Note: This story was updated on May 19, 2020
Ten weeks into this uncertain springtime of quarantine, one thing has become clear: Cloth masks, once considered unnecessary and ineffective, are now required for public outings in high transmission areas like New York, and recommended by the CDC to lower the spread of Covid-19 everywhere.
At the height of New York City’s (first) outbreak, cloth face masks even became essential for healthcare workers who faced a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment like N95 masks.
Makers around the country rose to the challenge with templates (see below) and community-wide sewing groups. A Midwest health system called Deaconess created a database of clinics and hospitals seeking masks, and included a list of NYC organizations seeking mask donations. Bushwick textile studio and boutique Better than Jam shared list of resources, too.
Then hospital workers were able to restock their essential supplies, and cloth masks became an essential accessory for everyone else. A number of designers have since pivoted to face coverings, so you can now purchase cloth masks that will look a lot better than what you might make yourself.
But if you do want to DIY your own face mask, here are the instructions from a friend who runs the Hastings Sewing Studio: