WHO would have thought that the coronavirus pandemic would prompt people to pull out the old sewing machine?

But that’s exactly what’s been happening, according to Jodie Dunbar of the Wonthaggi Sewing and Vacuum Centre located at 167 Graham Street, Wonthaggi.

And she says some have even made inquiries about buying or updating their old machine for one of the sparkling Janome sewing machines or interlockers.

Most people though, are coming in to get fabric and supplies to make their own cotton masks, using such things as pipe-cleaners to stiffen the top of masks and the filters from vacuum cleaner bags to make the masks more effective.

Those resorting to masks are ahead of the curve according to Phillip Island scientist Mike Cleeland.

“I’ve been watching the response to the pandemic in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia) and they have had great success in flattening the curve by making masks compulsory,” said Mike Cleeland this week.

“It’s not so much for the people who haven’t got it but to stop the people who have got it spreading their germs,” he said.

The only issue, he says, is that plenty of people are asymptomatic and don’t know it so there’s a school of thought that everyone should wear a mask when outside just to be on the safe side.

“I reckon we’ll see masks coming in as compulsory in a future stage of restrictions.”

Some people have already wised up and in the absence of any masks in the marketplace, either surgical or from the likes of Bunnings, people have resorted to making their own from cotton and other materials.

These washable masks are said to be better anyway.

Warning: The reason why face masks are effective in a hospital setting is that health workers know how to wear them so they fit properly, to stop infection coming through, and how to take them off. They are also washed properly or discarded regularly. Avoid touching the front of the mask, only lifting them off by the earloops. If you fear contamination, either by yourself, or through contact with others, wash or discard. Do your own research if you intend to be a mask wearer.

Here’s a link for making your own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnzWltfQGn8