Portage Park wedding dressmakers donating masks they make to health care workers
by BRIAN NADIG
Portage Park wedding dressmakers are now making fabric face masks for health care workers. They have donated 500 of them so far and have pending orders for 1,000 more.
Kasia’s Bridal owner Kathy Labedzki-Pierga said that she and her mother Grazyna Labedzki, who owns K & K Dressmaking, are using 100 percent cotton fabric and elastic to make the masks.
They also have plans to upgrade their masks by adding a filter, using material from garment bags. Labedzki-Pierga said that the bags consist of the same material used to make a filter in medical masks, but she cautioned that the masks made by her and her mother are “not a N95,” a respiratory protective device which is in critical shortages in U.S. hospitals.
Labedzki-Pierga said that she is being motivated after hearing a story by a nurse who during a 12-hour shift should have changed her mask 47 times but only did so four times due to shortages.
Their masks have gone to a variety of medical sources, including a local doctor’s office and a group of paramedics.
It costs $2.55 to make a mask, and adding a filter will increase the expense, Labedzki-Pierga said. One of the current challenges is finding elastic, she said.
Donations to help cover the expenses can be made at www.freefunder.com (search “Fabric Masks for COVID19”), or https://www.freefunder.com/campaign/fabric-masks-for-covid19
Labedzki-Pierga said that she has been encouraged by those willing to donate time as sewers or to donate money.
“It’s fulfilling. It’s hope. It’s people wanting to help,” she said.