Ingenuity In Action

20 May 2020

Sixth Form pupil, Ellen has responded to changing needs and behaviours with the creation of her online business providing hand-made face masks and bowl covers for sourdough bread.

It all started when Ellen took the initiative to make face masks for her family using scraps of fabric from previous sewing projects. With her natural talent and skills honed by studying Textiles at A-Level, she went on to create masks for those in her community at higher risk of contracting the virus.

Below is Ellen’s story including links to her social media channels where you can keep up to date with the business’ success. There is also a link to Ellen’s Etsy store where you can purchase one of her wonderful creations.


Wearing facemasks is not just about protecting you, they protect those around you. Early in lockdown, I made some facemasks for my family using scrap fabrics from my old sewing projects and we have all been wearing them for our essential shopping trips. When I realised that in my neighbourhood there is a high number of those considered at risk from Covid19 I decided to take my skill and put it to good use. The people I have supplied masks to include those who are shielding, teachers, and the elderly. By providing facemasks for those in my community at higher risk I am hoping to protect them and at the same time not impacting on the supply of PPE needed for key workers.

I have set up an Etsy store to make the transactions easier, and I have now made over 45 masks, and orders are coming in all the time. In addition to my fabric surplus, the fabrics that I am using include off-loom fabrics that would otherwise go to waste, so the project is also helping the environment. I am also offering a new service where I will make up a facemask in fabric supplied to me by a customer. This is a great way of upcycling a pre-loved garment, so avoiding textile waste. 

Not everyone will be willing to wear a facemask in public and, in my latest blog post, I created a range of style options. I hope that this will give people more confidence to wear a facemask when they are in public spaces and therefore offer more protection to those around them.

Sourdough bowl covers

Bread making has been a favourite pastime of many during the lockdown, particularly sourdough. The proving time for sourdough is particularly long and using tea towels to cover the bowls is inconvenient, as my family found out. In my A level Textiles projects I enjoyed free stitching work and I put these skills to good use, creating slogans and puns on the bowl covers to cheer people up. Customer favourites include “flour power” and “live laugh loaf”, which reflects the resilience and positive attitudes people are adopting to get through the lockdown.

I am now producing bowl covers in three sizes and they are also available to buy on my Etsy store. During the lockdown, I have shipped bowl covers with the cheery puns to places as distant as Illinois and Belgium. 



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Tags: Senior

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