SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Here in the Coastal Empire, a temporary shortage of healthcare masks inspired one local company to take action. Now, with the help of area seamstresses, it can produce 1,000 fabric masks in just 15 minutes.
This is all in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. And it started when a textile engineer got a desperate call from a friend who works in healthcare.
“They said they were running low on masks,” said Jonathan Dedic.
So Jonathan Dedic a textile engineer at Coastal Canvas in Savannah had an idea.
“We are able to cut very, very large panels of fabric very fast by writing a computer program.”
The program allows the company’s computer controlled cutting machine, known as a CNC table, to cut large quantities of fabric into the pattern of a face mask.
"This table you can layer up to six panels of fabric that are 10 feet by 20 feet so we can cut upwards of a thousand in one go and it takes about 15 minutes."
But that's only part of the solution. The fabric still needs to be sewn.
“Our sewing machines can’t necessarily handle light, fine material,” he said. “One of our salesmen realized people in the community were already sewing together masks.”
So the company tapped into a network of community seamstresses.
“They have a lot of different pattern pieces but they still have to sew it together.”
It's warehouse on Chatham Parkway has become a buzzing assembly line to help protect doctors and nurses who are working on the frontlines of a deadly virus. And in case you're wondering.
“Yes, it’s all donation. Abode studios donated the materials that we cut. same with Deb Bee’s creation in Statesboro. As far as I know, the seamstresses are probably all donating their time as well.”
We talked with Abode Studios on Skidaway Road. Their seamstresses are now sewing from home. They are providing the masks to healthcare workers upon request and also working with Savannah Hospice.
In Statesboro, Deb Bee’s Creations is providing the finished masks to local hospitals in need.
Keep in mind: This is a temporary solution to the mask shortage.