• CALLING ON HOME SEWERS TO HELP HEALTHCARE WORKERS FIGHTING COVID-19

    The lack of proper masks, gowns, and eyewear equipment is making it difficult for health workers to do their work fighting the novel coronavirus. In a recent New York Times article, medical workers said they were worried about how they can both fight the coronavirus without imperiling themselves, as well as their loved ones when they go back home.

    If you are a home sewer, please consider helping my joining Hickey Freman Technical Vice President Jeffery Diduch in his effort to produce and deliver homemade gowns and masks to medical professionals in the greater Rochester, New York Area. Read about how you can help here

    Fok and the Styleforum Team.

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Calling On Home Sewers for a Project

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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As some of you know, doctors, nurses, and other front-line medical professionals are facing a shortage of protective equipment. The lack of proper masks, gowns, and eyewear equipment is making it difficult for them to do their work without putting themselves at risk. In a recent New York Times article, medical workers said they were worried about how they can both fight the coronavirus without imperiling themselves, as well as their loved ones when they go back home. An excerpt:

Rebecca Bartles, who heads infection prevention efforts for the Providence St. Joseph hospital chain based in Washington, said it was only a matter of days before some of the system’s 51 hospitals and 800 clinics run out of personal protective equipment — a situation that imperils the nation’s ability to respond to a pandemic still in its early stages.

“We’re on mile one of a marathon,” she said, adding, “what does mile 25 look like?”

Health care workers’ fears are not abstract. Two emergency room doctors in New Jersey and Washington have been hospitalized in critical condition, dozens of other health care workers across the country have already fallen ill and hundreds have been forced into quarantine.

“We are at war with no ammo,” said a surgeon in Fresno, Calif., who said she had no access to even the most basic surgical masks in her outpatient clinic and has a limited supply of the tight-fitting respirator masks in the operating room.

Our own @jefferyd is spearheading a project to help source and deliver homemade gowns and masks to medical professionals in the greater Rochester, New York Area. However, he needs home sewers to help him with this effort. On his blog, he writes:


Got a sewing machine? Got a serger? We need you to help fight the virus! We just left a meeting with Rochester General Hospital about making our front line doctors and nurses face masks and hospital gowns. We can’t reopen the Hickey Freeman factory for safety reasons so we need home sewers – you!

Please send your email address, name, phone number, and home address to [email protected] and I will give more information as I get it. PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO CAN SEW

Those who know how to sew should reach out to Jeffery directly. He’s currently in the process of sourcing raw materials and putting together a game plan. Technical sewing patterns and video instructions will be posted at the “Work From Home” section of his website, which he intends to use as a hub for this effort. More information will be posted there and on his Facebook page, if you want to keep up with updates.
 

jefferyd

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The cloth we gave been given by the hospital is meets FDA requirements for surgical masks. Sewing factories have been designated essential services and will be put to work making masks, surgical gowns, booties, and other stuff. The hospital tested my prototypes in their sterilization unit and it worked. I have been working nonstop on this for several days now and we have had an incredible response from people. Right now the shortage is the raw materials.
 

Todd Shelton

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The cloth we gave been given by the hospital is meets FDA requirements for surgical masks. Right now the shortage is the raw materials.
I know you’re busy…could you give me the “industry name” of the medical-grade fabric that’s necessary for these products? And have you had any luck finding this fabric in unexpected places in your community? I can search my community.
 

jefferyd

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I know you’re busy…could you give me the “industry name” of the medical-grade fabric that’s necessary for these products? And have you had any luck finding this fabric in unexpected places in your community? I can search my community.
I am by no means a fabric expert so I will make a hash of this but most fabric is woven using yarns that interlock with each other. The fabric used in surgical masks, gowns, and other items is known as non-woven. I am familiar with non wovens because the clothing industry uses them as interlining in parts of our garments; it’s a bit like a felt in the sense that the fibers are matted together rather than woven. This aids in filtration and also can make the material impervious to liquids (blood, spittle, etc). I have no idea what “meltblown” means but that is the term for the product used in N95 masks. We can’t get any of that stuff and even if we did we don’t have the machinery to make them. What we CAN make is surgical masks using non wovens that are impervious to water and filter greater than 95% of bacterial and microbial matter, if we can get that material. I am talking with several sources of it (which is currently in VERY high demand) but we may be able to get a large quantity of it delivered to us. We are discussing the matter with state and federal officials, trying to move very quickly. Our local hospital had a stock of surgical drapes and sterilization wraps which appear to be effective for surgical masks, and they have successfully tested sterilization procedures on them as we are not a sterile production environment; I have been sewing masks for testing in my basement. Just the one hospital in our town uses around 15,000 masks per day so the demand is enormous and critical. We have also been informed that there is a demand for surgical gowns and booties, as well as other items for makeshift hospitals so we are talking with many of the
sewing facilities left in North America about producing these items.

I am having a hard time staying on top of all the communication channels but it has been through social media that we have made some of our most important supply chain connections so we are working very hard to stay in touch.
 

Todd Shelton

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We have also been informed that there is a demand for surgical gowns and booties, as well as other items for makeshift hospitals so we are talking with many of the
sewing facilities left in North America about producing these items.
We have 55 sewing machines and a skilled staff - in New Jersey. Keep us in mind if you need help.
 

gdl203

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Non-woven PP is the material used for promotional tote bags, most garment bags etc...
 

jefferyd

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Maybe? The non-wovens we were supplied by the hospital apparently meet FDA guidelines for surgical masks and they are going to be sterilized at the hospital. We are trying to figure out if other types of nonwovens used in automotive and other industries could also be used.
 

OccultaVexillum

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I’ve got 6 or 7 garment bags I’d be happy to mail to somebody.
 

nyarkies

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I guess it would be best to test one and if it works, come up with a description of what the material looks and feels (maybe a reference for comparison) because I'm sure not all garment bags or promotional totes have the same material. This is to avoid sending out unusable junk.
 

jefferyd

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Surgical Masks (not N95 respirators)

  • Regulated by FDA: FDA21 CFR 878.4040 (covers all surgical and isolation apparel)
  • Manufacturing standard: ASTM F2100 – 19 standard
    • ASTM F2100 Level 1 standards for material quality apply in hospital/ICU settings
      • Fluid Resistance with synthetic blood: 80mmHg
      • Differential pressure: <4.0mmH2O
      • Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) %: ≥95%
      • Submicron Particle Fitration (PFE) @ 0.1u, %: ≥95%
      • Flammability: Class 1
 

gdl203

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We probably have a box or two (hundreds of garment bags?) that we haven't been using since we moved to cotton garment bags. The only thing I know about the material is that it is PP nonwoven 80 GSM. Not sure if that's enough to conclude whether it can be used to make masks or gowns.

The other tricky part is getting those shipped, of course.
 

Zamb

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If donated, can those repurposed as masks?
3 to 4 ply of the nonwoven polypropylene in garment bags, offer a just as or greater level of filtering than the N95 issued by 3M
this is what we have been using to develop a prototype filter than we are in the process of testing.
Its sewn, and the seams are taped to ensure no leakage.
Uline has the garment bags in black, sold by the carton, Amazon has them in white.
 

David Reeves

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Ive also been looking into doing this, since we make using piece workers who generally work at home anyway we could do something like this quite nicely.

Where I think we will fall down is lack of a laser cutter or machine cutting tools, but I have put feelers out to Columbia to use there laser cutter and I am trying to get hold of a hand held rotary cutter or two.

I see that individual hospitals are ordering masks, I would like to supply through the state and get an agreed spec or pattern but cannot at present get any information on this.

I got this email for businesses looking to supply the state but have had no reply yet:

[email protected]

So what I am really looking for is a spec/pattern and how we can get these units out. I imagine we could produce around 1000 masks per day quite easily.

Anybody with any advice or help please email me here;

[email protected]
 

norMD

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I work in a hospital and we are beggining to see the surge of covid patients. All of these efforts are great! Still i am a bit conserned about the quality of homemade face masks. A local factory tried, but did not pass quality controll in a lab setting.

With good, predefined specs and good QC this will be great and safe!
 

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