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UPDATE: We Now Have a Medically-Reviewed PPE Suit Design!

It's free to use! Here's how you can contribute to the Philippine fashion industry's fight against COVID-19.
UPDATE: We Now Have a Medically-Reviewed PPE Suit Design!
IMAGE Shutterstock, INSTAGRAM/michdulce
It's free to use! Here's how you can contribute to the Philippine fashion industry's fight against COVID-19.

UPDATE: With the help of Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Jesus Julio Ancheta of The Medical City Sta. Rosa Laguna, Vice President Leni Robredo and fashion designer Mich Dulce have identified that the ideal, recommended material for PPE suits is taffeta SBL. The doctor also reviewed and approved the very first prototype of the suits, deeming it ready to go into mass production. Read VP Leni's post, here!

 

ORIGINAL STORY: Designer Mich Dulce and her cohorts at the Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club (MPGSC) made a breakthrough announcement this morning. The design for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suit they have been working on for the last few days has officially been reviewed and approved for use by the medical team of the Open Source Covid19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS) initiative.

There are a lot of nuances to designing a suit—for example the number of seams and holes are kept to the least number possible to prevent any penetration of infectious body fluids—and securing this approval means that the design the group is using can provide proper protection for the wearer. Making use of the PPE suit pattern of the MPGSC helps ensure that the garment produced is as close to medical standards as possible. (Note: Medical-grade suits must be produced in a sanitized environment and must get a number of certifications.)

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The OSCMS was formed to "evaluate, design, validate, and source the fabrication of open source emergency medical supplies around the world given a variety of local supply conditions to address the need for medical supplies like ventilators, respirators, PPE, etc. to be produced quickly given the fast paced spread of the coronavirus.

Gui Cavalcanti, one of the administrators, wrote this post today: “We are excited to announce that we have our first medically-reviewed open source suit design!!! The Open Source Medical Supplies medical team has reviewed this gown design, and suggests you make it out of Tyvek 1433R (i.e., thin and flexible covering) you would find in any hardware store."

Previously, Preview sent out a widespread call for fellow fashion industry friends to join hands and help produce personal protective equipment (PPE) suits for our hardworking medical frontliners. Should you still wish to pitch in and help, here's what you need to know about it right now:

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1. The Personal Protective Equipment suit sewing patterns are now available.

The very detailed tech pach was mapped out by Kendi Maristela, a clothing and technology graduate, now instructor, from UP Diliman. The sewing pattern for the PPE suit pattern was created by Lea Empalmado, modeled after actual suit samples sent by Vice President Leni Robredo's office. It was digitized in actual size by graphic designer AJ Dimarucot.

It can be downloaded from this link for free. Mask patterns are also available.

"As you can see, there are minimal seams in this pattern. Sewing seams make the garment more permeable because of needle holes. Please read through the techpack for full construction details based on what kind of machine you have accessible," Mich wrote. "These recommendations are here to try and get it to be the best as we can despite it being a non medical grade suit. The less seams the better!"

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While the fabrics the group will be using may not be medical grade, the doctors Mich's team has consulted with say it is better than nothing and these handmade PPEs can still offer protection. However, controls have also been put in place to make sure the fabrics being considered for use are the right quality for PPE (waterproof or water repellant), and will really give the wearer protection. 

2. Donations in cash or in kind are accepted.

You can still support the endeavor even without sewing capabilities by giving two types of donations. 

In-kind donations can be coursed through Cynthia Diaz (cel. no. 0917 866 2496). These include:

-Water repellant fabrics such as umbrella/raincoat material, poly microfiber, and taffeta

-Non-woven material, 50gsm and up

-Zippers of 26-inches or longer, or continuous zippers

-Garter or elastic that's 1/4-inch thick

-Velcro

-Twill tape or ribbon that's 1/4-inch thick

-Manila paper, which will be used for pattern replication

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Monetary donations to help purchase needed materials and help fund the logistics of distribution can be deposited through Stephanie Tan at BPI Savings Account number 4169-5911-43.

3. A call for garment factory owners has been issued.

If you own a garment factory that you'd like to volunteer for the manufacturing of PPEs, please contact Patrice Ramos-Diaz via Facebook.

4. The Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club has an official Facebook group you can join.

Aside from being able to field all your questions about the medically-reviewed pattern in the group, members are also able to efficiently source needs (be it materials or sewers) from each other. The group administrators are also working with the Office of the Vice President for the distribution of the produced PPE to the various hospitals in the country. 

This is a developing story. Please come back for updates.

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