Mask on; mask off 

Local residents DIY masks for people in need

Ryah Hill

More stories from Ryah Hill

Rallying Raiders
September 1, 2021

photo credit: courtesy photo

Mask market \\ Showing off her recent hobby, local resident Jill Sheffler displays her DIY masks to give to nurses and those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I loved being creative and gifting to others,” Sheffler said.

Across America, the need for medical equipment such as ventilators, gloves and masks spiked once cases of Covid-19 had a massive increase. Not only medical workers were in need of some of this equipment, but the majority of the population is required to wear masks into grocery stores, shops, etc. This began to cause a major decrease in the supply of masks, but that didn’t stop the world from learning how to sew. Even across Wylie, residents from all over get their crafting on.

One resident, Debi Harris, decided to help hand sew masks and mask covers for nurses’ n95 masks (the required masks for nurses to wear), essential workers and neighbors/friends who were in need of masks.

I just wanted to help in any way even if it was just for one person. It took me at least an hour to make one mask, but I wanted to make sure they would hold up in the wash.”

— Jill Sheffler, Wylie resident

“We made 30 mask covers out of cotton fabric for the staff to use to cover their n95s,” Harris said. “They can take the covers home each night and wash them, thus prolonging the life of the hard-to-obtain n95s.”

To ensure that no money nor materials were wasted, Harris took on one of her old hobbies to help her with the process.

“The fabric scraps that I had used to make quilts for my parents were now used to make ‘matching’ masks,” Harris said. “Quilters typically don’t like to waste anything and save scraps.”

Other residents, such as Jill Sheffler, also made masks for nurses and other people in need.

“I just wanted to help in any way even if it was just for one person,” Sheffler said. “It took me at least an hour to make one mask, but I wanted to make sure they would hold up in the wash.”

The mask-making process is far from perfect, presenting the mask-makers with issues and struggles.

Trying to find material to use for the elastic bands was very complicated,” Harris said. “Elastic is very hard to find right now since everyone is making masks, so one alternative is to make ties out of fabric.”

Additionally, not every person who is in need of a mask is the same.

“Everyone’s face is so unique and different so I stressed about them fitting people correctly,” Sheffler said.

Even though the mask-making is time consuming and a lot to handle, Sheffler and Harris wanted to both make sure people recieved what they needed.

“My overall goal was to give to others, and give my thanks to those still working right now,” Sheffler said.


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