Metis fashion designer and seamstress posts online face mask tutorial for homemade masks

Metis fashion designer and seamstress Emelia Villbrun is posting online tutorials on Facebook to help people make homemade masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Villbrun, who grew up in the Metis community of Green Lake, Sask., says she was taught at an early age to keep busy – so with time on her hands self-isolating, she decided to post an online tutorial to make some simple facemasks.

“I keep hearing there’s a shortage of masks and since we don’t know what we are really dealing with and the rules keep changing all the time, I guess I’m a little bit desperate,” she said. “I wanted to protect my family and loved ones so I just started taking fabric and whatever I could find and just cutting it up and making facemasks and patterns and different styles.”

For the past month, Villbrun has been sending her homemade masks to family, friends and elders.

Sharing her craft online to help people sew some for themselves is something that she did as soon as the pandemic started.

“I always wanted to do tutorials,” she said. “I think it can help people and it’s time for women to start sewing again. I also find it healing sewing is healing.”

Villbrun says people have been using her tutorial to help themselves make facemasks at home.

“All the sewers are keeping in touch with each other and we are all excited about helping,” she said. “The people who know how to sew have watched it and reached out and told me it was easy instructions.”

Villbrun said she plans to soon share her videos on Youtube.

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.