Joanns face mask

11 days ago

Don't believe the hype that Joanns is putting out about how instrumental they are in trying to provide materials to make face masks. It is largely, largely misleading and untrue.

There is no organized effort and there are no supplies being handed out and none to buy on any large scale.

There may be at the handful of locations that they have turned into what they are calling Creator Studio. That is less than a dozen locations in the whole country as of latest info.

The masks that they are claiming to be providing for are not really even the kind that the medical professional needs. These are fat quarters and elastic. That is fine for your own that you will be taking care of on a personal basis, but it is of relatively little value to any real medical setting because they don't have any way to handle such a thing made with calico and elastic.

It can't be sanitized as it needs to be and the fit can't be adjusted very well. And, if they are sent in by all manner of people from all manner of places, they need to be processed before using. That is not possible on any appreciable scale in this dire time. That would be like blankets with the smallpox or typhoid on them. Medical facilities can't do that. That would cause more potential harm than good. This idea of sewing them for a medical facility to use is pure nonsense.

It would have to be in a controlled environment under control and supervision and with suitable materials and standards.

Hospitals don't have the facilities to process this kind of thing!

Get real!!!

Go ahead and make them for you or for your daughter, mother, son, father, friend who is working medical and you are giving personal care and cleaning of them. But, to supply any institution with them in any meaningful manner is purely delusional.

Does anyone have any experience with this effort that Joanns is touting? My own experience in the store was that they had absolutely nothing to offer and I do think that the local one by me is closed now. It was a disaster in good times and growing more and more useless all the time, for anything.

Don't believe what they are trying to promote online.

Comments (39)

  • Elizabeth

    I agree. I considered doing this but these homemade masks are not necessarily sanitary, well fitting or appropriate for proper protection. I think they are better than a bandana and if you want one for your own peace of mine, go ahead.

  • Rose Pekelnicky

    My local Joanns is closed due to the govener's order; Pennsylvania.

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  • maddielee

    Some medical facilities are accepting homemade masks...follow the directions and patterns given.

    One of many

  • Judy Good

    I disagree, I know several places that ARE using them. Our local hospital just sent out a plea for more. These masks are not as good as the filtered mask, but they are better than nothing. They are washable, which is better than throw away at this point during our pandemic.

  • ci_lantro

    Copied from CDC website:

    HCP use of homemade masks:
    In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

    If you follow the home-sewers link at JoAnns, you end up at a site called WeNeedMasks.org.

    Copied from that site:

    With the shortage of protective masks facing the entire world, fabric masks are a crisis response option. This website connects health and care-related organizations and companies who need fabric masks with sewists who are willing to sew masks. The goal is to provide a resource to the medical community without adding to their burden with phone calls, as well as answer the desire from sewists willing to use their skills. In a time of fear and uncertainty, the desire to help is the thread of hope that holds us together.

    Fabric masks DO NOT provide protection from the COVID-19 coronavirus. These masks are intended for healthcare professionals who are versed in their potential use for their needs.

    I have read several articles over the past few days where home mask making has caught on in a huge way in Europe.

  • Judy Good

    This is a good explanation of the mask suppliers have. The homemade masks are closets to the top in the diagram. They are not in any means trying to replicate surgical masks and filtered mask's. But better than nothing.


  • morz8

    I don't know about the Joanns mask drive, our store closed many years back and the closest is an hour away. Our hospital is asking for masks though, and I see where one of the Kaiser clinics nearest my mothers senior residence has allowed 'protective gear from home' in the clinic now when they had forbidden staff to wear any from home or home made. Kaiser is allowing assistants use them, those staff who first see the patients, interview briefly, take blood pressure and temp. They had been working unprotected.

  • Bluebell66

    I'm not sure if/how my Joann's is handing out kits because they were out of elastic days ago. I believe I'm near Judy Good who posted above and many institutions in our part of the state are asking for masks and will take as many as people can make. They are frequently putting them OVER the N95 mask to prolong the life of the N95. Employees at our assisted living centers, mental health in-patient places and many others - even veterinarians - will take masks. My vet office is using handmade masks right now.

  • ci_lantro

    One idea that I had for homemade masks is to cut up pieces of furnace filters--the pleated polyfabric kind, not the fiberglass ones. I bought a filter the other day but have not tried it since I have a box of 50 masks that I bought back in January when Covid was still in China. Different MERV ratings but most of them filter down to 0.3 microns regardless of MERV. I suppose the higher MERV filters better??? Or is the fabric thicker? Anyone know? What I don't know is how easy it will be to breathe through the filter???.... If your air supply is what leaks from around the perimeter of the mask, that defeats the whole idea.

    The filter that I bought is assembled with a metal mesh guard/ screen but the mesh isn't attached to the fabric. Would be a good idea to use an air compressor & blow off the filter & dislodge any tiny fibers?

    Thoughts--crumble the pleated filter some to soften it up & make more pliable? Use cotton flannel for the inside lining, cotton fabric for the outside & the filter material sandwiched inside.

    Don't know how well it would wash. Perhaps hang outside in the sunshine to disinfect?

  • Olychick

    I saw some good directions online for mask making that suggested using felt inside because it's an unwoven fabric, which is suggest as a better filter than woven materials. Lots of directions are from Asian countries where they have lots of experience using and making masks (for pollution and crowded city's germ protection). Directions written also in English, but I can't tell from the characters, which Asian language is being used, so unsure of the country of origin. One I posted may be American of Asian ancestry? Not that it matters, lol!

    One of my friends who has lived in Japan several times and visits often, sends me lots of pics when she's there. There are always people in the photo with masks on and I asked her why - is it for specific purpose or general cultural germaphobia. She said it's probably a bit of both. But it appears that their tendency to wear masks has helped them keep the corona virus from spreading as much as it has other places.

    These are two I especially liked:



  • arkansas girl

    They are asking that the masks have a pocket that they can put in a filter to make them more efficient.

  • arcy_gw

    This debate will have no definitive answer. NEED makes their use change. There are medical establishments whose regulations have loosened to accommodate these masks and COVERS for more serious masks..in order for the safer mask's life to be increased. Other medical establishments have regulations that make these not useful. Giving them to the elderly, for example as a line of defense cannot be a bad idea. They do block 60-75% of virus transmission. Any defense is better than none--just don't put so much confidence in them that the wearer behaves recklessly. If we all wore one at all times--the collective result would be positive. Most places aren't desperate yet..hopefully won't be..but the perspective of need changes minds.

  • nicole___

    Our Nextdoor has mask making groups. They posted several videos with instructions: Like this one

  • Lukki Irish

    Ummmm...the masks I’m making can be washed and sanitized. The non woven fabric can be changed frequently. Hospitals want them, at least ours do.

  • Lukki Irish

    I’m going to add that the non woven fabrics vary in protection depending on what it is. Use a Vacuum Cleaner bag and you get 89% protection.

  • HU-629454853

    I am old enough to remember when ladies got together during WWII to tear up sheets to roll bandages. History repeats itself again.

  • kittymoonbeam

    89% is better than nothing at all! We are using our homemade masks and they can be washed in hot soapy water and dried in the sun where uv light falls on them 6 hours or more. I wear mine when I'm out walking and I will sew one for anyone who asks. They are easy and fast to make.

  • Lars

    I have everything to make them, except almost all of my fabric is silk. Will that work? I don't want to have to buy cotton fabric. Silk can be washed if it is not a regular garment. I have a lot of silk velvet, but I would not use that, and a lot of my silk is the correct weight.

  • wildchild2x2

    Well dallasannie! That went well didn't it? People are going to believe what they want to believe and continuing doing what makes them feel virtuous. Don't confuse them with facts.

    This remind of the times during disasters when people refuse to write a check to the Red Cross but inundate them and other service organizations with household discards creating a mess that ends up in the landfill.

  • Granny J

    I made several from 100% cotton t-shirt material. I used two thicknesses and they fit well although not as well as those you can buy with the metal nose piece. I have COPD and wear them anytime I go outside. I have a pocket in them where I insert a piece of used dryer sheet that I've washed in bleach water and dried in the sun.

  • dallasannie

    It is the reality that having the general population sending in home made things from all over negates the social distancing advise. These items arriving at a hospital setting and being handed out can be an avenue for the virus to spread.

    A hospital simply does not have the facilities to make sure that they are not handing out items that will harbor the virus. And the calico and elastic that many are using renders them unable to be sanitized in any approved manner.

    Then, there is the added factor that some are putting in pockets for filters, some are using vacuum bags or HVAC filters, or flannel, or two layers or only one layer, some are adding a wire or metal strip. Hospitals don't have the ability or means to give personal attention to all of these various factors that have varying needs for cleaning if they can be cleaned, at all


    Making them and using them and sharing them on a personal basis is fine. Medical personnel that want to use them and care for them on a personal basis should do so. But, for a facility to have a box of randomly produced items left at the door by the general population that is generally infected and have to do something to render them clean is a burden and they don't have the facilities or. means to do.

    How can they possibly hand these out to medical persons? For goodness sakes, we are being told that we can get the virus from doorknobs and breathing in the vicinity of someone who may have it but not be really aware of it. How can anyone be sure that the mask that was sent in by the general public does not harbor the virus? How do you know that the person who made it did not put to their own face to test the fit? How do you know they did not sneeze on it? How do you know that they are clean or that the cat didn't nap on the fabric as it sat on the cutting table, or the fabric is not some old sheet that smells of body odor, or some dusty old fabric that has been in a cardboard box for years or is moldy or smells of perfume? You know that those are real factors.

    Sure that the major portion are made by people who are thoughtful and aware and mean well.

    I am making some for my own family and it does seem that something is better than nothing. But, this is personal and with known factors between known persons.

    wild child, this happens as well with things that people knit for charity. Some of it goes to waste because it is not really usable, well made or clean.

    As of yet none of you have reported that you have actually been able to engage in this with the help of Joanns.

  • dallasannie

    arcy, you are right that the perspective is changed. However what has not changed are the basic fundamentals of sanitation. If those fundamentals are not observed it may cause unintended harm. No amount of good will and honest intentions can make up for the fundamentals of sanitizing and sterilizing .

    We just cannot ignore that fact that it is the general population that is infected and it is the general population that is making them in their homes and church basements where the virus lives.

  • ci_lantro

    I have seen very, very little discussion re: Covid19 'viral load' & 'infective dose'.

    Viral load is the amount of virus that an infected person sheds. Infective dose is what causes a well person to become ill.


  • Sammy

    “One idea that I had for homemade masks is to cut up pieces of furnace filters--the pleated polyfabric kind, not the fiberglass ones. I bought a filter the other day but have not tried it since I have a box of 50 masks that I bought back in Januarywhen Covid was still in China.”

    Perhaps you should donate those, @ci_lantro.

  • ci_lantro

    Sammy, suffice to say there are risk factors across members of my household and family that are valid reasons to hang onto the ones that I have. I bought them to share w/ my loved ones. And I will be taking some of my stash to a dear friend when I have to fly across the country next week. Were it not for those risks, I would not have purchased them in the first place.

  • Bluebell66

    Here is a request by Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine with links to two masks they will accept. I would imagine vet offices could use both these styles, but if you want to make them for vets, it’s probably a good idea to ask first.


  • smiling

    two hospitals near me have BOTH put put the call for homemade masks, and they have linked to two designs they can accept (both have elastic ear loops). I have a response in to them asking what to do when elastic is no longer available. Joann's wrote back to me today with links to three patterns that use tie-straps instead of elastic.

  • morz8

    KOIN TV Portland OR today on masks:

    Salem Health asks for public’s help

    Salem Health is asking for help to sew 10,000 masks for those
    healthcare workers. This week, employees at Salem Hospital have bagged
    hundreds of mask-making kits – enough for nearly 10,000 masks.
    The kits include surgical paper fabric, instructions and a bag for the
    finished product.

    (That's Salem, Oregon)

  • ci_lantro

    If you are making masks for yourself or immediate family and think you don't have elastic....

    Check your linen closet. Do you have any old fitted sheets. A lot of fitted sheets--most actually--have elastic around the corners and some even have elastic around the full perimeter. Some have fabric elastic but some are stretchy rubber like (would need to encase in fabric.

    I hesitate to mention the next one because I know folks are gonna' flip out. But, if you are really desperate fro some elastic, check your underwear drawer for panties that have seen better days but the elastic is still stretchy.

    Also, those elastic gift ties--would have to encase them in fabric because the metallic cover would be scratchy & uncomfortable. Also, I would double up on the elastic because it's thin & probably not very durable.

  • donnar57

    I was JUST at Joann's in my town an hour ago. I asked for a mask kit, curious as to what was in it. My kit consisted of a yard of paisley cotton fabric and a spool of white thread. No pattern, no instructions, no elastic, no interfacing. My mom, in Kansas, had my brother pick up a couple of kits for her to sew. Her kit had a couple of fat quarters, elastic, interfacing (a very light variety), a pattern, and no thread. Someone said there's no consistency in Joann's kits, and they're correct.

    I tried making a couple of face masks from an online pattern this morning, for my husband and myself. While the fit for me was PERFECT, there was no breathability. I breathed, my glasses fogged up. I used what I thought was 100% cotton from my stash (though it could have been a poly-cotton blend) and lightweight interfacing, fusible. I think without the fusible, I might have been able to breathe and not fog up my glasses.

    So I will try a mask or two from the fabric and thread that Joann's gave me, download the pattern they said is on their site, and bring them back. It occurred to me, too, that they're going to have to wash these before distributing them, for exactly the comments made above.


  • ci_lantro

    Interesting that some people are having a cow over Hobby Lobby being open but I haven't heard a word of protest about Joann's.

    Copied from JoAnns' site:

    Valued JOANN Customers –

    In these uncertain times, I want to update you on the latest developments as we work to continue offering much-needed inspiration and respite, as safely as possible.

    I am incredibly proud to be part of a retailer that powers thousands of small businesses and sellers, inspires creativity and learning, and helps millions of people make to give to charity. Now more than ever, it is important that we continue to safely provide what these Americans need to support their livelihood, mental wellness and community giving.

    As shared previously, we have been taking action to ensure we are protecting our facilities, customers and teams across the nation. We continue to rely on the guidance of public health agencies, including the CDC and local, state and federal governments. As such, we are taking proactive measures to protect all who visit and work in our stores.

    • Store Hours: To operate safely and efficiently while serving our customers, national store hours will be temporarily changed to 9am-7pm. Some stores may be closed or have further limited hours, depending on local restrictions and recommendations. Please visit joann.com/stores for the most up-to-date closures and hours information.
    • Shopping Options: We are now offering Curbside Pick-Up at all open locations. Simply make a purchase via Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store, and call the store when you arrive. We also offer convenient Ship to Home offers at joann.com and on the mobile app, so you don’t even have to leave home.
    • Store Events: Until further notice, all in-store events, classes and group gatherings are being postponed. All previously purchased classes can be rescheduled free of charge once they are reopened.
    • Free Inspiration: I am glad to share we are offering more inspiration at home with thousands of free projects, video classes and an offer of 2 months free of Creativebug, a creative learning service with inspiration for all.
    • Team Member Support: We are doing all we can to support our amazing Team Members, especially those who are cleaning our stores, stocking our shelves and bringing Handmade Happiness to customers. We are providing dedicated daily and real-time updates; offering benefits including a variety of leave options and Employee Assistance Programs; have added maintenance support; and are implementing remote working options for corporate Team Members. Our People are what set JOANN apart, and they are always our first priority.

    As we’ve reiterated from the beginning of this unfortunate situation, the well-being of all JOANN customers, Team Members and partners is our main focus, and we will do all we can to get through this together -- as a strong, tightknit and caring community of creators.

    Wade Miquelon
    President & CEO


  • ci_lantro

    And apparently Michael's has not shut the doors either.


  • ci_lantro

    Hobby Lobby, on the other hand, IS closed on Sunday.

  • dallasannie

    All three of those retailers ...Joanns, Michaels, and HB, have come under fire in the media for trying to declare themselves to be essential. Also, Gamestop has tried the same strategy.

    I read that at least one Joanns had employees protesting with signs and one reported that all of the workers just refused to show up for work. In another instance the local Joanns was forced to close by the local authority.

    I think that this half assed effort by Joann to declare that they are supplying a vital need and product to make masks was just a ploy by the company to stay open.

    Aside from just a couple of people who say that they got this or that from a Joanns store to make masks, the truth is that it is far between and a feeble attempt to make the retailer look good.

    Not only have they failed the home sewer in normal times with all of the turn over to cheap crafts and bolts of fleece, now they have bartered with the hearts and minds and attempted to exploit our good intentions. Shame on them!!

    Also, the limitations that hospitals have in accepting home made items for use in the medical setting are coming to the fore. It is just a simple not to be ignored fact that these items have to be processed before they are handed out to anyone to use. And, that is an enormous problem in itself.

    I read this morning that Duke U found that they can make reusable N95 masks by hanging them in a room that is treated to a four hour aerosol misting of hydrogen peroxide that is provided by a specialized machine. It sounds like that has possibilities.

  • dallasannie

    ci-lantro, The issue of Joanns trying to stay open has popped up in quite a few news headlines. It has gotten attention and coverage. There is so much going on. Maybe you just missed seeing it.

    Employees are protesting it. Retailers like that don't pay a living wage, much less a dying wage.

  • dallasannie

    I am wondering if adding a layer of non woven interfacing would be to any advantage.

    Joanns was almost sold out of interfacing when I went in that last time to investigate what they were advertising as their efforts. I found one pre packaged roll and went ahead and bought it.

    I think that sew in is the best because it does not depend on any adhesive to keep it to the fabric. Heat and agitation in the washer will often cause iron in to come apart.

    I am only making what I have for family and friends.

    Any thoughts or opinions on the interfacing?

    The interfacing shelf was almost empty, but I haven't bought it in a good long time and it may be that the lack of supply was just part of the new normal that was happening at this Joanns location. they have been out of many things for a long time before any of this, including elastic. Indeed this retailer has been pretty useless for a while now.

  • ci_lantro

    I consider the home made masks as items of last resort and mostly for personal use. And my interest is in how to make them better (such as using filtering media in a fabric sandwich) in a worst case scenario.

    I was reacting the posts on this forum--more than a couple--that have singled out Hobby Lobby for condemnation in one breath and then at least insinuating in the next that Joann's is OK. Perhaps from a perspective of religious intolerance; I hope I am wrong with that suspicion.

    I'm not even religious; in fact, I am agnostic. So, I don't have a dog in the fight other than being someone who is intolerant of intolerance. It's just wrong. And ugly. The Constitution has things to say about that.

    When I lived years ago in a town that had a Hobby Lobby, I will admit to having been annoyed after driving to a Hobby Lobby and finding it closed. So, I told myself, OK, dummie, you forgot that it was Sunday; it's their store; their rules; their belief; respect that; come back tomorrow.

    Rather than single out any specific craft retailer, the debate should be on what is Essential. Crafting supplies? a Lesser essential, IMO. But I can see two sides--lock down to slow the spread of the virus vs Moms w/ kiddoes who would like to have access to supplies to keep 'em occupied; Etsy types who need supplies to make stuff to supplement income; hobbyists needing stuff to keep themselves busy during the shutdown. So fiscal and mental health considerations to weigh into the equation.

    As far as the employees--no science to back this up but I would think that they are exposed to a lesser degree than say, grocery store cashiers. Less store traffic? Still, anyone who is out there on the retail front line is at heightened risk. I feel for all of them. To be honest with myself, were I in that position, I would have packed it in.

  • donnar57

    More on the Joann's kits controversy. I just talked to my mom, who got a kit containing some fat quarters, corded elastic, "interfacing", and the pattern. (This is more than I got, which was a yard of fabric and a spool of thread.) Her "interfacing" had an insert that said "Pellon 915 Cambric", and she said, "whatever this is, it's cheap and falling apart!" I got on my computer and looked it up -- it's 100% polypropolene cloth. Here's Pellon's brag, " It is great for use under upholstered furniture to conceal webbing and springs, for protection against dust on the underside of furniture, for use under lamp bases to prevent surface scratching, and to help finish pieces like a professional."

    I immediately thought of the stuff under my dining room chairs. It is literally disintegrating onto my carpet and floors with pieces of black dust. I've only had those chairs about 6 years, too. If this is the same stuff, what is going to happen to those masks when someone washes them? Might as well not use the "interfacing" at all.

    I'm going to pass a Ziploc bag with 4 masks to Joann's tomorrow. Two masks have no interfacing at all and elastic (of my own donation). Two have fusible interfacing, woven, one thin layer, and long ties. I don't have enough fabric to make any more. I am currently drying them inside a laundry bag, which I will dump into a Ziploc bag without touching them.

    Neither my mom nor myself were thrilled with the instructions. They left a LOT out. The Stitching Scientist site had much better instructions for much the same mask. Joann's pattern also left raw edges on the cheek sides of the mask, where the elastic is; Stitching Scientist had 2"x5" strips of fabric used like bias binding, with the elastic sticking out on the inside to be pulled to the outside.

    I just checked; I see Joann's must have gotten some heat over their instructions, the site has been changed! Well it's too late for some of us who have already made these.

    Mask Pattern; Stitching Scientist


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