Tailor switches to sewing cloth masks during pandemic


  • Metro News
  • Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Ang and her son Teoh Lim Jiang, 28, placing the cloth face masks that she had sewn into plastic packaging for distribution. — Photos: LIM BENG TATT/The Star

A SINGLE mother, who did some home sewing to make ends meet, is now making face masks as demand for clothes have declined during the pandemic.

Ang Siew Cheng, 56, now has her hands full sewing cloth masks at her home in Taman Bagan Jaya, Butterworth, on mainland Penang.

“I used to sew clothes but demand is slow these days so I’m helping to do cloth masks to fulfil market needs.

“For each mask sewn, I get RM1 and I am able to sew up to about 50 masks daily, ” she said.

To date, Ang has sewn 600 masks since she was introduced to the job in July.

“However, it’s no easy job as precision and a lot of work are needed to produce consistent results.

Some of Ang’s face masks sewn using different fabrics.Some of Ang’s face masks sewn using different fabrics.

“I receive pre-cut pieces of cloth after they’re designed by companies.

“Each mask consists of three layers and knots are tied inside the ear loops to prevent them from coming off before they are sewn to both ends of the mask.

“I am glad that my almost 40 years of experience in sewing is now put to good use to save lives.

“I hope the people who buy the masks will wear them properly and join the effort in stopping the spread of Covid-19, ” added Ang, who took up sewing when she was 18.

Supporting her at home are her two sons aged 28 and 31.

(Standing from right) Law, Penang Green Council senior officer Carmen Wong and its officer Kee Shin Ai watching Ang sew the cloth face masks at her home in Taman Bagan Jaya in Butterworth.(Standing from right) Law, Penang Green Council senior officer Carmen Wong and its officer Kee Shin Ai watching Ang sew the cloth face masks at her home in Taman Bagan Jaya in Butterworth.

Butterworth Lay Buddhist Society cultural department head Law Wei Pin said Ang was among seven single mothers carrying out the task.

“So far, the single mothers have produced about 2,000 cloth masks.

“We provide them raw materials and help sell the masks to companies and non-profit organisations, ” he said.

The sewn masks can be bought on various platforms and some are sold as merchandise by Penang Green Council on its website.

Penang Green Council general manager Josephine Tan said the collaboration hoped to cut pollution and save the environment.

“The collaboration ensures we pass down a clean and safe world to future generations.

“At the same time, we are helping to provide a livelihood for single mothers and housewives during the Covid-19 pandemic, ” she said.

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