Co-signed. I’m still sewing some masks for free for healthcare workers, food service, etc., but if someone just wants one of my masks because they like the fabric or whatever, then they’re going to have to pay me. I’ve pretty much run through my entire budget for materials already, and that’s not even counting my time.

I’ve put in about 3-5 hours / day for most of the last few weeks on making masks, and time sewing is time I’m not writing or doing other work that brings in money, and I have part-time staff to pay.

I’m probably going to have to stop making free masks soon because I want to be able to keep affording to pay my people, and with my Feast book launch indefinitely postponed, the cash flow situation is not so great now. We’re fine, but we can’t afford to just give masks away to everyone.

(That said, if you’re a local healthcare person, first responder, or food service person in need of a fabric mask, with a workplace that can’t afford to (or refuses to) buy them for you, ping me.)


“I say this as someone who has made an unexpected ton of free masks where needed for friends, family, and coworkers. I’ve seen several posts today deriding people for asking for payment for making masks. Some of them are super ugly. This really annoys the bejeezus out of me.

It is COMPLETELY reasonable to request payment when people ask you to make them masks. This is your time, your money, and your invested effort.

Right now, a lot of professional costumers and tailors are completely out of work, and this is one of the few ways they can make money.

Also right now, a lot of people with sewing talent are being pressured into giving all their free time to mask making, regardless of the level of stress it adds to their lives.

Some of those people are literally crippling themselves with arthritis, tendonitis, and other ailments, trying to get things out.

All of this as they worry about friends, family, and coworkers in the current environment.

Remember the whole “do it for exposure” thing? Just how ridiculous it is to ask artists for free everything? (And SCA folks do it all the freaking time.)

Yeah, no. Pay the people whom you ask to make masks for you if they ask for payment. If they don’t ask for payment, and you know they could use the cash, pay them anyway.

Those same people might be donating masks they make to hospitals and nursing homes – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer to pay them.

You pay your healthcare workers, you pay the pharmacy, you pay everyone else you get something from. If you asked someone who sews to make you a mask don’t assume they owe it to you to make it for free.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.”

– Stephanie Stewart-Howard

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