Sewing for a Cause

MaKayla Lee

Amid this pandemic, the spring has brought out new interests in the members of the Mount Vernon school district. These new interests have formed to be hobbies, allowing some students to have taken their down time a step further into actively helping others.

Like others, I have been sewing masks for the community’s grocery store employees, family, friends, other community members, and for the retirement center Methwick in Cedar Rapids. I have made multiple types of masks but the most recent type was inspired by Jo-Ann Fabric, a store offering several resources to create these masks. At first it was a struggle to catch all the supplies since there seemed to be a shortage of elastics in stores. Even the free packages to make masks at Jo-Ann’s came to an end due to the shortage. But now there are upcoming ideas of alternate designs and a restock of products in stores. I love the designed mask packets offered at Jo-Ann’s for free. I feel that their design has a better fit and their template is already made for you in children’s, teen’s, and adult sizes.

Apart from myself, other students have helped our community. Freshman Amara Williams made masks for her family and continued her line of help by donating the rest of her fabric to her neighbor who often makes masks for others.

In addition, senior Sadie Player also takes part in donating her masks to her family and friends. With the help of her church she has also contributed masks to factory workers.

Like her peers Junior Kathryn Edwards makes masks of her own. Kathryn said “We ended up donating about 50 masks to Mercy Hospital and we made a couple extras for our family and grandparents.”

To create a mask one needs tightly knit cotton material, some form of elastic or straps, a sewing machine or needle and thread, and a form of a filter (optional but recommended). Depending on the type of mask you want to make will vary the process of making them. However, a tip from family and consumer scienceteacher Trista Lynner is offered to those who are making the medical type of masks: “I found the easiest way was to press the pleats and pin, this helps to keep the mask nice and flat for sewing.” Even with the other types of masks, pressing the fabric before sewing makes a big difference.

Creating homemade masks has grown tremendously due to COVID-19. In this time of need it’s important to recognize the help that comes to those who receive masks and makes them if they can. In fact, you could help too.
Attached are links to the steps in creating examples of each type of the masks and other resources.