Nikki MacCallum never thought she’d be making masks and gowns, but COVID-19 changed that (NikkiDesigns photo)

Nikki MacCallum never thought she’d be making masks and gowns, but COVID-19 changed that (NikkiDesigns photo)

Ladysmith designer donates her time to make free face masks and gowns

Nikki MacCallum works three days a week on masks and gowns, and three days on her regular business

Nikki MacCallum has specialized in creating bedding, window coverings, towels, and curtains from organic fabrics since 2005. In all that time, she never expected she’d be making face masks and gowns.

“I started about three weeks ago when a client of mine emailed me,” MacCallum said. “At that point I didn’t know anyone else locally that was making them, so I did some research and came up with the design. I happened to have a fabric that worked really well for it. It’s a closely woven cotton that I use for my protective pillow covers.”

Since posting her first masks on Facebook, MacCallum has connected with six other women in the community to help sew the masks. They have made between 200 and 300 masks to date.

The masks cannot be used in a medical setting, however MacCallum has spoken with medical professionals to make sure the masks are as protective as possible for people to use. Her latest masks include a metal wire to help the masks fit better over the nose. They also include an interior pocket to add further filtering materials like tissues.

“They’re good for people in the community, people who are still working in public, or families that have sick people at home,” MacCallum said.

MacCallum was contacted by Community Futures Central Vancouver Island after they received a request for 300 medical gowns. MacCallum rose to the occasion, and has been sewing the gowns with donated fabrics along with other volunteers in Nanaimo.

She is still carrying on with her regular business, NikkiDesigns. The masks and gowns are being given away for free.

“I do the mask and gowns three days a week, and I do my regular work three days a week. I take Sundays off,” MacCallum said.

Anyone who wants a mask or wants to learn to make one can email MacCallum at nikki@nikkidesigns.ca.

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