Wichita State junior pitches in with sewing to make protective masks

  • Wichita State junior Caitlin Bingham has sewed more than 60 protective masks while at home during the pandemic.
  • Bingham, a biomedical engineering major, pitches for the Shocker softball team.
  • The softball team stays connected through video meetings and social media while away from campus.

Wichita State softball pitcher Caitlin Bingham learned to sew as a child. Softball, however, demanded most of her free time.

The COVID-19 pandemic put her back together with fabric and thread. Caitlin, from Tecumseh, Oklahoma, is sewing masks for medical personnel, inspired by a California pediatrician’s pleas for help on Facebook.

“She basically posted on Facebook crying out for help, because she had been wearing the same mask for weeks at a time,” Bingham said. “We went to our fabric store, got some supplies and got to work. Between me and my mom (Lauren Bingham), we’ve probably made close to 60 masks.”

Caitlin, a junior biomedical engineering major, leaned on her grandmother, who is also making masks, for sewing tips.

“She taught me the tricks of the trade,” Bingham said.

Caitlin uses four layers of cotton fabric and the pattern includes a slot for filters. They sent 15 to the doctor in California – a friend of her mother – and delivered others to the hospital in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

“We’re pumping them out,” she said. “It’s kind of therapeutic to be doing something and helping someone. We have some people very close to our family that are at the front line of it, working in the hospitals, working in the clinics. They’re struggling.”


Like other Wichita State athletic teams, softball coaches keep in contact with video meetings and group texts. Caitlin’s days are filled with sewing, remote learning and trying to find ways to work out at home.

“We communicate close to every day, because we are all so close,” she said. “That’s really hard, especially when go from working 24-7 to, ‘Ok, just stop.’ It’s hard to sit and wait.”

The waiting continues. Caitlin is making the most of that time by helping those in need.

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