First off, this tutorial is dumb.
If you want to make your own cloth mask – and I highly recommend you do, since the cost is minimal & we now know that even healthy-seeming people can spread COVID-19 – just follow the Surgeon General's 45-second tutorial. It's way more practical and way less gross:
That said, I was bored, so here's how to convert a bra into two face masks:
You Will Need:
- A bra you don't want anymore (or that you want less than 2 masks)
- Sewing needle & thread (not pictured above, whoops)
- (Optional) Tape, to hold stuff in place before you sew 'em.
Mask #1: Around the Head with Bra Band & Hooks
Cut out one of the cups with the side-band attached, then cut out the other side-band:
Hook both bands together on the back:
Wrap it around your face snugly, and mark where the other band should go: (I marked the position with tape)
Sew it on from the inside, and trim off the extra cloth!
Finally, sew in a loop of string to go around your head over your ears.
And voilà – you have your first mask!
(I'm using my glasses to give the mask a good fit around the bridge of my nose, but if you don't have glasses, you can sew in a paperclip or twist-tie)
Now, let's use the rest of the bra...
Mask #2: Over the Ears with Adjustable Bra Straps
You should have 2 adjustable straps & another cup left over.
Loop the straps through their buckles, then mark where they should go on your mask. Your straps should attach to the outside of your mask, for a good fit!
(I also folded & taped the bottom of the cup, for a tighter fit around my chin)
Sew it together!
Hallelujah – that's your second mask, with adjustable ear straps:
That's all folks! Stitch out with yo' tits out~ 👙➡️😷😷
And Now, A Rant About Masks
Besides my bra, there's something else I want to get off my chest. (har har)
I completely fell for the "healthy people should not wear masks" thing.
Not "don't buy masks" – that's still damn good advice given we have a mask shortage & healthcare providers need them more – but specifically, "don't wear masks". For example, on March 2nd, 2020, the US Surgeon General said:
"You can increase your risk of getting [COVID-19] by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider [...] Folks who don't know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus."
So I trusted the expert, chose to not wear cloth masks either, and then I spread this advice to others.
All the Western public health organizations – and many of my smart, intelligent friends – said the same list of things:
- It'll make you touch your face more. (Though you could as easily say it's a reminder to touch your face less)
- It's hard to wear masks properly. (It's also hard to wash hands properly, but we don't advise people to not wash hands)
- Masks make you more reckless with handwashing & social distancing. (try: "Safety belts make you more reckless with signalling & braking.")
- Masks only stop you from spreading the disease, not catching it. And if you have the disease just stay at home. (Lots of folks – including me – were shocked to learn up to half of COVID-19 transmissions happen are pre-symptomatic... but honestly, given that epidemiologists already knew that the "regular" flu reaches peak infectiousness 1 day before peak symptoms, we should've at least prepared for this possibility.)
And the frustrating thing is: if the officials wanted people to not hoard masks, they could've just recommended cloth masks from the beginning. Well – credit to the Surgeon General – he did finally update his beliefs, and made the wonderful video tutorial above.
I want to be clear:
It is my fault for having believed & spread this misinformation.
I wish I could pretend I was just being intellectually humble, putting aside my skepticism and "trusting the experts". But honestly, I was intellectually lazy.
If I even gave it 5 minutes of thought, I could've realized most of the above rationales are bogus. And if I gave it 30 minutes of Google Scholar, I could've learnt that a tea cloth across your face is about half as good as a surgical mask. (thank you Jonathan from my Patreon comments for linking me to this study!)
So, I'm writing this rant out of an urge to be intellectually honest, with myself and others: I was a fool and a lemming.
But at least I'm an honest lemming.
Anyway, the moral of the story is "trust the experts" is almost never said by actual trustworthy experts. Experts don't rely on appeals to authority. They trust, but verify. I failed to verify.
Or maybe the moral of the story is "trust the experts from the mask-advising South Korean & Taiwanese health agencies who actually contained COVID-19, instead of the Western health agencies who faffed around for two months."
Or maybe the moral of the story is check out my coronavirus fursuit!