Judy Morris has hand-sewn over 600 masks since COVID-19 began in March. When masks became harder to find, Morris used scraps from her own sewing machine, as well as material purchased by her daughter, and started creating.
First, her masks were just for a surgeon in Jackson who was a friend of her daughter, and then Morris made masks for her family in Louisiana and Arkansas and neighbors who didn’t have access to any masks. Through word of mouth, the demand for masks continued to grow, and now Morris has made over 600 masks, charging for those who request them in bulk.
“I’ve sewn since I was about six. I do heirloom sewing, making christening gowns and baby clothes. In a way, making masks has been great — it keeps me from being bored. I’m 76, and I pretty much stay at home to avoid COVID. I’m not making masks everyday, but I keep a stack of them around and if anyone wants any, I can make them,” said Morris.
Morris uses an easy sewing pattern with all of her masks — a rectangular piece of fabric, lined, with elastic ear hooks on it–resulting in the standard blue masks with three pleats. Morris makes them out of 100% cotton with light weight cotton flannel for lining. Morris typically makes masks in batches, but one mask takes around 15 minutes to make, meaning Morris has spent over 150 hours making masks since March.
“I really believe one of the reasons that I haven’t got COVID is because when I leave my house, I have my mask on. I really think the mask is so important to keep you from giving your germs out,” said Morris.
Morris believes that making these masks is an easy way to contribute to creating a culture of health in a time of crisis — anyone can contribute to the overall project of making our state a healthier place. Wearing a mask will keep germs within that barrier and help protect others if you’re sick with COVID-19, even if you have minimal or no symptoms. Wearing masks also serve as a helpful reminder not to touch your face.
To learn more about the COVID-19 website in Mississippi, visit the Mississippi State Department of Health website.