What happens when 1. You’ve got lots of time on your hands, 2. piles of sewing fabric are waiting for a project and 3. COVID-19 restrictions are keeping you inside? Ask Susanne Adams.
She has made a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of people in our community and beyond because she responded to COVID-19 in her own unique way. Susanne is well known at St. John’s in Hamilton for a wide variety of sewing skills and crafting leadership. As a retired nurse living by herself, she had plenty of time available and had a ready supply of materials to be used when the COVID-19 numbers increased in late March 2020 and people needed personal protective equipment (PPE). Personality wise, she is the kind of person who is always ready to help. No wonder that she was one of the first people making masks!
She uses three layers of material and washes them before cutting and sewing. “It was quite the process,” she says. “I streamlined it so that I prewashed the cotton, pressed and cut out the masks all at once. Then I started to sew according to thread colour. It was an assembly-line kind of production”.
Over time, she figured out which nose-piece material gave a better fit. “It also took a bit of experimenting, developing my own patterns especially for adults with large or small faces. One size does not fit all,” she laughs. She also customized her work: she made masks for children, often using prints of their favourite cartoon characters or superheroes and she produced loyalty masks for adults cheering on different sports teams.
To date, Susanne has sewn over 1600 masks, with probably 200 child-sized ones included. She has donated almost $5000 last year and this year so far. “At St. John’s we’re always collecting food and donations for the needy. I couldn’t imagine a better place than St. Matthew’s House,” she says.
Susanne was happy to be able to fill a desperate need for safe personal wear. “I love making people happy. It really wasn’t that hard,” she says modestly.