Ipswich woman sews masks for her community

A Ripley woman heard the news on Friday that Ipswich would be going into lockdown.

She has been sewing masks to give away for free ever since.

Valerie Mae Diola (pictured) is a seamstress by trade and she knows all too well what it is like to find yourself relying on the kindness of others.

“Last year during the lockdown I lost my job temporarily while my workplace closed down and I was unable to access jobkeeper,” Ms Diola said.

“When my friends found out they helped my family.

“Because of the kindness shown to me during that time I really wanted to give back to the community now.”

The whole family is pitching in to help.

“My husband and daughter are inserting the elastic and bagging them up for me,” she said.

“I cut the fabric and assemble the mask, then it takes five minutes to sew each one.”

The Ripley community has been very supportive with neighbours donating material and one shared a post on Facebook to ABC Brisbane that has had a massive response with more than 1,100 shares and more than 900 comments.

“I didn’t expect that to happen, all I wanted to do is help my community,” Ms Diola said.

“I am getting lots of messages, it’s so overwhelming.”

Ms Diola’s old sewing machine does not have an automatic thread cutter so she has to cut the thread by hand making the task difficult.

“I have to do it by hand and it makes my fingers cramp,” she said.

“My arm is sore.”

When Ms Diola runs out of fabric she plans to run a hot bath, throw in a generous amount of Epsom salts and relax. 

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  1. Hi i would love to purchase one of your mask tomor morning if you have any. I know your doing free but please allow me to purchase one.

    1. Will you make one of butterfly 🦋 that colour I like so willing you send me one free a d post to me please

  2. Hi would it be possible to get 120 masks for an Aged Care Facility my Wife runs it would be much appreciated my Mobike us 0410 883474

  3. Hi i would like to purchase 3 adult masks though you’re giving them for free. Your generosity is most appreciated. Where can I collect them please?

  4. Hi, I am based in Canberra & would love to give Ms Diola paid work on a one-off tailoring job, if she needs an income, as she & her family receive no Govt support. I can be contacted via 0404276392. Tks for yr efforts, Valerie! Warmest, Flavia

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