BUTLER -- In a roughly two-week span, seamstresses and some seamsters in southeast Wisconsin have sewn together much-needed masks for health care workers amid the coronavirus pandemic -- the volunteers stitched together though social media, and a call for help.
Superheroes, at least a good number of them, wear capes, from Superman to the Caped Crusader, and Wonder Woman, but not all heroes wear capes. In this case, they wear masks.
It's said that a stitch in time saves nine, but from Donica Lintner's point of view, behind her sewing machine, a mask today could save a life tomorrow.
"It's turning into just a beautiful thing to see what people have in their hearts, and what they want to put out for the world," said Lintner.
Lintner's Butler sewing shop, Log Cabin Sewing Company, closed as a result of COVID-19, is one of several rally points in southeast Wisconsin, serving as a drop-off and supply depot for those determined to do something.
"We all get a chance to feel that we're helping with what's going on in our whole country, but especially in our community," said Lintner.
Lintner first turned to her customer base for help with the hospital-approved patterns and soon found 2,300 others, the number growing by the day.
The Masked Sewists for SE Wisconsin Facebook page is filled with storylines, from the struggles of first-timers, to time-saving suggestions, to photos of proud mask recipients like nurses or bus drivers, and even sewing and 3D printing crossovers, with mask making helped along by 3D printed parts.
More than 250 requests means more than 22,000 masks. Lintner said the masked sewists weren't fraying at the seams, having already sewn up more than 12,000 as of Sunday, April 5. However, she noted help still needed, and not just from those who know how to sew -- from cutting and ironing, to shuttling supplies and finished products.
"Really, there's something for everyone to do in this," said Lintner. "People are just using really super fun prints, and it's just really heartwarming to see. You know that it's made with love and care."
Though it might not be seen, there's a smile behind every stitch, and every mask.
CLICK HERE to learn more about this effort.