PONTIAC – DetroitSewn is joining a lot of Michigan companies pivoting production to meet the healthcare Personal Protective Equipment needs for hospitals triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of sewing custom and industrial apparel, owner Karen Buscemi has her staff sewing cotton washable reusable hospital masks. Last week she had eight people stitching twill-tie and elastic-tie masks. This week she will have 25 people on the job.

“All we are doing now is making masks,” she said in an interview with MITechNews Editor Mike Brennan. “We have multiple factory partners in Michigan and other states working on this initiative with us. We’ll be able to make 2000 units a day this week. We hope to increase that ten-fold to 25,000 units in the weeks to come.”

In her Pontiac factory, she’ll be adding two shifts this week. She’s also looking for another factory location nearby. Two new partner factories will join the project this week. Both are located in Michigan. A third factory will join the effort week after next. Soon all the factories will be operating three shifts to meet critical demand.

DetroitSewn was approached earlier in March by a hospital group with locations in 22 states, including Michigan, to see if she could meet its demand. Production began on March 18.

When word went out on TV and newspapers two weeks ago about DetroitSewn’s plans, Buscemi said she received 1000 applications from people with industrial sewing machine experience. She still has to review about 500 applications, she said.

Buscemi said if anyone with industrial sewing experience wants to submit an application, they can do so by emailing to info@detroitsewn.com.