A local seamstress has been offering her services making masks during the COVID-19 outbreak, but has become overwhelmed with the demand.
Jessika Voorhees, owner of Custom Cut Threads in Sylvan Lake, has been making masks for those in need during the pandemic, but is now asking those with sewing skills to lend a helping hand.
The demand for the masks she makes has grown exponentially in recent weeks, and she doesn’t see an end in sight.
“If 10 people were to help by sewing 10 masks each, that would be an extreme help,” Voorhees said. “Even if it is just attaching the strings and sewing the top stitch would be a help.”
It takes Voorhees roughly three days to sew together 100 of her masks, which have a nose piece and a pocket for a filter.
Demand for the masks she has designed increased after medical experts said wearing a mask in public could help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Voorhees says requests for masks have increased for essential workers.
“I recently received an order for 75 masks from Calgary. The Alberta government says if you work in a space with more than five people in it than everyone must wear a mask, so those calls have increased,” she said.
Voorhees’s business consists of just herself working out of a basement studio, and says the it has become hard to keep up with the orders.
For those who are “even remotely good with a sewing machine,” Voorhees is putting together packs of 10 masks o be sewn together, depending on experience.
She says some may require just a top stitch and string attached, or everything sewn together from the pattern.
“I will cut out all the pieces and give instructions on how to put it together for those who are more comfortable,” said Voorhees.
The masks are available for anyone in need. Voorhees says she has every sort of business and “walk of life” contact her for a mask.
She says if wearing a mask makes a person feel more comfortable in today’s world than she has done her job.
“I started making masks right from the beginning of all this. I had a lot of naysayers at the time, but I wanted to do my part to help those in need,” she said.
The masks Voorhees makes went through a number of trials before landing on the current iteration of the mask. She said she followed a number of recommendations from health care professionals and the World Health Organization.
She is prioritizing those at a greater risk of contracting the virus, but says the mask is for anyone who wants peace of mind.
“I had large orders initially, people who wanted to order one mask for every person in their house. I’m going to have to limit the number of masks per household, to keep up with the demand.”
She asks that those who can, make at least a $5 donation to help pay for the supplies needed to create the masks.
However if someone is unable to pay and needs a mask because they are an essential worker or a high risk individual, a donation is not needed.
“I may have had a few people take advantage of not having to pay, but than others with make a donation of $10 or $20, so it balances out,” she says.
In addition to making masks for those in need during the pandemic, 10 per cent of the proceeds raised from donations will be given to Serenity Pet Shelter.
“If you can do something to help your community, than you absolutely should.”
To help Voorhees sew the masks, or to place an order for one yourself, contact Voorhees through Facebook at Custom Cut Threads or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org