Retired nurses turned quilters make homemade masks for healthcare providers

VICTORIA, Texas- In the midst of much uncertainty, we see the instinct of people to care for one another. A local Victoria woman has turned her small quilt making business into a mask making assembly line. The creative work of a quilter is now a project that hopes to help healthcare workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.

Every stitch,  every cut, every inch and every call keep the retired mother-daughter duo, both former nurses, busy as COVID-19 concerns rise across the world.

“Nobody knows what to expect, everybody is scared, so you just want to do your part in trying to help calm everybody down. If I make 500 masks and it helps 200 people feel better, I’m satisfied,” explains Marcia Neely, owner of Sister Stitches. 

The concept is simple, a 100% cotton cloth, a pleated form, a small pipe cleaner to shape your nose, and a quick knot to tie in place. But, these are made with a lot of love and time, taking up to an hour to make four. 

When asked if these homemade masks are safe and useful, Neely responds that everyone has their opinion on them. For her, “surgical masks are about 95% effective, whereas the cloth masks, with some kind of filter to them, are about 80 – 85%. So if all I had access to [were] those homemade masks I would take 85%.”

Her small business that operates out of her own home is now completely dedicated to making these masks that she knows are essential.

While taking an order on the phone, she tells her customer that she “worked in the E.R. for 19 years, and some of the people I worked with are the ones that reached out and I [just] wanted to help them.”

Neely adds that all the help she’s received from family and friends, makes this so much more fulfilling.

“I’m not out to get rich, I’m not out to make a profit, I’m just out to help as many. A monetary donation to help get supplies, a personal donation of time is also helpful,” concludes Neely.

As of right now, Sister Stitches is taking orders via phone. You can contact Marcia Neely at (361) 935-0554

Visit Sisters Stitches’ Facebook page here.