Sewing Masks and Sending Them Across the US: Sue Hood, Danville, CA USA

Sue Hood

“It takes a lot of time to create each individual mask — about one hour from first cut to finish. I’ve been cutting at night, and sewing the next day. I feel respect for garment workers!”

Some content may have been minorly edited for clarity or punctuation.

Some heroes wear capes — and some make (and wear!) masks. Sue Hood of Danville, California has been creating masks at home, and sharing them with seemingly everyone who has ever had the pleasure of connecting with her, all over the United States– and free of charge. Sue works at a physical therapy office, where the employees have been making a concious effort to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and safety. Thus, Sue’s mask making passion began.

She has an abundance of patterns she chooses from, and picks one that she feels will best represent the person she’s sending it to which is extremely thoughtful. It’s a considerate way that she has been giving back to the community in a time that we’re all staying “safer indoors” and trying our best to look out for each other. Although Sue misses having the opportunity to spend time with her friends and her children who live nearby and traveling to visit extended family in New Hampshire, she believes that this experience has in many ways shown how the community can come together in tough times. Read more about Sue’s mask making story, below.

Where exactly are you living? Is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic?

I live in Danville CA, permanently. [In the Bay Area] We all wear masks when in stores or public. I really believe this will lessen the spread. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your mask making business? 

The masks are not a business, they’re completely free to those that need them. I started making masks because everyone at our [Physical Therapy] facility had masks even prior to requirement, except the front desk personnel. So, I made them for us and for their significant others, then for all of their families (I sent some to New York). I also make them for close friends, my kids, and my family (I sent many to New Hampshire). It morphed into making some for all twelve therapists at work, and their families, as well as the patients and their babies. I even made some for my hairdresser’s family (selfishly I want to be the first in 😉 ), and my Jazzercise friends and instructors. 

I have sizes ranging from size three – adult. The kids’ masks are so cute! They have little hand prints on them —  “the only hands that are allowed to touch the face.” 

It takes a lot of time to create each individual mask — about one hour from first cut to finish. I’ve been cutting at night, and sewing the next day. I feel respect for garment workers! Each mask uses a cut of the main fabric, plus the lining. First, you cut four pieces, then you sew the front together, and press. Next, you sew together the top and bottom, and press. Finally, fold over both sides zigzagging across. Each one uses a shoelace to thread through, and attach to the wearer’s face. I love using this pattern, because it covers from the nose to below the chin. I’ve used all the material leftover from my flower girl’s dress as well as donations from friends, sheets, scarves, and patterned shirts. 

What has been your daily routine so far during the pandemic?

My daily routine… I work two days in the office, two days from home, and one day off. At the office I wear my mask and keep the front window closed. We keep the office door open so people do not need to touch the door knob. I disinfect the waiting room after each patient, as well as all pens and clipboards used. Every credit card is put into a disinfectant wipe before swiping, along with insurance cards. I wash everything constantly — because we are almost out of hand sanitizer, and we’re saving it for patients. On my days off, I’m obsessed with making masks!

Two of Sue’s home made masks

What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?

I keep my spirits up by sewing, spending time with my husband Dave, and my children at home, Brandon and Laurel. I enjoy Zooming with our gang and walking through Bishop Ranch parking lots with coworkers (it’s the only way we can stay six feet apart — the Iron Horse Trail has too many people to enjoy safely) 

Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration for everyone going through this together?

This has taught me that the community can come together. Most people are more considerate of each other. Although, there are the few….

Anything else you’d like to share? 

I really feel that people are sick of sheltering, but I understand. I am definitely afraid that if we open too soon, and stop wearing masks that this will come right back at us. I do believe that it will return in the fall/winter with a vengeance… I fear for my family and friends. At the same time, I want our Saturday nights back by the fire in the backyard with [friends]. We missed Easter, and I hope we can have Thanksgiving. I miss my friends, I miss my son Wes and his wife Amber, and they live so close… I.haven’t seen them since February… all I want to do is hug them.

Sue’s mask making is in full swing. If you’d like to check out some of her masks or if you’re interested in exchanging a donation for one of them, please reach out and I’ll make sure you’re connected with her. I personally am lucky enough to have one of the masks she created and can testify that it’s 100% fabulous.

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