LAKE MARY, Fla. - Cheri Kent is a seamstress who suddenly found herself out of work when all the local proms were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I usually do 100 to 200 prom dresses a year,” she said.
However, she soon realized her sewing skills were still very necessary and needed by making face masks.
“I heard about other people making them, and I was completely out of work, so I figured it out and started making them,"
That was Monday. Since then, she has made more than 300 masks and getting quicker by the day.
“I’m pretty fast, because I’m a professional seamstress,” she said.
Her goal was to make a mask that’s comfortable.
“It’s one hundred percent cotton, washable and it has a middle filter layer that I’ve been adding to it,” Kent said.
She is also making sure they are practical, as each mask she makes has three layers. She uses elastic to go around the ears and she is embedding a thin metal strip along the top.
“You start with the first layer and then the filter layer is adhered to the second layer. So this is the second and third fabric,” she explained. “Pinch-ee clips for the top for your nose.”
Kent started by giving away dozens of her masks.
“I just went around to a couple of businesses, the restaurants that are open, doctors’ offices and then it spreads,” she explained.
Now people are calling in orders. Since she is unemployed, she is now charging $10 a mask. At the request of a nurse, she is making special ones for health care workers.
“The hospitals are supplying HEPA [High Efficiency Particulate Air] filters for the nurses; they have to be able to slip it inside for extra safety. I’ve even made some with the open pouches, where they can put their HEPA filters inside and close it up with a piece of Velcro,” she said.
Kent is busy and back to work, feeling fulfilled that her masks are helping others.
“The nurse that text me last night, she was really thankful. It feels really good,” she added.
If you would like to order a mask from Cheri Kent, you can reach her at UptownStitch@gmail.com.