Lake Conroe resident puts sewing skills to use making face masks

Nancy Garner works on face masks at her sewing machine. (Courtesy Nancy Garner)
Nancy Garner works on face masks at her sewing machine. (Courtesy Nancy Garner)

Nancy Garner works on face masks at her sewing machine. (Courtesy Nancy Garner)

As Lake Conroe resident Nancy Gehr Garner was growing up, she remembers her mother wearing “perfectly starched hats and uniforms” to her job as a nurse. And sometimes, those uniforms would include fabric masks.

And when the coronavirus began spreading across the country, she decided to use her lifelong skill of sewing to provide face masks to those in need in the Lake Conroe area.

“I started this with just fabric that I had,” Garner said. “I didn’t have to leave my house.”

Garner said she looked online and found the Turban Project, a nonprofit that provides headwear for women facing hair loss due to medical issues, and the Deaconess Project, a national health care service that was running a campaign for handmade face masks. Although the Deaconess campaign quickly met its quota, Garner used the instructions and patterns from both nonprofits to create face masks for local entities.

After running through her own supplies, Garner reached out on her Grand Harbor neighborhood’s Facebook page looking for additional fabric.

“I just started sewing,” Garner said. “And I’m not charging anybody.”

Through word of mouth, Garner said she has been making masks for senior care facilities, fire stations, EMS stations and some hospitals. Although fabric face masks are not used to prevent the spread of coronavirus, they can help mitigate the strain for facilities where masks are in short supply.

For those who want to help, Garner said she has received many fabric donations but is still looking for a good supply of elastic. Those who want to help can contact her at

“I’ve got A&M fabric, and I’ve got 'Star Wars' fabric, and I’ve got mustache fabric, and I’ve got 'Duck Dynasty' fabric,” Garner said. “These people who are going to be wearing these masks are going to be adorable, and they’re going to be cheery!”

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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