Islington’s sewing heroes

Local community sewing groups have banded together to make more than 500 face masks for vulnerable residents during the lockdown. The community project is made up of people from all walks of life who belong to various sewing groups in the area, some with sewing skills and some without.

The Finsbury Park Women’s Network helped to co-ordinate the volunteers and word of the group’s mask project quickly spread. The council connected the group to its garment industry affordable workspace provider, Fashion Enter, which donated the first batch of material to them. They were then joined by the local mutual aid group. From there the group worked their sewing magic, driven by their desire to help others.

With help from experienced sewers and community group leaders from a range of black and minority ethnic support groups, they were able to introduce volunteers to courses and employment opportunities via Fashion Enter.

One of the seamstresses, Dehab Asfaha, told us: “I wanted to do something to help during the crisis. So I used my sewing and knitting skills to make masks and help the community. It kept me busy during lockdown and it made me happy to know I was doing something to help.

“It might not seem like a big deal, but sometimes small things can make a big difference. I made over 180 masks from the materials donated to us. I’m still making face coverings and distributing them in the Finsbury Park community.”

Want to start sewing, or improve your skills?

If you would like to learn to sew or brush up on your sewing skills, Fashion Enter have spaces left on their free level 1 and level 2 sewing courses. To find out more, email

Don’t forget: You don’t have to know how to sew to make your own face mask!

Check out some face mask making tutorials, including no-sew options, here on the Islington Life blog.

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