Sewing gains popularity during pandemic

Local News

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — One of the images that has undoubtedly become the picture of the COVID-19 pandemic is the face mask. Wearing a mask has become the norm for millions around the globe, including right here in the Tri-State. Many are now dusting off their sewing machines and passing on an art to younger generations that could save lives.

“It’s something that people aren’t doing and it’s a trait that people aren’t learning,” said Karrie Cleavenger.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global shortage of personal protective equipment, leaving many to make masks themselves.

 “I think the the sewing community around here is going to grow quite a bit,” said Aaron Haire with Queen Mary’s in Evansville.

In the past few months, Haire says Queen Mary’s has been unusually busy and they’ve sold out of all their traditional sewing machines for the time being.

“Comparing it to past numers it is up about 50% more from where it would typically be. Our repairs are up almost 300%,” said Haire.

“Just today our friend send us a message and said ‘Okay, I pulled out my machine and this is what happened, what do I do now?” said Tiffany Willett.

Cleavenger and Willett run the Facebook group, “Henderson Moms Making Masks.”

“Between kits and what we’ve done, we know we’ve surpassed 4,000. And then some! That’s just kits alone,” said the duo.

Both women say making masks has given them, and others in the community, the chance to share the long lost hobby with younger generations.

“I looked over the other day and my twelve year old had pulled out my old sewing machine and was sitting down. She cut her own and was making her own mask and really learning how and was interested in it again,” said Cleavenger.

“It’s just opening up enough creativity for older people, younger people, in-between people. You know giving them a chance to experiment with something they’ve never done before,” said Willett.

While it’s unclear how long masks will be required, these crafters say they hope the joy of sewing doesn’t fade away.

“All these people that have this lost hobby have gotten back into it, probably will stick with it for a while,” said Haire.

“I just think it’s such a neat thing and people are realizing what all can happen and what all they can do with a sewing machine again,” said Cleavenger.

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(This story was originally published on May 4, 2020)

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