TCC Professor makes face masks to aid healthcare workers in pandemic

During this time of uncertainty, people are looking for ways to help. Emily Westerfield, assistant professor of theater teaches theatre design, costume construction, and makeup at the Southeast Campus. For Westerfield, the decision to make masks to aid healthcare workers was a personal one. 

“My mother is an ER nurse in Boulder, Colo. and my younger sister is a pharmacy technician at a hospital in Wisconsin,” Westerfield said. “They told me there was a shortage of face masks, and my sister specifically said the hospital wasn’t providing them for her and her colleague. This prompted me to start making them for my family and their co-workers.”

Westerfield got started making masks by watching a tutorial video on YouTube and working with a pattern online.

Some masks that have been constructed by Professor Westerfield, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Alyssa YePez, Southeast Campus TCC Costume Shop Assistant.

“I already had most of the supplies,” Westerfield said. “As a costume designer, I tend to hoard fabric. But I did go to Walmart on our weekly grocery run and buy a few yards of fabric with fun patterns.”

Westerfield estimates that she has made at least 50 masks to date. She has also made some surgical caps for those working in the ER and 15 headbands with buttons on the side. The headbands are to alleviate the pressure of wearing masks all day. 

A line of masks created for front line healthcare workers.

Westerfield said that she has sent masks to her friends and family in Boulder, Colo.; Appleton, Wis; and Detroit, Mich. She has plans to make more. The costume shop assistant, Alyssa Yepez has made over 70 masks.  Yepez has shipped masks to friends and family in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and Utah.  She is sending some of the masks to medical professionals in Florida. 

Jo-Ann Fabrics is currently hosting a campaign, “Help Support Our Country’s Medical Personnel.” The campaign includes mask making tutorials, information on the campaign, facemask patterns, and where to find supplies. For more information on the campaign, visit

This is a tutorial on mask making that Professor Westerfield recommends:

Alyssa Yepez, TCC Southeast Costume Shop Assistant works at her sewing machine making masks for front line workers.
A montage of Alyssa Yepez, Southeast TCC Costume Shop Assistant constructing the masks. 
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