We are in this together

An April 10, 2020 article in the Arizona Daily Star showcases how we are in this together as we all fight the COVID-19.

I’m making masks, and I am not the only one here in Tucson. There are so many of us! I especially love the closing sentence in Johanna Willett’s article:

“It turns out sewing is not such a lost art after all”


In “How to make, buy or find a cloth face mask in Tucson”, Johanna writes about a mask developed by University of Arizona College of Nursing volunteers. And local sewing shops that are ready with supplies. And instructions that are online, everywhere.  And local makers.

Amazing volunteers

I am SO GRATEFUL to the many volunteers who are coming in to help make these masks! Mary, Laura (not me), BB, Mark, Jaclyn, Karla, Nancy, Mandy, Angela, Elizabeth, Mike, Barbara, Marge, Rachel…to name a few!  Here we are in my studio turning seam tape into the ribbon for the masks.

Lots of mask designs out there

This first series of masks are made from scraps from my own garment production. I insist on using natural fibers, which is cotton in this case.

In making my masks, I have focused on a few design aspects.

First, I dislike the elastic behind my ears because it is painful pressure on my ears or head for all-day wear. I therefore use two pairs of ribbon, one you tie behind your head and the other you tie behind your neck.

Second, I want to make sure small droplets are not coming in from the sides or below the chin or around the nose.  I have engineered the mask to include some insulated copper bell wire across the top of the mask so you can fit to your nose, eliminating the gap that can let in droplets (and great for glasses wearers - no more fog!).

Finally, I have sewn Filtrete "1900" air filter material, cut to my pattern, between the interior cotton layer and the exterior cotton layer. The result is NOT medical grade "N95", but much better than cotton alone.

How to get your mask

Updated April 20: I'm taking orders for the second series of masks.  Masks are taking 7-10 days to make. Call my studio for payment instructions at 520-981-9891.  Stay safe and healthy!!

Mask Makers and Sewists Unite

But wait, there are so many more people doing amazing mask making!

For example, KGUN9 has highlighted several mask-making efforts below, and there are others by KVOA and other channels:

Mendels’ Wife The Tailor is making washing scrubs for medical professionals and making masks as well.

The costume shop at Gaslight Theatre are making masks covers to N95 mask covers, as well as wear-around-town masks. The mask covers are washable and intended to extend the life of the N95 itself.

As I mentioned above, the masks I am making use ribbon and are tied behind the head and neck. However, many masks use elastic that goes behind the ears. Kassidy Crawford is a Tucson sewist who is making headbands to which the elastic attaches, eliminating the chafing that can occur behind the ear from the elastics.

Mending Souls Tucson is a nonprofit that sews items for local charities, and with the arrival of the coronavirus this group of volunteers is currently making masks for hospital workers. They have over 500 volunteer members.

FABRIC is a fashion incubator in Tempe with an amazing workspace and variety of industrial equipment required for volume production. Their team is currently making much-needed PPE for healthcare workers. Specifically, re-usable isolation gowns.

Wear Your Mask With Style

The New York Times writes the “surgical mask has become the status symbol of our times”. It is very possible to look great in your mask! Make a statement, mix it up, or go for a matching colors and fabrics.

Andrea at Pomp and Ceremony uses luscious English cottons and sumptuous silks to craft amazing men’s ties, ascots, and more. Right now she’s also making masks from her gorgeous fabrics.

Be safe, stay healthy everyone!

Rey Skywalker wearing one of our masks