Combating COVID

Students Maggie Brascia and Sabrina Bilt sew masks over quarantine.

Combating+COVID

Natalie Phu, Business Manager

With the rise of the COVID-19 in March, drastic changes have followed like the introduction of online school, social distancing guidelines and an increase in demand for medical supplies. When health professionals and everyday people struggled to find masks, some cougars decided to help their community. 

Senior Maggie Brascia chose to start making masks because she wanted to have a hobby during quarantine. 

“Since I have a background in sewing, I thought it would be super fun to make masks for myself, my friends and my family,” Brascia explained.

Brascia advertises her masks to people on Instagram. Her bio, “Look cute & conquer coronavirus with a face mask made by me!” overlooks a feed of colorful masks. She offers a wide variety of two-sided reversible patterns. They range from colorful floral with polka dots to checkerboard with neon green.

Brascia has received an extremely positive response from her community. 

“Everyone I’ve given them to so far loves them and thinks they are both cute and comfortable!” she exclaimed. Being able to design her masks and picking her own fabrics allows Brascia to make attractive masks that people want to wear out.

Junior Sabrina Bilt has also taken up making masks over quarantine. 

Similar to Brascia, Bilt has a background in sewing. She learned how to sew from her neighbor in fourth grade and was inspired to start making masks by her family. After the mask mandate in April, friends started to reach out for masks prompting her to start a business selling them. 

Bilt has sold to companies, friends and family.  Her aunt who works as a vet uses them daily on the job. 

“I also sell at a consignment store and that’s really cool because I’m able to just drop off batches and have them sell for me,” Bilt communicates. She has sold over 400 masks and produces them in batches of 10. Each batch takes her several hours to complete.

Bilt completes this project almost entirely herself but is thankful to have people who support her like her parents. She is inspired by and has inspired friends who have also decided to take up mask making in quarantine.

“I love being able to pick everything out myself like fabrics and patterns!” Bilt voiced. Since she tailors all of her masks to fit her buyer’s needs, everyone is always happy with what they get. 

Sourcing materials to sew together masks was a common problem that both Brascia and Bilt ran into. The predictable increasing demand for sewing machines didn’t faze seasoned sewers who already had them, but new materials like interfacing and elastic were extremely hard to get.

“It was actually pretty funny how difficult it was to get elastic. Every store was out of it and when I eventually ended up getting it, I bought 250 yards of it,” Bilt admitted. “I’m looking forward to continuing to make masks in the future and providing people with a way to stay safe from corona!”