I’m Not a Doctor, But I Can Sew a Mask’: The Face Mask Home Sewing Movement as a Means of Control During the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020

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Martindale, Addie K.
Armstead, Charity
McKinney, Ellen
Major Professor
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Intellect Ltd
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management provides an interdisciplinary look into areas of aesthetics, leadership, event planning, entrepreneurship, and multi-channel retailing. It consists of four majors: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design; Event Management; Family and Consumer Education and Studies; and Hospitality Management.

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management was founded in 2001 from the merging of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies; the Department of Textiles and Clothing, and the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management.

Dates of Existence
2001 - present

Related Units

  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies (predecessor)
  • Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management (predecessor)
  • Department of Textiles and Clothing (predecessor)
  • Trend Magazine (student organization)

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As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, a widespread shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically N95 face masks were exposed. This need was quickly answered by home sewers who did not hesitate to answer the request of medical professionals to help fill the PPE shortage. As the United States entered a national quarantine, home sewers turned to social media, specifically Instagram to share their participation and communicate the need to recruit others to join them in their mask sewing efforts. This research aimed to interpret the Instagram post messages shared to understand the motivations of participation in mask sewing efforts. Social media hashtags were used to identify the messages related to home sewing face masks for the pandemic. A netnographic qualitative research approach uncovered five overarching themes: this is helping me, call to action, do it right, rising to the occasion and I’m ready for this.
This accepted article is published as Martindale, A., Armstead, C., & McKinney, E. “I’m not a doctor, but I can sew a mask”: The face mask home sewing movement as a means of control during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Craft Research. Vol. 12.2 (Oct). https://doi.org/10.1386/crre_00050_1