Mask Maker in Macon

As many states begin to reopen, businesses and professionals have had to adapt the way they work and the products they sell.

Macon resident Mary-Frances Burt has been self-employed as a graphic designer for twenty-five years. Most of her work was in designing books or in working with nonprofits, but as the pandemic increased many of the projects she was working on were either postponed or canceled altogether.

Burt soon realized that she would have to find a way to make up for her loss of income.

As Covid-19 became a larger issue, her friends in the medical field advised her to begin wearing masks.

“So I started making them for my family, and then my friends. And then people started calling me asking me if I would make some for them. And so it has turned into an unexpected occupation,” Burt said.

For Burt making masks helps her to feel like she is making a contribution during these unprecedented times.

“I found that the more sewing I did, the less worried I was because I felt like I was doing something constructive,” Burt said.

Burt said that she learned to sew as a child from both her mother and grandmother who were accomplished seamstresses. She also took private lessons when she was a teenager and considered being in the fashion industry.

Burt says her workplace doesn’t even resemble a graphic design space anymore.

“It is just fabric and sewing machines. And it’s, it’s really interesting how quickly that changed,”

Burt is making between 15 and 20 masks a day and so far has made 450-500 masks since she began in late March.

The masks are made of a cotton blend known as quilting cotton that gives its wearer three layers of protection and has a pocket on the inside that can fit a filter if needed.

Burt also will make masks in children’s sizes as well as custom design masks for people who request them.

“What’s been fun about this is people have been so generous, right? From the very beginning. I had people calling in saying, I have all this fabric. I know I’m never going to do anything with it. Can I just drop it off? And I would say ‘yes’,”

Burt also does no-contact delivery for anyone within city limits and will ship masks to customers.

“There’s something about the tactile and tangible thing that matters to me, I guess in a sense, I’m more of a maker…so it felt pretty natural to start working in fabric to me, it’s like solving problems, you know, we need to be safe, we still need to get go out and be around other people sometimes. So this, to me, it’s like a solution.”

You can buy masks wholesale from Bert through her Facebook page or you can buy them from the Macon Arts Alliance or Travis Jean Emporium in downtown Macon.