Face Masks as a Connectedness Practice
(Plus Simple Photo Instructions for Sewing a Cloth Face Mask)
A few weeks ago, the CDC began recommending that everyone in the United States wear a basic cloth face mask while in public. In response, my friend, Sydney Morgan, created an easy-to-follow photo-based pattern for sewing a face mask, and with her permission, I’m posting it here.
The reason I’m posting this pattern on Science of Connectedness is because I think wearing a face mask in public is one of the best ways to cultivate Community Connectedness and engage in prosocial behavior right now.
Wearing a face mask is a prosocial behavior because it’s meant to protect others more than it protects you. According to the CDC director, up to 1 in 4 coronavirus carriers could be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t feel sick but are still able to spread the illness to other people. To put this in dire terms: even if you feel totally healthy right now, you might still be able to spread the virus to other people, some of whom could die if they get sick. One of the ways to prevent you from unintentionally spreading coronavirus is by wearing a face mask while in public.
Given that our daily activities—especially those involving other people—are severely limited because of the coronavirus pandemic, wearing a face mask is one way to still feel like we’re engaging with our communities. Every time I put on my face mask to go to the grocery store, I am reminded that I am part of something bigger than myself—a worldwide community collectively working to overcome an invisible and deadly obstacle. When I remember this and wear my facemask with awareness, I feel like I am cultivating Connectedness with other people (which is important because Community Connectedness is one of the four spiritual health relationships!).
Of course, wearing a piece of cloth over our nose and mouth is not the same as spending quality time with our friends and family in person, but hey, I’ll take what I can get to bolster my spiritual health during these strange and unprecedented times!
So, without further ado, here is the pattern:
Credit: The original pattern was created by the founders of MakeMasks.org. My friend, Sydney Morgan, adapted it and created the photo-based pattern that I am sharing here. If you would like to see the original pattern (which has been updated since Sydney adapted it), you can view that here.
Warning: This particular mask pattern has not been evaluated for effectiveness or protection against viral particles and is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical-grade PPE such as the N95 respirator.
- Sewing Machine: This pattern uses a sewing machine. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine and are struggling to make a face mask, MakeMasks.org is helping pair mask requests with mask donations. (Talk about another way of cultivating Community Connectedness right now!)
- Fabric: According to this Stanford study, the best fabric to use is tightly woven 100% cotton, like quilting fabric or a tea towel, which is said to be more effective than a cotton t-shirt. (However, the CDC says a t-shirt will also work, especially if that’s all you have available!)
- A way to measure the fabric (measuring tape, ruler, or cutting mat)
- Thin cardboard
- Optional: Elastic band for strap (instead of making a cloth tie)
- Optional but recommended: Twist tie for the nose bridge
- Optional but recommended: coffee filter to put inside finished mask
And there you have it! Welcome to the community of face mask wearers 😊
Happy cultivating Community Connectedness from a distance!
P.S. Want a laugh? Recently, when talking about why people should wear face masks, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “It prevents you from breathing [on others] or speaking moistly.” Yes, Trudeau actually said, “speaking moistly,” and Canadians can’t get over it! It added some much needed brevity to a challenging time, especially when one creative Canadian turned the news clip into this song 🤣