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Could leopard print face masks be the new ‘must have’ accessory?

PUBLISHED: 07:30 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 26 June 2020

Masks made by Megan and Halil, in a variety of prints and patterns Picture: Megan McWilliams

Masks made by Megan and Halil, in a variety of prints and patterns Picture: Megan McWilliams

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An Ipswich dry cleaner forced to diversify as coronavirus hit has been making hundreds of face masks - including a popular leopard print design - and has donated a stash to Ipswich Hospital.

Some of the masks that have been donated to Ipswich Hospital Picture: Megan McWilliamsSome of the masks that have been donated to Ipswich Hospital Picture: Megan McWilliams

Halil Kilic and Megan McWilliams, of Magic Touch Dry Cleaners, decided to use their time during lockdown to help their local NHS – by sewing and donating hundreds of fabric masks.

Halil, who has been sewing since he was a young child, has spent the last 12 years growing his Norwich Road business, and has been teaching Megan how to sew for the past 12 months.

Megan said: “Halil has very valued customers - he says they are his family.”

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Magic Touch Dry Cleaners, based on Ipswich's Norwich Road Picture: Megan McWilliamsMagic Touch Dry Cleaners, based on Ipswich's Norwich Road Picture: Megan McWilliams

But when his business was forced to close due to the Coronavirus lockdown, Halil and Megan put their skills to use and began to sew handmade masks for their local hospital.

“We made 100 masks and donated them to Ipswich Hospital. They were overwhelmed with the donation and sent us a really nice thank you letter,” Megan said.

“We were both very proud to have helped them, because there’s such a shortage of PPE and we wanted to show that we appreciate all of the hard work they are doing.”

Each mask takes around 10 minutes to make, and the two spent two days, working 15-hour days to get their hospital donation ready.

Halil Kilic, owner of Ipswich's Magic Touch Dry Cleaners, has made and donated over 100 masks to Ipswich Hospital alongside Megan Picture: Megan McWilliamsHalil Kilic, owner of Ipswich's Magic Touch Dry Cleaners, has made and donated over 100 masks to Ipswich Hospital alongside Megan Picture: Megan McWilliams

“You have to cut the shape, sew, add in the nose wire and elastic before sewing up and pressing with the iron,” Megan said.

“After our donation, we then started making masks for our family and friends,” said Megan.

Their masks proved so popular they decided to sell them.

“We started advertising on social media. One week in and we had almost 500 orders - so we were working long days, making the masks, and then either delivering them to people’s houses or posting them out,” Megan added.

Megan McWilliams modelling one of the masks Picture: Megan McWilliamsMegan McWilliams modelling one of the masks Picture: Megan McWilliams

“We’ve been delivering all around Ipswich, Needham Market, Woodbridge and Felixstowe, and have posted them all around the UK. If anyone would like a mask, they can also come to Magic Touch to get one.”

With masks looking to become a regular part of society for the foreseeable future, Megan and Halil are hoping to expand their offering.

“Our most popular one has been the leopard print one, mostly because it’s very fashionable. We plan on making more glamorous ones in the future - lace and tweed ones have been requested for weddings.

“But we also plan on donating more to the NHS, and are looking to donate to schools if that’s allowed. We hope to make mask-making a part of our dry cleaning business as we think this will be a part of normal life for some time,” Megan said.


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