Calling All Sewers!

Help Protect your Community from COVID-19

Over the last few days we’ve been doing a lot of research about DIY face masks to protect us from Viruses like COVID-19. We all need to be proactive about corona virus and it’s easy to feel like we can’t help much while being stuck at home but if you’re able to sew at home; this might be a great way to feel like you’re doing a bit more and keep you busy! Here are our findings in a very easy to understand format:


Q: Why make a Face Mask?

A: In many parts of the world it’s easy for consumers to see that it’s becoming more difficult to find supplies at retail level – and so getting your hands on a box of sterile gloves or surgical masks right now is seeming more like a day dream rather then an obtainable item on your shopping list. Face masks are proven to reduce the risk of contracting certain viruses and so having one of any kind during outings and using public transportation is a great way to improve your chances of everyone staying healthy in a time like this.

Q: Can A DIY face mask specifically help keep me safe from the COVID-19 Virus?

A: A lot of work has already gone into this! (Thank you to all the badass scientists who ran these tests to help us better understand this – let’s get these masks made!) There are obviously so many things to consider when someone says “DIY Face Mask for Corona Virus Outbreak” So according to a number of studies; If you’re going to make a Face Mask from home (or more than one!) it is best to use a cotton or cotton blend fabric, this can include a Tea Cloth, A Pillow Case, Tee-Shirt etc. A surgical mask is able to block about 80% of COVID-19 particles being transferred from person-to-person contact via droplets. A single layer DIY cotton mask blocks out about 50%. This percentage has the potential to dramatically increase with the use of more than one layer added to your mask depending on the fabric used.

Q: Is this really necessary?

A: We believe so! On March 20th Fox 26 News Reported that Washington State Hospital, Washington is calling for volunteers to sew medical masks as part of it’s “One Million Masks” Challenge. This was the first time I had ever heard of an industry that we all depend on so much calling for the help of everyday people for a task so important, I felt like we are absolutely obligated to help if we are in a position to do so. I would advise maybe beginning by making some for those we live with and then progressing to contact-free local distribution. I realized that I know a number of people that either I went to college with or I worked with or connected with through my business who are into sewing and it feels like this is a great place to start.

Free Mask Pattern & Instructions

Sewing is empowering! And because of this unfortunate and uncertain time, it can be really important too. At Von Gruning we have stopped production of bags and are strictly making COVID-19 masks at this time. we encourage sewers to download our pattern and join the crew! 

Our Masks

As of March 21st 2020 Von Gruning has discontinued the design and manufacturing of Handbags in our Toronto facility in order to develop Cloth Face Masks to help protect our surrounding community from the risks of COVID-19.

The Photos in this Gallery are the type of masks that we've provided the pattern and instructions for above. Ours are made with a high thread count double layer of cotton and melt blown polypropylene.