A team of local interior designers is switching from sewing curtains to masks to help healthcare workers in the Covid-19 pandemic.

La Maison in Letterkenny would normally have their sewing machines whirring making curtains and cushions for homes. But the shortage of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) at Letterkenny University Hospital has inspired them to switch to making medical masks.

La Maison Curtain Manager Lolita creating PPE masks for LUH staff
Fifty masks were delivered from La Maison to LUH for staff starting their shifts this morning

The first half of the 100-piece order was donated free of charge to LUH today for immediate use by frontline staff today.

The masks are created with sateen fabric that is washable at high temperatures and durable for multiple wears.

Claire McDonough, co-owner of La Maison, said this voluntary project is her team’s small way of helping the crisis.

“We are delighted to help. When you are not a medical worker and not on the frontline you feel powerless and you want to help in a small way. This is the least we could do,” Claire said.

“Our curtain manager Lolita is doing the sewing on her machine at home. We are using our own fabric but we are trying to source more elastic at the moment.”

Claire said the mission began when a friend, who is a nurse in LUH, said that staff PPE supplies are almost ‘down to nothing’. The La Maison team started with an order of 100 reusable masks but they are preparing to make more if required.

Claire McDonough and Anne Blake -owners of La Maison Letterkenny

“We will keep going as long as there’s fabric. I would say there are a lot of sewers at home who want to help. It’s about getting the right fabric and elastic. If there is a massive surge and people can make masks from home we would be happy to coordinate something with the hospital and gardaí,” Claire said.

“I’m sure Donegal would be well placed to respond to this because of our textile history.”