Helping from at home

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 4, 2020

Cloth originally destined for square dance outfits was given a different purpose when Zenda Bryan turned all of her spare fabric into cloth face masks to donate to Highland Community Hospital.

Bryan loves to craft and is an accomplished seamstress who even sewed her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress. With the COVID-19 pandemic, she began seeing something new in the Facebook sewing clubs she participates in: people from all over the country sewing face masks.

“I saw this and I thought, well why not?” said Bryan. “I did it because it’s my nature to help.”

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Bryan went to YouTube and watched some of the many mask making tutorials posted online.

“I would sit up at night and watch them,” she said.

Some are elaborate with pleats, small pieces of metal sewn across the top that can be bent around the nose like a normal surgical mask or pockets for new filter material to be put in the mask. All of them require tight woven material. Bryan tried to find a quick but effective method.

To make masks Bryan cuts out pieces of fabric that are approximately seven by 22 inches, folds it over and stitches the ends together to make a circle before turning them inside out, stitching the sides, and running elastic through the mask. It takes her four minutes from cutting out fabric to sewing the masks to produce each item.

Hospital staff were ecstatic when she dropped them off, Bryan said.

Forrest Health has a video tutorial on sewing face masks posted on its website, along with more information about how to help local hospitals during COVID-19.