From hobby to necessity

From hobby to necessity - CITRIS administrator sews protective masks

CITRIS administrator sews protective masks

Karen Stierwalt, CITRIS Director of Finance and Administration, began sewing at about eight years old. Over the last decade, she has focused on quilting — mostly wall hangings and baby blankets. She even made her daughter’s wedding dress. During California’s shelter-in-place order, she started producing masks in response to the COVID-19 crisis. She uses a pattern developed by the Idea Fab Lab team at UC Santa Cruz, led by Dr. Catherine Sonquist Forest. Stierwalt has made around 35 masks for colleagues, friends, and neighbors. She shares the instructions below.

“I thought it would be fun to make masks designed by someone at UC. I have made masks using two other designs but this one was much more complex. When I first read the directions, I wondered about the weight of four layers of fabric, one of them flannel. 

“I read the directions and watched the YouTube video. It took longer than the other masks I have made but once I was finished I really liked it. The fit is great. It goes under your chin and has darts to make the sides fix better. The flannel against your face is very comfortable. There is a pocket for a filter if you want to use one, but I have not used one yet. This is the mask I wear now.”

Washable Mask Instructions
Washable Mask Template


The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.

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