Sewing To Curb the Spread

Zoe Love ’23 puts her hands—and her sewing machine—to work to help protect her community

“It feels good to help,” Zoe Love ’23 said over a Zoom call from her childhood bedroom in Evergreen, Colo.

Like a lot of current students, Zoe is trying to make sense of everything that’s going on. Thrust into her old life when COVID-19 seemed to change everything overnight, she moved back in with her parents when Puget Sound classes went online a week before spring break.

As local governments implemented stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, and essential workers on the front lines begged for more personal protective equipment, Zoe felt compelled to help, but wasn’t sure how. Then a Facebook post and a burgeoning hobby gave her the perfect opportunity.

“It was a great chance to get behind the sewing machine and do a bunch of sewing,” Zoe said.

Zoe had planned to spend her spring break working on her sewing, something she picked up in high school. For the past year and a half, she’s been working on “little projects,” making scrunchies for friends and hemming items she picks up from thrift stores. When she came across a Facebook page organizing a drive for medical-grade masks for Denver hospitals, she was moved by the immediacy of the need, but was hesitant to help. “It was a little overwhelming,” she says.

But the desire to do something stayed with her. With the announcement that classes would resume remotely after spring break, Zoe, a Puget Sound tennis player who’s exploring a major in politics and government, resigned herself to an altered spring semester. She missed her friends and familiar campus life, and though she was following social-distancing guidelines and isolating at home with her parents, she felt like there was more she could do.

Remembering the plea for medical-grade masks, Zoe decided to put her personal sewing projects to the side to sew for others. A friend who lived across from her in the Regester residence hall helped her get going. Zoe saw her Facebook post that included a mask pattern and adjusted it for the materials she had at home—powder blue pillowcases and elastic.

At first, she planned to just make masks for family and friends. That’s when her dad, Geoff, got involved. He snapped a few photos of Zoe at her sewing machine and tweeted the world what good work his daughter was doing.

“Everyone is a little embarrassed by their dad now and then,” Zoe said, but when the tweet helped her connect with someone in need, it felt worth it. A family-run food truck in Denver was looking for masks for volunteers who were helping distribute 1,800 meals a week to community members. Zoe took on the project.

“To me, it feels like a pretty small thing. It was just 35 masks to this one little group, but I know it made a huge difference to these volunteers who are risking their safety,” Zoe said.

Her advice for Loggers looking to help? Find any way you can that’s within your skillset.

“Even spreading positive messages on Instagram,” Zoe said, “that does make a difference.”

 

By Kelsey Caulfield
Photo courtesy of Geoff Love P'23
Published April 19, 2020