When they heard there was a shortage of protective gear in the state of Ohio, Jane Pierce of zJayne and Hannah Mathews of Cleveland Sewing Company leapt into action. “We were inspired by Joyaltee, a New England-based seller who began making masks for her local hospitals. I just thought Hannah does production, I sew – we can do this,” said Jane. “We have a shop, machines… together we have something that can make a huge difference,” added Hannah.
They started asking suppliers for materials and within two days had enough donated fabric, elastic, and nose pieces to get up and running. “The support became this tight-knit rubber band ball of positive energy,” said Hannah.
The masks are procedural face masks made from 100% cotton muslin. The sturdy reusable masks will endure repeated washings and sterilizations. While the masks are not the N-95 type used to treat COVID-19, they are used for many other things by a variety of healthcare workers and are in short supply.
Jane and Hannah hope to donate 10,000 masks. They’re enlisting the help of other sewers by putting together kits of 100 precut masks that can be mailed back and forth to be finished. They’re currently seeking sources willing to contribute bolts of muslin, thread, and elastic, people to help sew, and financial contributions to offset postage and other costs.
While they’re hoping to assist with the area’s biggest need – local healthcare facilities – they recognize there are lots of organizations in need of smaller quantities as well. They’ve put together a video to teach others how to make their own masks. “We’re doing this thing and want to encourage people to contribute in their own way. Want to make ten or twenty for your local nursing home? Do it. Want some for personal use? It’s there,” said Hannah. “I chopped off our heads,” Hannah laughs about the video, but then Jane grows somber. “Time is of the essence. We don’t have time to watch this on TV.”
They’re still working out some of the logistics, like determining how and where to deliver the finished product. But then, they both remind themselves, it’s only been a few days. And what a whirlwind it’s been.
When asked if there was anything else they wanted people to know, Hannah answered “Just that this comes from a place of love and healing energy. There are lots of others doing similar things right now, but it’s not a competition. The more, the better. It’s all enough.”