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Local seamstresses are sewing cloth masks for those in need during pandemic

Posted at 10:14 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 12:38:49-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The mask shortage during the coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for a surprising trade and shortage of a surprising product.

Fabric stores in Tallahassee say the seamstresses craft is in high demand.

Elastic is disappearing from store shelves as seamstresses look to help with the shortage of masks.

At Joanne Fabric, customers are finding creative solutions to deal with the elastic shortage.

"We're getting really innovative," said Sharon Pollock, a seamstress. "We use fabric loops over the ears. The problem with that is that you kind of have to fit it to the person. Like a 200 pound guy's face is bigger than yours and mine or a child's. The elastic makes it so it's kind of universal."

"This is what I'm going to use for the elastic for the hoops around the ears," seamstress Susan Chandler said. "And just as an extra barrier I'm putting an iron on pellon."

Some are making the masks to protect their families, while other donate to seniors and health care workers in need.

"I want to make a lot of them so I can give them to senior citizens that have respiratory issues, or anybody that has respiratory issues," said Chandler.

They say it's something that anyone can learn how to do.

Stopping the spread of coronavirus will take everyone doing their part.

From social distancing, to some work behind the sewing machine.

Wearing a mask can be a reminder to not touch your face.

And some hospitals are accepting them, but it's a good idea to give them a call before making a donation.


Instructions to make a mask:

  • Put right size of cotton and flannel fabric together.
  • Starting at the center of bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop.
  • Sew the elastic with the knot out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  • Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of that same elastic to the corner and so a few stitches forward and back.
  • Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner.
  • Again put elastic with the knot out.
  • Sew to next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  • Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5 inch to 2 inches open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  • Pin three tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are in the same direction.
  • Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

Source: JoAnn’s Fabric