Dina Qureshi sewing masks

Ashburn resident Dina Qureshi uses her free time to sew masks that she'll later donate to local hospitals.

A few months ago, Ashburn electrical engineer Dina Qureshi bought a sewing machine to fulfill her longtime goal of making herself a dress, but she ended up leaving it in the closet for several weeks.

"I never put it to use," Qureshi told the Times-Mirror. "I didn't get a chance to take any sewing classes, and I'd never sewn anything before."

However, when she heard local health care providers were in need of personal protective equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was finally motivated to remove the machine from storage and learn a new skill.

"I just decided to take it out and learn how to make masks," she said.

Lucky for Qureshi, she had stocked up on fabric before local stores began closing. She saw so many colors and patterns available that she could not decide which she preferred, so she bought multiple.

Those purchases have served her new hobby well: So far, Qureshi has sewn more than 120 masks and donated them to local hospitals.

"[My output] depends on my workday, because I am still working full-time with Dominion Energy," she said. "I can make eight to nine masks per day."

Each quarter-yard of fabric yields two masks, and she uses ribbons for the ties, as elastic has sold out in many places. The masks Qureshi has created feature a variety of fun patterns, from the American flag and polka dots to the Batman and Star Wars logos.

"I just try to kind of put as many colors as I can. These are hard times for everyone, so if I can pick a pattern that will put a smile on someone's face, I will try to do that," she said.

Last week she donated 70 of her masks to Inova Loudoun Hospital and the remaining 50 to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. She stays updated and checks which hospitals are still accepting homemade PPE, which Inova stopped doing after she made last week's delivery.

Her rate of output already impressive, Qureshi does not plan to cease her new hobby anytime soon. Atop the satisfaction of having learned a new skill, the gratitude of medical workers who receive her donations keep her motivated to continue.

"It's very rewarding," she said. "It takes everyone's help to get over this difficult time, so whatever I can do, I'm more than happy to do it."

(8) comments

amerigirl

It would be nice to share these with nursing and retirement homes. It might slow down the spread.

Fiscalconservative

What a nice gesture on her part. Whether your pro Trump or anti Trump now is the time to set aside petty differences and work with the President for this political bickering is getting us nowhere!!!!

amerigirl

The president doesn't want to work with the people he is calling for attacks on states, having mini campaign rallies during the briefings even running his campaign commercials during the briefings, and there are laws that say you have to make available time for your opponent when you do that. He wants to have his numbers up, get praise and be thanked. They should only have Pence and the medical people up there, no my pillow guy. We don't need him to read off 10 minutes of who gave even the slightest thing to help. We don't need to watch him yelling and disrespecting the media and using his third grade rhetoric. Get him off the stage and there would be no political bickering. But you know he won't because his TV ratings would go down.As he said Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. “Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!. What an idiot.

Dogfish

It’s a really nice gesture, but homemade masks do not meet NIOSH standards and would not be able to be used in a healthcare setting anywhere in the US.

A-Guy-in-Sterling

This might be the one time when they forgo such standards..

These aren't n95, but they do stop larger water particles and aren't useless.

Does anyone know if hospital's are resorting to the use of home-made masks?

Dogfish

I do. That’s why I’m saying these cannot be used in a health care setting. They don’t meet NIOSH standards. I was going to start writing a big long technical response, but it got all wordy.

Short answer, leave guessing about things to Trump. This is the LAST time you want to “forgo such standards.”

cookie540

Not in this area, but in some of the rural areas they are. I have family in Oklahoma that are in the medical field and they have resorted to cloth masks at times. It's a choice of cloth or nothing for some. Also there are other areas that could use cloth masks but not n95's. My Vet's office sent all of their n95 masks to doctors offices. Vet needs masks, and cloth will work for them.

cookie540

They may not meet N95 standards, but they are using them to encase the N95 masks and extend the use life of them. Maybe not in this area, but in some areas of country the smaller hospitals are in desperate need and have no n95 masks and will take a fabric mask over nothing. Also there are people in the hospital that need masks that are not front line - administrative, food services etc. I have family in the medical field and they are telling me to keep making masks, they are going to good use.

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