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TOP MORNING

HAKEN ANDERSON’s mother, BONNIE, is an expert sewer who teaches classes out of the family’s basement. But the 12-year-old from Mahomet had never ventured down to take advantage of his mother’s prowess or the several sewing machines downstairs.

Then, schools closed, and masks became a need for every person wanting to venture into public.

“I said, ‘It’s a nice skill to know, (and we were) home from school trying to be creative,’” his mother said.

So Haken got to sewing. First, he made masks to donate to Carle Foundation Hospital and to give to friends and neighbors. Then, he got a business idea.

His mom sent out a Google Form via Facebook, and for $5 apiece, he began sewing made-to-order masks. “I’ve actually been surprised by how much I like doing it,” he said. “I had never successfully used a sewing machine before coronavirus, so making masks was how I first learned. I spent many hours in the basement sewing, so I have a lot of experience now.

Haken uses a variety of fabrics and even makes some iron-on designs, and he uses high thread-count sheets donated from the I Hotel for the lining. So far, he’s sold 400 masks, including 60 affixed with logos to a cycling group in Bloomington.

His goal was to pay for band trips this fall, where he plays French horn, but he’s already surpassed that goal.

“I think we’re now starting to pay for college,” his mother said. “We’ve got a lot of elastic coming, so he has big hopes that he can continue making a lot more.”

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email Anthony Zilis at azilis@news-gazette.com.

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