From quilting to masks: The Floating Hospital’s in-house sewing specialist

In line with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order for New Yorkers to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible, one of The Floating Hospital’s own is a real leader.

Elena Moneti is a consultant at The Floating Hospital, working  on reporting and analytics.

But, away from the office, she’s a quilter.

Elena has been applying her knowledge of quilting to sewing masks as a fundraiser for The Floating Hospital.

How long have you been quilting and sewing?
I’ve sewn since I was a teenager. My mom taught me to make my own garments which I still do sometimes. I made my first quilt in 1999.

How did you get interested in it?
I noticed how beautiful quilts can be! So I bought a kit for my first little quilt and I just kept going! I definitely caught that bug!

Outside of pandemics, how do you usually decide what to create?
I like to be inspired by fabrics, but sometimes it can be about trying a new design in the patchwork or even in the quilting stitches.

At what point in all of this did you realize you could apply your needle skills to help with all that’s going on?
Quilters have just the right tools to cut and sew fabric. The internet exploded with patterns and videos on how to make different types of “masks” with our cotton and encouragement to get involved.

Do you have an original pattern that you’ve been using or is there a standard one everybody sewing to help is using?
I didn’t have to make a pattern as there as so many online. I chose the kind that looks like a procedure mask, with pleats. Mine have a little slot at the top where I have a twist-tie as a nose wire, and the mask has a pocket which could hold a procedure mask or some other filter.

The idea there is that in some cases providers use these home-made masks to protect their regular equipment.

Are you having any difficulty sourcing materials to work with?

I decided I would not purchase new fabric but would donate fabrics from my stash instead. My masks have ties because elastic went out of stock very quickly and ties are often preferable.

As a quilter and garment maker, I have a lot of the tools that make this all easier – a cutting mat, rotary cutter, rulers, and even more than one sewing machine!

How many masks have you made to date?

About 100. Some I’ve sold; some I’ve given away to friends or to clerks at the grocery store.

How much money have you raised for The Floating Hospital to date?

Between people buying my masks or just donating via a Facebook post, I’m currently over $1,500!


Elena models one of her creations.


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The Floating Hospital provides high-quality healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration or insurance status, or the ability to pay. By providing unrestricted medical care in tandem with health education and social support to vulnerable New York City families, The Floating Hospital aims to ensure those most in need have the ability to thrive, not just survive.


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