Charlotte Ballet makes homemade masks to donate to Atrium Health facilities

Coronavirus Updates, News | 3 years ago

Creating Handmade Face Masks to Make a Difference

As coronavirus continues to impact communities, two local groups identified an opportunity to help when they heard about the need for face masks for patients who are experiencing flu-like symptoms The masks serve as a vital way to prevent exposure. See how a group of seamstresses and members of Charlotte Ballet are creating CDC approved face masks to donate to Atrium Health. Read their stories and learn how you can participate too!

During these trying times, hospitals nationwide have found themselves in need of additional face masks to protect patients with flu-like symptoms from additional complications. Seeing this need in our communities, several groups have raised their hands to help make an impact.

A calling to help during a time of need

The Tree Tops Needlecrafters, a local group of volunteer seamstresses based in Lancaster, South Carolina, have been long-time friends of Atrium Health. From sewing pediatric pillowcases, seatbelt covers for cancer patients and isolette covers for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, the group has put their heart and soul into sewing an assortment of homemade items to help ease our patients journeys as they navigate their different health conditions.

Kathleen Sharp, a teammate at Atrium Health, lives in the same community where the Tree Top Needlecrafters reside. Her passion for sewing all began when the group was able to transform her wedding gown into dozens of “angel gowns” that were donated to Levine Children’s Hospital and Atrium Health Pineville. Angel Gowns are donated wedding dresses that are remade into tiny baby burial gowns small enough to fit premature or newborn babies. These gowns also allow families to give their child a baptism or take pictures, so that they have a lasting, beautiful image of their child.

As the coronavirus pandemic got close to home and news of a nationwide shortage of masks started to spread, Kathleen and the Tree Top Needlecrafters knew what their next project would be. Over the past several weeks, Kathleen and the seamstresses, in coordination with infectious disease physicians, nurses and key leaders throughout our system, created a template for a sewn mask that meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and can be used after all existing face mask options are used.

A local seamstress group, the Tree Top Needlecrafters, sews face masks to donate to Atrium Health during the coronavirus pandemic

While Atrium Health is fully stocked in regular face mask options, the Tree Top Needlecrafters are hard at work sewing hundreds of masks that will initially be used for patients with flu-like symptoms, to help reduce exposure. In the event of a supply shortage, the masks could be used for healthcare providers.

Using performing arts for community good

The generous spirit of the Tree Tops Needlecrafters has spread all over the community, and into the very talented hands of Charlotte Ballet’s production department. Together with the Tree Tops Needlecrafters, Charlotte Ballet will be the exclusive provider of pediatric masks for Atrium Health.

As the spread of coronavirus reached the Charlotte area, Charlotte Ballet had no choice but to cancel the rest of their 2020 season. An organization filled with passionate creatives, they immediately pivoted from set design and costume production to sewing thousands of fabric face masks for children; to be used by patients who have any flu-like symptoms, if and when the current supply of masks isn’t enough.

“Atrium Health has been an amazing partner to Charlotte Ballet for years, and we recognize the stress that the entire healthcare system is under,” said Doug Singleton, executive director of Charlotte Ballet. “The first thing that came to mind after our season was cancelled was, ‘how can we help?”

The decision? To transform the costume department into a socially distant appropriate, mask-making creative space. Charlotte Ballet’s production team will use the remainder of their cancelled season to make masks instead of costumes and elaborate sets.

Belk chipped in to help, with a large donation of sheets to be used as the material for the masks. And on Wednesday, April 1, the first delivery arrived at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center.

If you love sewing, making masks can be a great way to give back. We’re providing cloth masks to our healthcare workers who don’t directly care for patients – people like pharmacists, maintenance workers, and supply delivery staff. We’re also asking anyone who comes into our facility wear a mask, and would like to have enough cloth masks to be able to provide our adult and pediatric patients a mask when they walk in the door. This will help us preserve our surgical masks for our doctors, nurses and other teammates caring for patients.

To learn more about how to make the sewn fabric masks, please email

How to make adult-sized masks.

How to make pediatric-sized masks.