As news of the pandemic sent Americans into a shopping frenzy, I had a few days to think about how I could make the world a better place with this virus going around. I could have made masks. I tried to go back to work in skilled nursing facilities doing Occupational Therapy. Before I knew it, school were closed, Maryland initiated a shelter-in-place order, and I bought toilet paper from the back of someone’s pick-up truck.

Journalists just had to blink for their next story, lack of equipment. Not just the complicated ventilators, but masks and gowns, too! Masks and gowns that were designed and made to be disposable. I put on my thinking cap and started right in on research for shape and fit. Se-ver-al months later, I have a design I’m calling “The Vary Veil.”

The name may need some work, but the concept holds up in product testing. It looks a lot like the cloth, washable masks a lot of people are wearing. The fabric is 100% cotton, along with the bias trim (from scratch, by me, it was pain in the @$). My latest versions have custom length earloops, but can be made with ties instead.

Here’s what’s different…. it isn’t a mask. It’s a reusable mask cover. The veil has lashings placed at the lower outer edge and at the fold across the nose. The lining, however, is not sewn into the bias binding. Instead, the edges are finished and the lining folds over to enclose your mask of preference. The veil can be worn casually as a mask due to the cotton construction, but the design fits into the existing PPE sequencing for donn/doffing.

Now, nurses and other essential personnel have an option to preserve their N95 respirator masks using an additional physical barrier. The veil can be laundered and put out with the other linens for patient-care staff to use.

Also, I wanted to make some cute ones for my girls. My fabric stash includes DIY cloth books. One is a story like the ugly duckling, but with zebras. It’s kind of amazing.