Wausau fabric shops making masks for COVID-19

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- With the demand of facial masks for healthcare professionals, fabric shops in Wausau are using the fabric that would normally go unused to fill the need.

"We have all this beautiful fabric we decided to do something with it," Sew Smart owner Mary Wilke said. "So they can come in and pick up a free kit tomorrow to make 6 face masks and they can buy additional kits for $10 a piece," she added.

Across town at the Needle and Quilting Workshop, they are sending masks to places as far as Washington state.

"We've been having customers making masks and we are a drop off spot for those masks. We will find places for them to be distributed," Needle and Quilting Workshop owner Kari Bender explained.

Both stores offer fabric to make your own mask as well as online tutorials.

"We've been getting phone calls for days already on how to make these masks. So we decided to take the step forward and help our community do this," Wilke said.

There has been a major outpouring from the sewing community to help get the masks made, something that both store owners say shouldn’t be a surprise.

"They immediately stepped up when they realized there was a need for surgical masks. Once they knew the homemade ones were acceptable they volunteered to offer their time and their talents," Bender explained.

"Our sewing community has a very strong need to give back. So this was just something we could do to give back to our local health care providers in this time of need," Wilke added.

But just because shops are helping to fill a need in the medical community doesn’t mean they don’t have needs of their own. So they encourage people to help the small businesses during this tough time.

"For everyone, every small business, what you need to do is support them. If you want to be able to shop from them when this is over you need to support them now in any way you can," Bender explained.

If you would like the information to pick up a mask kit from Sew Smart click here. If you would like to learn more about the drop off or mask making process from the Needle and Quilting Workshop, click here.