FAQ

Do You Still Need Masks?

Updated April 20th: This is the #1 question we're getting, and the answer is YES!  There are 93K people in Benton County. To date the Sewing Brigade has supplied 10K masks through our organization, and we estimate our volunteers have provided another 10K to their friends and families.  Even if 10K folks purchase their own masks elsewhere, that's still 63K community members without masks!  Yes, masks are needed and we appreciate everyone's help getting that need met!

Getting Involved

How do I volunteer?

We welcome volunteers to participate in a variety of ways! Sewing the masks and gowns is critically important, but there are lots of ways non-sewers can help out. We need volunteers to assist with laser-cutting the fabric, to drive donations and materials around town, and to help with basic maintenance to keep all the sewing machines humming along! Please see the Volunteer page for more information.

Mask Materials

 What are the right materials to use when making masks to donate?

Our patterns and materials have been developed in consultation with end-users from healthcare agencies and first-responders. While there are plenty of other patterns and materials available, we need to stick with this system to ensure that the masks you create can actually be used by the organizations we are serving! 


Masks should be made from 100% cotton because they can be easily washed. We have been asked not to use flannel because it retains too much moisture. Some masks (intermediate pattern) have ties made from bias tape or serged fabric. Other masks (beginner/simple pattern) use elastic. Masks cannot contain any metal (like nose-pieces) because they cannot safely be sterilized for repeated use.


What style/pattern of mask is most needed?

Updated April 20: We still need a good supply of all the mask types on our pattern page.  Please choose the pattern that works best for you and go for it!  Thank you!


Why no wire?

  • Fabricated n95 masks have a wire in them. The pocketed mask pattern is large enough to fit over the n95, or to be worn inside it. This is what the hospital and first responders intend to do - use our pocket mask as a protector for their n95 masks. 
  • When you bring us masks with wire one of our very few volunteers has to open the bag (contaminating it) and handle every mask to find out what kind of wire was used (was there glue used...can whatever was used handle the high temperatures of sanitizing, etc.). This takes time. It takes resources. We are FIGHTING THE CLOCK - we need to stop debating about wire and make masks! LOTS of masks! 
  • "But I only wear masks with wire or my friend or someone told me they have to have wire". Make a wired mask (or four!) for you and your friends and then crank out masks without wire per the approved patterns - PLEASE 💖


Ties: Vertical or Horizontal?

Horizontal for the best fit for the most people without gapping. Please follow the pattern instructions as written. Thank you!


What's the right length for ties?

Two long ties - sewn across the top & bottom of the mask - should  be at least 36" in length.  Some wearers might prefer longer ties (up to 44" ) if they have a bigger head, a lot of hair, a hat, etc.  


Four short ties - one sewn to each corner of the mask - should be at least 18" and can be as long as 24". 


Why no fusible interfacing or glue?

Glue is not a good thing to breath through. Some fusible interfacing may have a glue byproduct in it.  At the high temperatures necessary to clean/sanitize the mask, glues and glue byproducts can melt. Please follow the pattern without modifications. Thank you!


What's the right elastic for the ear-loops on the simple mask?

1/4" and 1/8" flat elastic is working best on the ear loops.  The very small elastic cord is pretty hard on the ears if you wear it for any length of time so we're trying to avoid that if possible.  Elastic much bigger than 1/4" is better donated for use on the gowns.

Can I use my own materials?

If you have the proper supplies on hand, please start making masks!


Where can I get materials?

We are continually accepting donations of fabric, elastic, bias-tape, thread, and pre-serged ties. Some of the fabric is even pre-cut for our mask patterns! These supplies (pre-cut fabric,  elastic, and serged ties) are available for pick-up at the Donation Drop-Off Site. Please wear your personal mask and gloves when you visit, and practice good social distancing.



Patterns

 Where do I find the patterns for masks?

We have developed three different mask patterns that meet the needs of the first-responders and health-care workers in our community.  Patterns can be downloaded from the Sew Masks page.


Where do I find the patterns for gowns?

The approved pattern for gowns is available on our Sew Gowns page.

Donations

 What kinds of donations are needed?

We welcome donations of materials and funds. Please check out our Donations page for more detail.


Where do I drop off donations?

Donations of needed materials are gratefully accepted at 1333 NW 17th Street; Corvallis, OR; 97330. Well-labeled donation bins are located with the mask-making supplies in the carport. Please stick to the requested items (check out the “Yes Please” list to see what we need). Other items (like those from the “No Thank You” list) just pile up at the carport and become the problem of the wonderful volunteer lending us their space.


What's the protocol at the Drop-Off/Pick Up Site?

We're trying to keep everyone safe and healthy while we move this project along.  Here's how you can help when you visit the 17th Street location: 

  • Use your own hand sanitizer upon arrival, or use the hand-wash station built by our awesome volunteers Neil Neilson and Suzanne Doyle!
  • Wear your personal mask and gloves while you're at the site.
  • Practice good social distancing.  We try to keep 2 people maximum in the carport.

What Do I Do With Finished Masks?

Where do I drop off completed masks?

Please deliver completed masks to our Donation & Drop Off site (1333 NW 17th Street, Corvallis, 97330). This is a volunteer’s home, so please tread lightly. We encourage you to wear your own PPE (gloves, mask) when you visit the donation site, and you can even use the hand-wash station built by some wonderful volunteers!  The carport is our hub – you’ll find labeled bins for your donations. This place can get busy so please exercise good social distancing while you visit - we don't want it to look like the TP aisle at Costco!


I can’t drive or go out. Can someone pick up the completed masks I’ve sewn?

Please contact corvallissewingbrigade@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to have a volunteer driver pick up your completed masks.

Proper Mask Use

General advice about the masks created from our patterns: wear your pleated mask to open PLEATS DOWN in front, so you don't catch anything in the "trough" of the pleats.

Who Receives the Masks, Gowns, and Face Shields?

Are these masks really being used?

Yes! As of April 18th the Corvallis Sewing Brigade has donated over 10,000 masks for our community! And that doesn’t count the hundreds of masks that our volunteers are also sewing for their friends and family!  We know these masks are being used TODAY by first-responders and health-care workers on the front lines. 


You can see a list of organizations and agencies receiving PPE from Corvallis Sewing Brigade here (
Who We've Helped). We do our best to keep it up to date, but please be patient with us on that =)


How can I request Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks, gowns, and face shields?

Benton County’s Emergency Operations Center is coordinating requests. The best way to request a mask or other PPE is to visit https://bentoncounty.recovers.org/ and click the “I Have a Need” button to submit your need. The Sewing Brigade team coordinates with the EOC to help meet these needs.

Facebook Groups

 We maintain two Facebook groups to keep our volunteer community connected, and to communicate updates. Please feel free to join:

Corvallis PPE Gowns & Gear Brigade