wondering just how effective these masks are at halting the spread of COVID-19. Afterall, they’re just cloth! But these simple contraptions are actually relatively sufficient at preventing the spread of droplets. 

Said Cook: “They are not perfect: nothing is as good as physical distance right now in protecting the community, but they offer a fair amount of protection.”

So what are you waiting for!? Get sewing. The video below (used by this staffer to make masks) is a perfect place to start. Click here to see the written instructions that accompany it. 

Atlantic Health System