NCHS student sews masks to help with need


Editor's note: A previous version of this story listed Bralynn's last name incorrectly. We apologize for the error and are happy to set the record straight.

Bralynn Newell first learned about sewing from her grandmother, Jeanette Robinson. The two worked together using her grandmother’s sewing machine.

Her grandmother has since passed away, but Newell still keeps a special place in her sewing and the sewing machine Robinson left for Newell.

“She taught me all about sewing,” Newell said. “It’s something we did together about a year before she passed away. She and I were very close. So this is something very special to me.”

Newell, a junior at Newton County High School and the current Distinguished Young Woman of Newton County, decided to bring out the sewing machine a few days ago and do something to help the community. She heard that medical facilities were needing masks

“Right now, I’m not in school, but I wanted to do something to help,” Newell said. “So, I looked into sewing masks as something we could do to help. They are in short supply, and the nursing home I interned (Bedford Care Center of Newton) with was needing some masks.”

Newell started making masks Bedford and as of Friday has made about 50 masks within a week’s time. She is using fabric that was left by her grandmother along with other fabric they are buying. She was using elastic when they had it, ties to tie the mask on and thread to make the masks.

One thing that stands out with Newell’ masks are that they aren’t the standard white masks. She’s using the fabric she has on hand, which consists of different colors and patterns.

“I want them to be different and look good when I’m done with them,” Newell said.

She has orders for at least 50 more. In addition to the donations she’s made to Bedford, she has also sewed masks for Fresenius Medical Center and Newton Eye Care, along with other medical centers that have requested masks.

“We started on Monday, and we’ve been making about 11 to 15, maybe as many as 20 a day,” Newell said. “It’s not quite the whole time I would be in school, but I’m spending several hours a day. I’ve really enjoyed getting to use my sewing skills again and for a something that will really help the medical community. And the demand keeps going up.”

Newell said this is an activity that anyone could participate in, especially if they had a sewing machine. However, even those who could only sew by hand could make a difference.

“This is really something anyone can do if they have some fabric and some thread,” Newell said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a sewing machine. Even if you had to sew them by hand, it can make a difference.

“What I’ve learned is that everyone can make a difference. Everyone can do something to help, and it matters.”