“I am now on my third sewing machine”

How an amateur stitcher found purpose in making masks.

June 23, 2020 | | Pandemic Journals

RaDeana Montgomery found a pattern for a cloth face mask online and hasn’t looked back.

RaDeana Montgomery found a pattern for a cloth face mask online and hasn’t looked back.

My story is simple: How one non-medical face mask turned into 500.

When the pandemic hit, 60 per cent of my Orangeville business came to a halt. As a social media manager and videographer, the video component of my job ceased operations and my social media work changed. Some clients stopped, some cut back and some pivoted and created new businesses.

One day I saw a pattern for a cloth face mask online so I made one for myself to try the pattern. I used to sew a lot but stopped when my life got too busy. Recently I had started making fabric gnomes and offering them on my Facebook page, RM Designs Orangeville. Anyway, after two hours of trying to figure out the pattern, I created one mask.

I posted it on my page and suddenly friends wanted some. So the original deal was: I will make you a cloth face mask if you make a donation to charity. Then suddenly word got out I was doing this and a lot of people started contacting me. I started to realize that elastic and fabric were getting as hard to find as toilet paper. So I started charging but said that for every order I would make a mask for someone at SickKids or to donate to someone in the community. I make them in all kinds of patterns, including children’s prints, solids, florals, Canadian-flag designs and business logos. I also make graphics, including masks that read “Stay 6 Feet Away”. So far I have donated more than 50 masks.

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  • I charge $5–$12 a mask, depending on the fabric and whether I added graphics. I am now on my third sewing machine. This has become a second full-time job as my regular business has now started to ramp up again. But I will keep going until no one needs another face covering or until Covid-19 is gone.

    About the Author More by RaDeana Montgomery

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