Four sewing machines were whirring away on one table in the basement of Lutheran Church and School of Messiah.
Standing at a large cutting table, Ursula Clark was busy measuring and cutting fabric, then making sure she had all the necessary pieces for the assembly line of sewers.
Five volunteers at the church spent the past few days making face masks, which they donated to health care workers at Family Health West and Colorado Canyons Hospital.
“It’s something we can do to help,” said Gail Seeley, one of the volunteers.
Mike Redeker, the lead pastor at the church, had asked Dr. Korrey Klein, a member of the church who is the president and CEO of Family Health West, if there was something the church could do to help. Klein responded that his staff could use cotton face masks.
“I think that’s how it started,” Redeker said. “Then stuff happened behind the scenes and word got to the quilters and they connected that way. Once they get going, you just get out of their way.”
The women usually make quilts to donate, but they were quick to volunteer to try their hand at making masks.
They searched the internet for a pattern and instructions, got some specifications from the hospital and got to work. They made cardboard patterns for the face of the mask, figured out how to pleat the sides so the health care workers have enough room to insert a sterile liner, and away they went.
Instead of tossing disposable masks, which are in short supply, the hospital can wash the cloth masks, which have whimsical patterns to help brighten long days.
Thursday’s pattern was purple fairies, with Friday’s brown masks adorned with cats. The group uses cotton fabric it has on hand, stacked on shelves along one wall of their sewing room. More is sorted into bins under the cutting table, with even more in a large closet, which also stores several completed quilts.
Working in an assembly line, they got about 20 masks made Thursday, and Friday went a little faster because they knew what they were doing.
Seeley said it takes about 20-30 minutes to assemble one mask.
As they were working Friday afternoon, three people stopped by the church to donate fabric and ask if they needed help. One woman asked to purchase a mask for a health-care worker. The women happily gave her one.
Keli McCabe brought a plastic grocery sack full of cotton cloth, and said she’d be happy to bring more. When she offered to stay and help, the women shared what they learned, giving her a cardboard pattern and one partially constructed mask so she had something to compare. McCabe headed home to start her own mask-making project.
“I just saw it on a mutual aid page on Facebook that they were making these and I thought they could use some fabric,” McCabe said. “I’m going to teach my (14-year-old) daughter how to sew. She’s bored to tears. I’m not sure she’s bored enough to sew, but when I tell her why, I think she’ll get on board.”
Redeker is pleased his congregation is helping however it can.
“People are trying to look to help where they can,” he said. “This is a great way of doing it. These ladies make quilts for others, they get shipped all around the world, but this is something that’s really needed right now.”