FAQs

We've compiled a list of some of the questions we often get asked. If you can't find what you need here, join our Facebook group and we'll be able to help you there!

Do I have to use a specific mask pattern, and why?

Yes please! The reason we set up this group was to make the most effective mask possible based on available evidence. A lot of time and effort has gone into the design taking into consideration the best fit, ease of wearing, and efficacy while still using a simple, straightforward pattern with easily obtained materials. If we all follow the same mask then the recipients will know exactly what to expect when they place their requests for masks.

Where can I find the mask pattern and tutorial?

The pattern, folding template and links to tutorials are all available under the  Making Masks page on this website.

I've made some masks, but I used a different pattern. Can I still send them?

At this time we're only accepting masks made from the pattern available on this site. This is because we can be reasonably sure of the mask's efficacy using our pattern and our recipients will know what to expect when they request masks from us.

Do I have to use 100% cotton?

Please use only 100% cotton, light to medium weight with a high thread count cloth that has been pre-washed on the hottest (60° or 90°) setting. This is to pre-shrink the fabric. These masks will have to withstand boil washing for re-use and cotton is a comfortable, breathable fabric. No used fabrics.

I can't get elastic. Can I use ties instead?

Yes, you may use ties (any kind – bias binding, cut straight and can be cotton or polycotton here) instead of elastic if you don’t have elastic.

Do I need to add a filter?

No. We are only making the mask. Filters will be added later by the people who receive the masks.

Do I need to use an interfacing on the mask material?

No. To help with breathability, these masks do not require any interfacing.

I have some questions/have a problem making the masks. Who can I ask?

Feel free to post your questions, tips, patterns hacks or any other comments in the Facebook group We want to encourage everyone to get involved, whether you're a novice or an advanced sewist. You can also use the search bar at the top of the group to find things such as "project pattern".

How can I request a fabric pack? Do I have to pay for it?

Fabric packs are available for anyone who is making this mask in NI and RoI only. A request form for fabric packs can be found under the files tab underneath the group header on our Facebook page.

Our materials are funded by the group via a Go Fund Me account. If you wish to donate money towards the fund, it would be very much appreciated, but we understand some makers will be under financial strain right now and therefore we are not asking for payment for fabric packs.

As the number of fabric packs is limited, we do ask that you agree to make at least 50 masks from the pack you receive.

How can I request some masks? Do I have to pay for them?

A request form for masks can be found under the files tab underneath the group header. Please use these forms to request masks so that we can match you up to your local mask maker. Our materials are funded by the group via a Go Fund Me account. If you wish to donate money towards the fund, it would be very much appreciated, but in the spirit of community and giving and getting through this pandemic together, we are not taking payment for masks.

Can I sell the masks that I’ve made using this pattern?

No. It is against the group rules to sell masks in this group. If a group has contacted you to make them masks, please get them to fill in the request form in the group. You can still make them these masks, it just helps us manage resources.

I can’t sew, how can I help?

There are lots of ways to help! If you can contribute financially, we would appreciate a donation to our Go Fund Me account to pay for materials. You can donate materials to your local mask maker. You can also help by sharing this group on social media and getting the word out so that we can match mask makers with mask recipients. If you can think of other ways you might be able to help, or would like to help with collection and drop offs, please message an admin.

I’m not living on the island of Ireland. Should I still be in this group?

You are absolutely welcome to be part of the group. Unfortunately we cannot post masks or fabric overseas, but you are welcome to use the pattern and tutorials, read the research behind cloth masks (kept under the Files tab), ask questions and get making!

Will these masks be used in hospital environments?

At this time, the mask is being tested for use in hospital. These are not medical grade masks. While they are as effective as they can be for masks made with cotton and elastic, masks used in hospital settings often need to be either single use or more durable. However, as we are facing a shortage of protective equipment across the UK and Ireland, it is conceivable that these masks could be used by staff working outside the hospital (such as in the community) or by those in lower risk areas as an extra layer of protection.

I keep hearing different things about whether or not these masks are good enough for HCPs to use. How can I find out more?

As mentioned above, these are not medical grade masks and so they are unsuitable for use when treating patients with an active infection. However, we have spent a lot of time researching the efficacy of cloth masks and believe that these are better than nothing, and the best they can possible be, if proper protective gear is scarce. We have uploaded the articles we’ve read and you can find them under the Files tab in the Facebook group.

Can my friends join this group?

Of course! The more the merrier. Please ask them to join rather than sending them an invite so that they have a chance to read our group rules.