This week has been a whirlwind. Cliff Notes edition is, we hired another sewist, brought back some more of our staff, and applied for all the different funding options that apply to us. (That was last weekend's fun outing.) We have ordered die cuts, which are basically fancy cookie cutters for fabric, so that we can make masks more efficiently. We will roll out layers of fabric and then punch the cookie cutters through many layers! It's a dream come true. The cutting table we have is awesome but it can only do one layer of fabric at a time and then we have to organize the cut pieces. This is a big bottle neck to the process, since with the increased staff power we can sew faster than we can cut. We managed to order more fabric, which is not easy since it's not shipping as usual from all the places where it normally ships. Many companies are trying to buy it up since they expect it to sell out and further supplies to be unavailable.
The last and biggest thing we did was buy a proverbial fuckton of filter material that's being used in medical grade masks. It took us a lifetime of emails, calls, and reference sessions with our scientist friends to understand the world of filtration. This is a whole new language for us! Finding this material available for sale was a small miracle as most places are sold out until 2021. We decided to order meltblown polypropylene material, which is certified for level 1 ASTM when used in medical-grade equipment. Since our masks are not medical grade, the filter material will not function at any certifiable level, but it's a good mask filter option we can get our hands on. We will have filters available ASAP. We will also offer yardage available to those making masks, whether a certified PPE company making medical grade masks or a small crafting group making masks for their local community. If you know anyone that falls in these categories, please share!
What a week! It feels like as soon as we grasp the handles of our new reality, something new comes up to conquer. We're steadily moving forward though, stay tuned for what's next!