January 18, 2021

Mask maker, mask maker, make me a mask

Osceola resident volunteers time to make masks for essential family and friends

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During this National Volunteer Week it is important to notice those who are going above and beyond to help their community.

Once such person is Sarah Truitt, an Osceola resident who has taken up sewing masks.

Truitt started sewing masks long before there were any cases of COVID-19 in Iowa and has made more and more the closer the virus has gotten to home. She originally just made some for her family. When asked to wear a mask at a doctor’s appointment she realized that the need for masks was soon going to be prevelant.

“That’s when I realized I needed to keep the sewing machine out,” said Truitt.

As the virus got closer Truitt joined a Facebook group called Masks for the Frontlines Iowa who’s members are making thousands of masks for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. When Truitt first joined the sewing group she made masks for everyone she knew who was considered essential and didn’t have appropriate personal protective equipment.

“The masks I’m making have a wire nose-piece to create a good seal across the face as well as a .3 micron filter,” said Truitt. “I’ve modified the design about six times as I’ve heard back from people, for example that the elastic ear loops are incredibly uncomfortable, or found better patterns online.”

Truitt continues to get orders from people requesting masks for their elderly parents, families and neighbors and pregnant women who have to wear masks to their OB appointments. Currently Truitt has sewn and sent out 300 masks and the requests keep coming in. People have helped support her sewing efforts by donating fabric, thread and filters.

“Now all I need is time,” said Truitt.

Truitt is not new to sewing. She grew up with her mother sewing and learned some basics from her. Where Truitt honed her skills was in high school in Joplin, MO where she took two semesters of sewing classes.

“We started with how to thread the machine and my final project was a pair of black dress pants with French seams,” said Truitt. “Thankfully I remember a lot of what was taught in that class.”

Prior to making masks Truitt made small things as gifts or for around the house such as baby blankets, curtains and a few pieces of clothing.

“There’s a certain feeling that comes from creating something with your hands  that someone else can use as protection in a very uncertain time,” said Truitt. “I feel proud. I feel resourceful. But mostly I feel a sense of obligation to do what I can with the skills that I have, and I’m incredibly thankful to be able to do so.”