Meet Sean Castro, a fashion merchandising major, who is using the Stay At Home order as an opportunity to give back to his community; making over 100 masks for his friends, family and those in his community. These days he is continuing to advocate for students to draw from their own creative inspirations to make something that will not only help protect against the virus but will also be fun to wear.
What initially inspired your idea to make face masks?
What prompted me to get a jump on sewing masks was my partner and I needing something to protect ourselves when we were out running errands. His mom saw the masks, then my parents, then Instagram, and suddenly I was tasked with making about one hundred of these things. I also desperately needed a reason to use some of the fabric scraps I’ve hoarded over the years, so that was an added bonus.
What challenges, if any, have you faced in starting to produce your masks?
Generally speaking, once I got into the groove of sewing my masks, they got incredibly easy to make. The first few were rough, though; devising a template, running out of elastic, matching my thread. I was not expecting to run out so quickly, and obviously supplies are hard to come by these days. Don’t ask me to wait in line at JoAnn’s again this week. I won’t do it!
How have you adjusted your academics post COVID-19?
I’m lucky in that I have a lot of experience with online school. That isn’t to say I like it though, as I’m sure most students would agree that in-person classes suit me much better. Because of this virus, my priorities have shifted, and I think I’m content with that. I’m keeping up with my schooling as best I can, but when you’re unemployed, forking up rent on the 1st of every month, and struggling to afford groceries, some aspects of life take second chair. It would only be natural that my GPA takes a small hit this semester, or if I miss a Zoom class because I slept in too late. We’re all suffering at least a little bit during this time; it’s perfectly okay to allow yourself a few hiccups.
What is your advice to CHHS students wanting to make masks at home?
Making masks is so easy -- really. I found a free pattern online in a matter of a few minutes, slightly altered it to better suit my taste, and had one made in about thirty minutes. You don’t need elastic or special filters to make a mask that protects you and others; all you need is maybe an old shirt that you’re willing to cut up, about four feet of ribbon or homemade bias tape, and a beginner’s understanding of sewing machines (or a needle and thread). Also, a lot of us are artists. Use this time now to make masks that speak to you. It’s more fun that way.