Weekly Newsletter Mar 31, 2020

Posted by Sandra Zhao on

Let's sew together!

We know that many of you in our Zuri community are sewers, and we'd love to mobilize all of you to join us in making masks! Dee Dee, from our SF team, is a prodigious quilter and sewing instructor, and she has put together an instructional how-to for all of us (experienced and newbies alike), that we hope you will use and share!

As a reminder, these are NOT a substitute for PPE, but can help while hospitals are suffering from severe shortages. To find out where to donate your masks, we suggest visiting this website, which lists donation sites around the country: findthemasks.com. Additionally, we recommend calling your local hospital to find out if they're accepting donations and have specific requests!

It's always more motivating to do things together, so please send us photos of your masks or your process, so we can share them! Please also share tips and suggestions as you work through the patterns so we can pass them along!

A note from Kenya:

We are starting mask production to distribute free of charge in Kenya to public hospitals and clinics, and we're planning to begin distribution next week. We are taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of our production team as we do this work. We've been consulting with multiple doctors, including an infectious diseases doctor (and Zuri-wearer!) as we develop the mask, so big thanks to all of them!

If you'd like to contribute to this effort, please email us!

Some of you have asked, and while we don't have fabric in the US that we can contribute to this effort since our all our fabric is in Kenya, we take immense inspiration from Nicole, who used extra fabric from her dresses to make these masks!






How to make a mask at home

Pattern and instructions by Dolores Presley

Materials needed:

2 pieces 100% cotton fabric, 7”x9”

2 Pieces 100% cotton fabric, 1-1/4”x5”

2 pieces 100% cotton fabric, 1-1/4”x 40”

Ruler, pins, scissors, sewing machine, thread

How to check your fabric: fold into two layers. You should not be able to see through it, and you should be able to breathe through it.

Lay 7”x9” fabrics wrong sides together. Sew around edges at ¼”.







Create pleats on both sides of 7” edges by placing pins 1-1/2” from top, 2-1/2” from top, 3” from top, 4” from top, 4-1/2” from top, and 5-1/2” from top.  This should leave 1-1/2” on bottom.

Bring first pin to second to create pleat. Repeat with third and fourth, fifth and sixth.






Sew around previous stitching to secure pleats.









With the two 1-1/4”x5” pieces, bind the short sides. You can make double seam binding by evenly folding the strips length wise and pressing, and then folding length wise again. This will make the mask reversible. Or, you can double the strip length wise and sew the back piece (open seam) on first and top stitching the front.

After sewing, trim binding to match mask.

With the two 1-1/4”x40” pieces, you can use the method above to make double seam binding or just double the strip and sew.

With either method, mark the center of the mask and the center of your strip. Match both centers and sew one side onto the mask.


Fold the strip over the top and bottom, and top stitch not only the mask but the entire strip. Before sewing, finish the end of the strip by opening it and turning under ¼”, then folding it back to match the strip.







Feedback or suggestions? Let us know!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // The Stoop by Leila Day and Hana Baba

Hosts Leila and Hana share stories from across the black diaspora in this podcast, highlighting ideas that are often left out of conversations about blackness. In their most recent episode they talk about navigating power as black women journalists, with veteran journalists and also share their own experiences from the field.




WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Super Mama Djombo

Many of us are home right now, and I think we could all use a little space, a little encouragement, and a LOT of Super Mama Djombo. This album will make you bounce--I've been listening to it with headphones to create my own space--it works! So grab your earbuds, ignore everyone else, and great ready to feel GOOD.




WHAT WE'RE READING // The Edge of the World -- A Short Story by Souvankham Thammavongsa

This is a story about feeling alone; it's about love, loss, the little moments that stay with us, and how those moments color a memory. It's a cathartic exercise that only takes about 5 minutes to read, and will leave you feeling all the things.  

P.S. Call your mother.

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