No one could have guessed that masks would become an everyday part of life in 2020. Seemingly overnight, every member of our community needed a mask, or two, or three. When things got tough, these local women rose to the occasion and used their skills to fill this need in our community. Keep reading to learn their stories.
Alexandra Saulino of Son of a Binkie:
“I am a one mama show, I design and sew all of my clothing and masks and make them at my home workshop in Malvern. Before COVID hit, I started an eco-friendly baby clothing company because I wanted cleaner, cooler, and more earth-friendly clothing options. I use organic cotton printed with low impact dye to make my bank robber bibs and harem pants. I also design t-shirts that are printed with phthalate free dye by a small shop in Philly on American grown cotton t’s.
So, since everyone was required to put a mask on if they wanted to go inside anywhere, I figured I would make people some nice cute masks that were 100% cotton, washable, and reversible. When so many small American businesses were suffering, I thought people would prefer to shop locally and not contribute to sweatshop labor, or make more pollution with disposable PPE, and I was right because I have made a ton of masks and have got a ton of positive feedback so that makes me feel really good.”
Masks by Jennifer Ball:
“It started somewhere around March 15th, 2020: The restaurant I work at closed and my personal cleaning business stopped. I was officially out of work, and once again a stay at home mom, with two children, ages 11 and 9. Watching the news when COVID-19 began, I thought, What can I do to help?
Because I love to sew, I started making masks and donating them to neighbors who worked at hospitals, doctors offices, and personal care centers. Living in a large neighborhood, I was able to take advantage of our Facebook page. It started with posting offerings of masks to those in our neighborhood who needed them, or simply just wanted one. Before I knew it 350 masks were gone and I felt like I was helping, making a difference, showing my children a positive spin on a negative time in our world. Giving when you can is such an important lesson to learn when we are young.
Thank you for purchasing my masks. Thank you for supporting a local mom, just trying to do the right thing with the god given talent she has been gifted. Stay healthy, stay covered, if not for you, for the other person who may be more susceptible to the virus.”
Masks by Lyn Graham:
“There was a prevailing quiet that blanketed the sky and land in March 2020. No planes were flying, no traffic was humming in the background in those long dark days. I started to make masks one by one at my kitchen table when our collective world came to a dramatic halt with Coronavirus 19. Each precious mask kept me busy and offered a purpose. I had my fill of making sourdough bread and wanted to help with something tangible for family and friends who were located throughout the country.
Julia, a Kimberton Whole Foods buyer, asked me for 50 masks at a time. Streamlining my style to cut, and sew all 50 at same time could have impressed my former 8th grade home-EC teacher! My daughter, Whitney, helped with the design of my tag: Wash Your Hands. While, my three year old grandson drew the picture. Family made many numerous suggestions about the fit of each mask.
My fellow mask makers are a generous group. With each mask I make (now close to 750 masks!) my attention turns to our collective humanity. We are all in this together, despite the fact that masks hide our expressions from one another. The color of masks serve an important role in our expressions since our mouths are hidden. Masks can be silly, serious, or neutral in identifying how we might see the day. I hope in some small measure, my masks help everybody through this challenging time.”
Judy Muche of The Quilt Cabinet:
“When not barefoot in my beautiful gardens, you can find me hard at work ‘masking’ like a machine! I have been in love with all things craft since I was a child which led me into a fulfilling career as owner and operator of Magic Touch salon located in Collegeville, PA, for the past 37 years. In addition to helping people look and feel good about themselves with a fresh new style, my other creative outlet has been through quilting, crocheting, and sewing. Thus began The Quilt Cabinet in 2011. You may know my work from the Perkiomen Valley School Quilt series. I made a few different items out of Mike Rowe’s used work jeans that were then auctioned off to earn money for the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, one being a lap quilt that earned $9,000 for student scholarships. In total, our partnership raised over $11,000!
Sew… This photo is me wearing the first mask I made to venture out to Kimberton Whole Foods on March 23 and that is where this journey began! I am so appreciative of Kimberton Whole Foods for allowing me this opportunity to help others stay safe and for being a stronghold in our community providing people with goods they can trust while shopping safely and securely.”
Ginger Seibert of Midnight Orchid Design:
“I was born into a Civil War Sutlering family, which is where my sewing started at a young age. I won my first stitch counter seamstress competition at the age of 9. At the age of 15 I discovered belly dancing. I was tall and do not like synthetics, which pushed me from 15 years old onward to make my own dance clothing. From that point on I started Midnight Orchid Design.
As things grew I was asked if I could create something for the Steampunk world. I had no idea what I was walking into, but said sure. I started to do conventions and have never looked back. My clothing line covers, but is not limited to: Belly dancing, steampunk, Fairies and all woodland or water creatures, street wear, dystopian, and just about anything I can think up. Many of my items are upcycled and I love the challenge of the right custom design.
This spring, I was sitting in Arizona at Wild Wild West Con when I got the call from my husband that airports were closing. When I got home, I did not plan to sew masks. Then I got the call from our local distillery needing masks so they could stay open and make sanitizer. I jumped to help. From there it steamrolled. Many orders came in from friends and family. As many of you know, you still cannot buy cottons. Thanks to my business, I had a large amount of elastic available and had a company that I could order from, along with a surplus of ribbon. Thanks to Kimberton Whole Foods, I have white coated ties that work perfect for nose pieces. We have also made masks for firefighters, police, and the national guard. To this day, we have made over 1500 masks in addition to donating over 300 beyond that.
Thank you all so much for the support from the whole team here at Midnight Orchid Designs. We are grateful for the support of a small cottage industry.”
Mask availability varies by Kimberton Whole Foods location.