Neighborhood: Highland Park
What led you to start making masks?
During the month of April, when the lockdown started, I noticed a number of sewists and seamstresses making masks for donation to various hospitals across the Pittsburgh region. I was furloughed from my position at the Carnegie Museum [of Natural History] and decided to help with the efforts. The first mask I made I posted on a few social media platforms and a few people inquired about purchasing. I already had an Etsy account and I decided to post a few pictures to see if others would be interested. Since that initial post I’ve filled over 700 orders for masks.
What considerations did you make when designing and developing masks?
Initially I didn't account for beards, or people with different hairstyles. I’ve since edited the pattern to allow customers to customize the mask to each person's head. I now also carry larger masks, and a mask with a filter pocket. I’m currently working with a production partner on a number of different sizes and styles.
What challenges have you encountered while mask making?
Initially, I was having trouble keeping up with the demand. Honestly there were a few days where I didn't sleep or started neglecting self-care to try and fulfill orders. A close friend of mine has stepped up to help and I have a wonderful pattern-maker that has also assisted with efforts.
What fabric designs do you use?
I use a variety of fabrics that are imported from West Africa, including a wax print fabric from Ghana. I try to choose colors that are fun and vibrant.