Wildélan has leapt into obsessing, like everyone else, about the coronavirus and what we can do to protect our community and ourselves.
Since importing Cambridge Masks and fundraising for bats during the Australian bushfires put me in a weirdly unique position to watch the coronavirus begin to unfold, I’ve had a sense of being thrust directly into the epicentre of this new threat, even so far away from the hotspots that have emerged globally (and trust me, the irony of the bat connection certainly wasn’t lost!)
But I wanted to distance myself from the whole mask thing after the order arrived and all masks were sold: I was sorted, so were most of my friends and clients, and the panic of the new buyers who didn’t pre-purchase for the original smoke protection purpose was very unsettling. I wanted that frenzy to be in my past: “no, we have no more stock, please stop asking!”
So I delved into other aspects of the coronavirus: namely, how to stay healthy and reduce your risk of hospitalisation, and published our Covid19 Radical Self-Care guide back on March 20. I have since felt a growing unease about my privilege (even to not be likely to be shamed, as the N99 Cambridge Mask doesn’t look like the standard N95 that we should be donating to hospitals or risk being Doctor-shamed on Twitter); and the more I learned, the clearer it was that we should ALL be wearing masks everywhere in public ASAP to help reduce spread – given so many with COVID19 are asymptomatic (and the R0 is now calculated to be as high as 5.7), we all need to act as if we are infected when we are in public – most likely for the next 12-18 months. Yikes!
So – I delved into the world of DIY face-mask making, having felt morally compelled to close Wildilocks to in-person clients in late March (given the confusing local advice and the fact that most countries has explicitly forbidden hairdressers to operate under social distancing) – I’ve had some time to explore.
After spending some time deliberating on which design was best, I settled on the Fu Face Mask from FreeSewing – it’s a deceptively simple but advanced design compared to many. From there, I realised that there were some other mask options and principles I wanted to incorporate.
And thus – the WéFu filter face mask was born.
There are two files: the mask pattern which has two pages you will want to print, and the sewing guide.
If you are however not in a place to be making masks yourself? No sewing machine or access to materials? Never fear! Having done all the research and creating the guide – I’m now (relatively) free to actually knuckle down making masks – and I’m offering them affordably, because I am fully aware I’m not the only one who’s effectively lost their main income, and, criminally, some of our most important workers are not being given options for income support.
It’s recommended in several places to have two cloth masks if you have to go out regularly say for an essential service job that’s non-medical, so one can be washed while the other is in use. But for those who are working from home, one is probably enough for the time being. When we see likely easing of social distancing measures – masks will be crucial and the manufacturing capacity of most countries simply isn’t going to be able to keep up with daily disposable masks for all citizens (plus think about all that waste…) – so here’s where well designed and effective-as-possible cloth masks are going to be coming into their own.
Be ahead of the curve – start making or order your reusable, washable cloth masks today!
Please note both the original Fu mask and the WéFu masks pattern and guide are completely free to distribute and modify – if you come up with further modifications and improvements, please let me know and I’ll be happy to blog about and promote them!
Cass @ Wildélan