Merry Mask Makers need help making homemade masks for first responders

Posted at 9:59 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 00:17:48-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — A group of seamstresses in Colorado Springs are busy at work making masks for health care workers and first responders. The Merry Mask Makers of Colorado Springs have delivered and received some big orders and tell us they need volunteers who know how to sew to give them a hand.

The group started on Facebook. Founder Alexandrea Dillon is ordinarily a science teacher. She made a few masks for her own family and then posted to online neighborhood group to see if her neighbors wanted some. From there, it took on a life of it's own.

"The group is about 500 seamstresses strong as of this morning," Dillon said. "We've donated over 4,000 masks and we have requests directly from all kinds of agencies, mostly hospitals and law enforcement and DHS for more than 6,000."

Most of their masks are made from doubled over cotton, not exactly hospital grade but strong enough to block droplets. They also have a supply of fabric donated by the Something New Boutique for the masks they give to hospital employees.

"We do have access to some fabric, it's called non-woven polypropylene, and that is what hospitals use for their medical grade masks. So, our masks are not medical grade, but the ones that have this fabric inside are using that hospital grade material."

However, the mask makers are only making masks for healthcare workers and first responders. And on Friday the president and our governor asked everyone to cover their faces in public.

"For people to say, okay by tonight you need to be wearing masks, that's a lot to ask," said Vicky Camerron. She tried to buy some elastic from Walmart, but it was sold out.

"Hobby Lobby, all the fabric stores in town are virtually closed," she said. "So, it's hard for people to do that. If they're not creative and they've not sewn before, it's going to be difficult for them to make masks"

The governor is encouraging the public to visit the website Colorado Mask Project. It has videos and tutorials on how to sew your own masks at home. There are also examples that don't require stitching.

Dillon from the Mask Makers cautions people to ensure the mask fits securely over your nose and mouth.

"Handkerchief masks are definitely better than nothing, but you'll see that if you put it against your face there are a lot holes where air can enter, and then of course the virus," she said.

If you have a sewing machine and would like to volunteer, you can contact the Merry Mask Makers through their website and Facebook Group.

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