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Chingos Masks: These Seamstresses Are Slaying It Puro San Antonio Style With Fashionable Face Coverings


  • Courtesy of 2 Witches Brew
Since the pandemic started, everyone and their abuela is making face masks.
But not everyone is making them puro San Antonio. We managed to track down four local shops and two independent maskmakers that are putting needle to thread in creative and stylish ways to help locals ward off La Corona.

Como La Flu

Actually, the new coronavirus is far more contagious than influenza, which is why everyone should wear a face mask when out in public.

And that safety concern prompted West Side resident Monica Ferdin of 2 Witches Brew to start making face coverings for her community. She felt so strongly about the need that she pawned her TV to afford the fabric and materials.

“I noticed how hardly anyone around my neighborhood was wearing masks,” said Ferdin, 45. “So, I decided to make some homemade ones.”

Ferdin had designed Hot Cheetos bracelets in the past, and they sold well, so she decided to stay puro and venture into making masks easily embraced on her side of town. While Ferdin’s mask patterns celebrate local favorites such as the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Cowboys and lowriders, the ones honoring late Tejano superstar Selena are her hottest sellers.

“Selena is the mask I am asked for the most,” she said. “Whatever it takes for someone to feel confident to wear a mask, I can help.”

2 Witches Brew,

  • Courtesy of European Artisan Upholstery
Virgin Designs

If you are one of the nearly 800,000 Catholics living in San Antonio, Fiona Arecchi of European Artisan Upholstery has a mask that may be worth a few Hail Marys.

Arecchi, the upholstery shop’s seamstress and owner, started making masks with the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe when the coronavirus began to threaten her usual line of business.

“We did what a lot of San Antonio business owners did — scrambled for ideas,” said Arecchi, 59. “Who is más puro than the Virgen de Guadalupe herself?”
Indeed, Arecchi credits La Virgen with keeping the city safe during the pandemic.

“I think maybe that’s why San Antonio is doing so well in this fight,” she said. “Our Virgincita is taking care of us all. The wearer [of our Virgen mask] is protected from inhaling almost everything!”

European Artisan Upholstery,

  • Courtesy of The Artisan
Nuestra Cultura

Southtown boutique The Artisan has been closed since March, but owner and designer Sylvia Tijerina was determined not to let the coronavirus win.
“With such a large demand and such a low supply of face masks, my decision to start making my own was an easy one,” said Tijerina, 45.
An artisan by trade, Tijerina added a handful of mask designs to her product line, including Dia de los Muertos, lucha libre, avocados and nopales.
“We love our culture,” she said. “If we have to wear face masks now, why not do it in style?”

The Artisan,

  • Courtesy of Jessica Resendez
Drink Responsibly

As more local bars reopen, customers are starting to ask, “How am I supposed to drink this mangonadarita with a mask on?”

Independent mask maker Jessica Resendez hears that and has you covered. Her mask features a tiny hole that bar patrons can slide a straw into and a small Velcro flap to cover the opening when it’s not being used to imbibe.
“My friends all had the same issue and would continuously touch their face to drink,” said Resendez, 33. “So, I started watching YouTube videos and following the guidelines from the CDC on how to make your own masks.”

With help from her mom Carla, Resendez formed a venture called 1320TX to make masks that allow folks to drink responsibly while drinking responsibly. Chugging not allowed.


  • Courtesy of Maddie Mac Boutique
¡Viva Fiesta … Masks!

San Antonio’s annual citywide party was a big moneymaker for Maggie Ibarra-Jimenez’s Maddie Mac Boutique, which creates custom-made cloth wear, wreaths, hair bows, jewelry and other items.

When the coronavirus hit while Ibarra-Jimenez was sitting on “large collection of fabrics,” the solution was simple: start making Fiesta-style face masks. Soon, Ibarra-Jimenez and her adult children Madeline and Louis will have a new line of puro San Antonio face coverings, including familiar sayings like “Chingona” and “Barbacoa and Big Red.”

Maddie Mac Boutique,

  • Courtesy of Broadway Pinups
Seamstress Squad

Debi Lambright procured the services of 10 local seamstresses to make the masks she sells at her shop, Broadway Pinups. The masks come in a variety of SA-approved prints, including a sarape pattern, papel picado and Frida Kahlo.
“I knew I had to find a way to keep my business afloat,” said Lambright, 37. “I felt if we could provide something for the community and help these women with an income right now, why not?”

In April, Broadway Pinups shipped out more than 1,000 masks.
“It turned out to be a lot more work than we had planned,” she said. “But it has been rewarding.”

Broadway Pinups,

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