Making Covid-19 masks: the new hobby

By Page H. Gifford

Before the CDC made the recommendation to wear face masks to reduce spreading Covid-19, people ventured out into public wearing medical face masks that were to be reserved for medical staff and rescue squads. Some still are using medical-grade masks. Others are using makeshifts masks with bandannas, looking like old West robbers, while some simply wrap a winter scarf around their face.

But Fluvannians have addressed this problem, jumping right in and sewing, making their own and those for friends and neighbors and anyone else who needs one.

 It began two weeks ago when the realization that the pandemic was a horrific reality none of us had never experienced in our lifetime.  Residents around the county had been asking how they could help. One possible way was to sew cloth masks for medical staff. Posted on The Warm and Fuzzy Lake Monticello Group Facebook page was a request for some for Martha Jefferson. Sewers immediately exchanged ideas and shared supplies. This is not an organized, coordinated effort through any one group, but a community effort. Someone also suggested Palmyra and Lake Monticello rescue squads could benefit as well.

For many, sitting at home, looking for something to occupy their time, this has given them a way to feel useful and continue being part of a community effort, even if it isn’t through the usual channels such as church or charity.

Diana Pickral modeled a very stylish mask made by her daughter, Molly Pickral. Molly’s husband, Marc Perdue, and seven-year-old son Nick also contributed to the endeavor to make masks to give to family and friends. With Nick being home from school, this was a worthwhile project to get him involved as well.

For those who do not know how to sew or don’t care to, Sandra Uribe shared this link on how to make a no-sew face mask To sew one for beginners, check out this link at For other patterns, the CDC has a couple of versions at

Face masks can become a conversation piece based on your style and color preferences. Artist Tom Tartaglino’s wife made him one with a paisley design which Tartaglino was happy with. Scraps of fabric or even an old T-Shirt can be used, provided it is clean.

The other question some might ask is if one mask is enough? According to one medical expert, she suggests a set of five, but this depends on your laundry habits and how often you are going out in public and so on. She adds that two is advisable. This way you can have a variety of masks with various patterns. To clean, it is recommended to wash masks with the regular laundry, hot water, regular detergent, and the hottest drying setting.

After this is behind us, we will look back on one fashion trend we never expected so many would model but one that brought community members together and saved lives.

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