Monette woman busy making masks

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Tracey Yates-Thompson of Monette has been filling in her “home time” making and sharing masks. The coronavirus has certainly slowed down the pace for most people.

Tracey agreed to share her story in an effort to raise awareness and encourage people to wear masks when they are out in public.

She started making masks when a friend from Jonesboro asked her about making a mask for her husband who works in the medical field. Tracey said the mask would serve as a cover and extend the life of the N95 masks.

Tracey said even though she does not call herself a seamstress, she did have a lot of fabric on hand and extra time so she decided to see what she could come up with. She made 15 masks for her friend’s husband and his co-workers.

Then she decided to make some for the Monette Manor employees. She made 22 masks for the staff at Monette Manor. She also took masks to the employees at Farmers Market in Monette. Some of her masks were mailed to Little Rock to her sister who works in a bank.

Tracey posted a thank you note on her Facebook page thanking her high school home economics teacher, Kathy Montgomery, for providing her with the skills needed to create the masks.

She had made quilt tops and Christmas stockings but had never taken sewing seriously.

After her Facebook post, she began to get requests from people wanting to buy the masks.

“It just didn’t feel right to me to charge anyone for the masks,” she said.

Tracey said she decided she would continue to make masks and give them away.

“I wanted to protect other people and my own family,” she said. “The more people who wear the masks when they are out in public, the better off we all will be. I am not sure how much the masks work to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus but if it helps even a little, it is not too much for us to try. Masks are recommended by the CDC and we should all try to do our part to stop the spread of the virus.”

Tracey has always been into finding a use for everything and when she had trouble finding elastic for the straps, she remembered she had a lot of knit tee shirts left from another project.

She also has an online business, The Flatlands Boutique. She cut and sewed the tee shirts making perfect, comfortable straps that stretch well. She also learned by trial and error as she went along and mastered some time-saving shortcuts. She also bought a rotary cutter (like pinking shears) which helped with the edges.

She said she had bought a lot of fabric with the idea to make dice bags for gamers.

“I made one and decided it was way too much trouble so I had a lot of fabric left from that,” she said.

She is pleased to have found a great way to use the fabric. A friend also found out she was making masks and traded fabric for a few masks.

She made masks and placed them on a shelf on her carport for people to help themselves. She also left a note reminding people to take what they needed for the family and cautioned them, they were on camera.

The demand has seemed to slow down and Tracey said more than likely everyone who is comfortable coming to her carport for a mask has been there. She plans to place masks outside Monette City Hall for people to pick up. They will be in a box and people are welcome to get what they need.

She reminded everyone it is a good idea to wash the masks before wearing and wash them every day or two.

“Hopefully we will all get back to normal in the near future but until then, wear a mask to help slow down the spreading of the virus,” she said.