Mask Maker! Mask Maker!

Mask Maker! Mask Maker!

Concerned citizens find ways to help out

Making Ripples

There are many heroic deeds done every day, but during an epidemic, we see them in a brighter light, hope for them in our lives, and maybe even embrace them as part of our own potential. Our local communities are buzzing with such good deeds, all to the tune of sewing machines and possibly “Fiddler on the Roof”: “Mask maker, mask maker, make me a mask!”

Fayetteville resident Paige Goodman Wolven, owner of, a children’s clothing shop, makes free masks and places them in a box on her porch for pickup by those in essential jobs who can’t find masks. She’s one of many in a peaceful brigade of mask makers who range from those who are a wiz with a sewing machine to novice users of needle and thread. Paige began sewing them a few weeks ago when social distancing caught on. It doesn’t take much to get inspired to make masks; the news is enough reason, especially if you’re concerned about loved ones.

“We have family and friends who would be at extremely high risk if they get the virus, so we have been really concerned about this personally,” Paige explained in an online interview. “When the news came out that there are people getting covid-19 and showing absolutely zero symptoms the whole time they have it, it became super obvious that we all needed to start wearing masks.” She began to practice by making masks for her family.

At first, it was tough to decide on a pattern. “I went down a rabbit hole of research on the best types of fabric to use and tested a ton of different free patterns I had found online,” she says, eventually settling on the pattern linked in this column. Paige began offering masks to friends and others who needed them. “Now the whole sewing community has started making these to sell and donate, and it’s so great! Everyone should be finding a way to get a mask.” She used social media to find people who needed masks, and at first, people were shy to ask. So she began a “free box” for people to pick up masks at their leisure, even anonymously, and it worked!

“People wanted them because they were nervous about trips to the grocery store, bike rides on the trails, visits to hand things off to family.” Now, the demand for Paige’s masks is high. “When the CDC finally recommended wearing fabric masks for all outings, tons of people wanted them. It’s been hard to keep up — I’m just sewing in my spare time; I have a 3-year-old, s0 there’s not tons of that around here. Most evenings after his bedtime I get in my sewing room and make a few masks.” While she can’t offer the public free masks, she is setting a great example. She says these masks are easy to make, a statement echoed by many other makers. And not everyone is sewing – some are donating money or materials.

Amanda Bancroft’s husband Ryan wears a mask to his day job at Ozark Natural Foods.
(Courtesy Photo/Amanda Bancroft)

“Three friends donated huge piles of fabric and sewing supplies to me, so I’ve seen tons of support. People are so grateful and it’s been a really nice feeling to do something at a time when it’s easy to feel kind of helpless.” For more information, including mask patterns, or if you want to help sew or fund masks, visit

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at

Categories: Making Ripples