Hamline News


Sewing for Good: Meyer Makes Masks

Kate Meyer usually works in the Global Engagement Center (GEC) helping students and faculty members navigate their study and teaching away adventures. With non-essential travel curtailed, Meyer turned her energy from keeping Pipers safe while abroad to sewing face masks that will keep our community safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I'm not a medical doctor or someone who is working to actually protect people right now and this is something I can do,” said Meyer.

She pulled out her sewing machine and raided her fabric stash immediately after the Minnesota stay-at-home order went out because a family member who worked in an elderly living care center needed masks. As time went on, it became clear that other members of Meyer’s family who work in healthcare settings would also need masks and she continued stitching.

“If we keep more people from getting sick, we have a ripple effect to hopefully help those risking their lives have things a little easier,” Meyer said.

Her sewing has become more efficient over time. The first masks she made had a pocket for a filter and took ten to fifteen minutes to complete. Since then, she’s adopted a simpler pattern and changed her process.

“I cut all the pieces, cut all the elastic, and then do most of the sewing, iron & fold them, and finish sewing,” said Meyer. “Over the course of two days, I am able to do around 150, give or take how many breaks or distractions happen.”

Meyer’s masks are protecting Pipers and people across the county and country. After giving masks to her colleagues in the GEC, Meyer donated some to apartment dwellers in Ramsey County and others to a university in Chicago.

“My cousins in Florida who work in healthcare also got a bunch,” said Meyer.

Recently, Meyer responded to a mask-making initiative announced by Minnesota Governor Walz. After sourcing fabric from a number of stores locally and using hair ties for elastic, she dropped off around 500 masks on Saturday, April 25.

She will continue sewing and would be happy to provide a mask to fellow Hamline colleagues.

“I am fortunate enough to work from home mostly, so this is one way I can try and make sure others who can't stay home are protected a bit more,” said Meyer.

If readers want to make their own masks, Treadle Yard Goods, a store in St. Paul provides fabric. Check the Treadle website for more information.

Written by staff