National Women's Political Caucus of Washington

From the Court Room to the Sewing Machine, Women are Doing it All

My mother taught me and my sister how to sew when we were in grade school. We had a 4-H sewing group and showed clothing items at the county fair. When the pandemic started and it became clear that homemade cloth facemasks could be helpful, the three of us got out our sewing machines and started sewing. We shared videos and patterns as we experimented and made our own alterations and improvements. Sewing supplies are difficult to obtain due to demand and store closures so we have shared fabric and notions via US Mail. (Elastic was more elusive than toilet paper.)

My mother is part of a “sewing brigade” in her town where they have sewed and donated over 20,000 masks to first responders, local community groups, and individuals. They recently sent masks to the Navajo Nation. I am sewing for family, friends, and for the Washington Mask Challenge. I was fortunate to have some fabric and other sewing supplies on hand when the pandemic began.

Before store closures hit other parts of the country, I was able to order some fabric featuring one of my role models, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I sent an RBG mask to someone who knows her – who sent the Justice a picture! 

As I see people suffering during this pandemic, I try to remember the advice of Mr. Rogers: look for the people helping. I have been encouraged and inspired by the Facebook community of sewers around the world. They are doing what they can to help with their time, talents, and supplies. Sewists are supporting each other with technical advice and uplifting those who have quarantine fatigue, tired fingers, or a broken sewing needle. We will get through this together. 


-Carolyn Ladd, Candidate for King County Superior Court Department #30


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