Living the Virus Life: Making Lemonade Out of Lemons, April 8, 2020 episode

This blog post is here on Frostproof Musings only because it turned out to be too long and complicated for a Facebook post.

Looking for something productive and helpful to do, my mother-in-law and I partnered up a few days ago to explore making face masks for those who don’t have them or can’t get them. I have been mining the internet for information and resources and decided to document our journey a bit and share some ideas and information that may be helpful. Please feel free to share this post and comment with useful ideas and suggestions if you wish. I include a link to an article from the NYTimes that gives a good summary of the pros and cons concerning fabrics and materials for making facemasks. As always, thank you for your time and attention!

Wendy White Goddard


I went to Senior Hour at Publix this week for our groceries and was heartened to see almost every customer wearing masks–many of them homemade in a variety of designs. My mother-in-law and I have been working on making masks, trying out different dimensions and designs, changing up materials, and looking for people to sew them if we supply the materials and cut and pin the fabric together. The options making their way around the internet are creative and inspiring.

I will say that we are pleased with our idea: creating a pocket between the fabric layers so you can insert a rectangle of H100 Sequential Sterilization Wrap (made by Halyard Corp, one of many other manufacturers). This is the material that the University of Florida is now repurposing, and sterilizing (they have ultra-violet sterilization machines), and fabricating into surgical masks. They have received approval to re-sterilize the face-coverings up to 9 times before disposing of them.

Click on the image to enlarge it and see details.

Of course, the general public does not have access to such sterilization equipment, but we found that we can cut 16 pieces from a single 20 X 20 sheet of the surgical wrap to insert into the fabric masks. We think this is a practical alternative and can maximize mask usage as well as providing better protection for the average “civilian.” Of course, you will want to sterilize your fabric mask frequently by laundering it in hot water and detergent or immersing it in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then, just insert a new piece of surgical fabric. Per UF’s anesthesiology team, this surgical wrap is 4% more effective in blocking microbes than the N95 surgical masks.

I will attach a picture of our design as it stands today. Who knows what it will look like as more and more people suggest improvements? Reach out, team up, find quilters in your community who are willing to donate fabric. For the nose-guards use large paper clips, or florist wire, or pipe cleaners. Now get to cutting and sewing! You might also consider using iron-on seam tape if you don’t have a sewing machine to assemble the masks.

In the meantime, mind your lemons, and stay positive!


NOTE: we use a piece of fabric cut 18 in X 7.5 inches for an adult size mask using 8 inch long elastic pieces for those who need a larger reach across their face to their ears. For smaller faces or children, a length of fabric cut 16 in by 7 inches will do. Cut the elastic into 7″ pieces for those with smaller faces.

Here is the link to the NYTimes article.


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