Wed | Oct 4, 2023

COVID-19 throws seamstress a mask-making lifeline

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2020 | 12:00 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Chiceta Dacres Brown of Mount Friendship in St Andrew has been sewing reusable face masks to act as a layer of protection against the COVID-19 respiratory disease as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Dacres Brown, a designer for more than 20 years who specialises in women’s clothing, men’s shirts and a touch of interior pieces, began turning out masks a few weeks ago as the virus reached local shores.

When the Government issued a directive for certain persons falling in high-risk groups to wear masks – and then eventually an order this month for everyone to wear masks in public spaces – demand swelled and she moved beyond just stitching a few pieces for family and friends to bulk orders.

Though the majority of masks have been for bulk orders, Dacres Brown, who makes up to 60 masks per day, also fulfils household orders for community members.

She told The Gleaner that some clients purchase masks for donation and she aids this cause by offering them at discounted prices.

“I’m even sewing for people that I don’t even know. They just call on the phone and order 50 masks,” she said.

She is grateful for the business opportunity amid the crisis as her usual orders have dried up.

“There has been a big pause. It’s at a standstill because nobody is going anywhere and doing no activity, so there is no need to buy clothes,” the 43-year-old seamstress explained.

For her, mask-making is not a one size fits all.

“Everyone’s face has a different shape – small face, fat face, so I make them in different sizes and when they come to purchase, they look at them and choose the one that they think will fit best,” she said.

“I’m encouraging everyone when going out to wear the mask for their own protection and for other people’s protection,” she added.