3 NoVA designers selling fashionable face masks for safety and style

From hand-painted lions to floral prints, these locally made masks help you stay protected in public while looking good (and doing good!) too.

blue and floral mask
Photo courtesy of Virginia Dare Dress Co.

As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, makers of all ages are taking to their sewing machines to create and donate face masks to health care providers, developing a movement of “masketeers.” While most homemade masks do not block the virus, nurses, doctors and others on the front lines are able to place cloth masks, which can be washed, over medically grade (N95) masks as extra coverage, ultimately extending the use of the respirator mask. 

And, in early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans across the country to wear some form of face covering in public, including cut T-shirts or bandanas, as the coronavirus continues to spread, increasing many people’s desire to acquire a face mask of some kind.

In Northern Virginia, three local makers—Sue Henry of Tulusa, Rebekah Murray of Virginia Dare Dress Co. and Skylar Raiyn Johnson of Sew Fly Sky—are doing their part to contain the virus by designing, painting and sewing fabric face masks for local residents to purchase. Below, find detailed information about each business owner’s recently launched designs. 


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Hey friends, how was week 2 of quarantining? Some days I’m on my game and others I kind of feel like I’m chasing my tail. I found a little more focus in between our new daily routine and I wanted to share it with you and I could use your help to get the job done! . A few days ago I told you that we decided to turn my studio into a factorette to make masks for people in need. This coming week we’ll be dropping off over 200 masks to civil servants and to a homeless shelter for both adults and kids. By the end of the week we will have made close to 500 masks and then after that even more! ⚡️ I posted a story a couple of days ago while wearing a mask that had a butterfly printed on it. A bunch of you kindly wrote to me and asked if you could buy one but at that time I decided I was trying to get up and running with the free ones. ⚡️ Since the numbers of free masks are growing by the day, I’ve decided to cast a net to help us raise funds to keep this project going. To help, you can choose from one of the hand printed masks on the next image, shoot me a DM with your address and your choice of 🦁🦋🌷🌸. Each mask is $10 plus shipping or you can porch pick up in Del Ray. Since these won’t be on the website you can pay me via Venmo @tulusa if you’re local we can arrange for a pick up or delivery. ⚡️ Not to state the obvious but Please keep in mind that these masks are meant as an added layer of protection and don’t come with any guarantee. They are a fun way to help protect people that need it. ⚡️ I saw a video last night from @glennclose in it she says “your fate is my fate and my fate is your fate” this was never more true. We have to look out for each other, and protect anyone we can in order to #flattenthecurve 🙏🏻🙏🏻 . . #tsgalexandria #livelovelocal #facemasks #getdressed #communityovercompetition #wherewomencreate #covid_19 #mycreativebiz #makersmovement #cycollective #creativebusiness #dreamjobmakers #calledtobecreative #communityovercompetition #therisingtidesociety #creativeentrepreneur #savvybusinessowners #womeninbiz #womensupportingwomen #creativeentrepreneur #visitdelray #visitalexandria

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Sue Henry of Tulusa

Based in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Sue Henry is an artist specializing in block-print designs and textiles. In addition to collections of table linens, pillows and handbags, Henry has recently released a collection of hand-printed face masks made entirely of 100% cotton, held on with comfortable elastic strapping. Initially, the masks were donated to health care workers in the region, but the demand was so high that Henry decided to sell the products as well. The designs vary in color and style, including prints of a lion, butterfly and a rose, all made by hand, so no mask will look like the other. The best part? They are all machine-washable in cold or warm water. // $12; ships in seven to 10 days


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April Fool’s Day might seem like a curious day to launch, but today is my birthday. (no joke! 😉) And nothing sounded more meaningful than sharing the new collection of dresses behind this mission, and feeling connected to you all as we make a difference together!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Last week, we decided to pause our normal dress production to help the medical professionals bravely fighting COVID-19 in whatever way we could. When I focused on our purpose, I knew our dresses and community could do great things to help. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So today we’re launching a new collection of dresses to help fund medical-grade masks and creating fabric masks, sewn and donated by you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Have lots to share about this project over the next few days, but visit the site today to see the new dresses and join the movement! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #VDDCoSendingLove

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Rebekah Murray of Virginia Dare Dress Co. 

As part of her recently launched campaign #VDDCoSendingLove, Leesburg resident Rebekah Murray is shying away from making dresses for the time being and is instead sewing fabric masks, as well as offering DIY mask-making kits to raise support and funds for health care workers on the front lines. Since starting the campaign on April 1, Murray has already raised funding to supply over 1,000 respirator masks and has garnered support from over 100 at-home volunteers. By making donations of $25, $50 or $100, all of the proceeds will go toward supporting at-risk health care providers. While Murray is not currently selling masks for personal use, as the Virginia Dare Dress Co. team is focused on the campaign, she has started a log of requests and plans on offering masks for sale in the near future. To be added to the inquiry list, click here.

As part of the campaign, Murray has also released a collection of dresses to be pre-ordered and set to arrive at your door in the summer. With every purchase, a percentage of the proceeds will go toward supplying medical-grade masks. // minimum of $25 donation required

Skylar Raiyn Johnson of Sew Fly Sky

At just 12 years old, Gainesville resident Skylar Raiyn Johnson has already made a name for herself in the fashion industry. This spring, she has joined seamstresses in the fight against the coronavirus by stitching homemade face masks for first responders, nurses and doctors on the front lines. While at first Johnson was donating all masks, which are available in black, gray, pink, green and blue, she has since started selling the reusable, washable masks to residents of Northern Virginia and beyond. Proceeds from all sales will be donated to local health care facilities. // $7, not including shipping

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