Updated: COVID-19 Resources for SPESA Members

The past few months have presented innumerable challenges for several industries, including ours. We’ve compiled a handful of resources that we hope will help you and your company navigate these new waters.


Intro to PPE Production featuring Q&A with NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles
Textile manufacturers pivoting to personal protective equipment (PPE) production face challenges from understanding performance requirements and new materials, to navigating a challenging maze of testing requirements and use guidelines. To help the textile industry address these challenges, NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles has partnered with IFAI, with sponsorship from IPC, SEAMS and SPESA, to create a series of webinars on PPE production and design.

The 9th webinar in the series focused on equipment, construction, and manufacturing of PPE, and featured SPESA members Henderson Sewing Machine Co., PAAT, PFAFF, and Atlanta Attachment Company.

Recordings of all the webinars are available online here.

SPESA & SEAMS Joint Webinar
SPESA and SEAMS, the two leading associations representing the sewn products and manufacturing industry, hosted a joint webinar on Tuesday, April 14th, taking a close look at how companies are managing and addressing the new supply chain dynamics that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Colin Holloway, Senior Manager, Global Innovation at Hanesbrands Inc. on the brand perspective.
  • Jeoff Bodenhorst, President at LA Corp and SEAMS on the cut-and-sew perspective.
  • Ron Roach, President at Contempora Fabrics and Secretary/Treasurer at SEAMS on the textile perspective.
  • Frank Henderson, President and CEO at Henderson Sewing Machine Co. on the equipment perspective.

Click here to watch the recording.

SPESA Virtual Town Hall
On Thursday, April 2, SPESA hosted a virtual town hall for its members that focused on how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics included Shelter in Place exemptions, health and safety in the workplace, and maintaining customer support & satisfaction.

Click here to watch the recording.

Please let us know if there is a specific topic you would like to learn more about in a future webinar or virtual town hall.

DOD PPE Virtual Information Days

SPESA members were invited to attend virtual information days July 14-15, hosted by the U.S. Department of Defense’s COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) and the Defense Logistics Agency, regarding current and future demand for personal protective equipment.

The goal of the online event was to provide current and potential suppliers of PPE an understanding of PPE requirements from across multiple sectors of the economy, including the U.S. government and trade associations representing medical and non-medical industry.

Click here for a list of useful resources discussed during the information days.

Government and Business Assistance

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has outlined resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.
  • Applications are now being accepted for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), designed to help small businesses (less than 500 employees) keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The application is available here.
  • Investopedia has a surprisingly good overview of the PPP and EIDL programs including information on the interest rates and loan terms.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus resource page has a good list of small business support available in each state (the state resources are about half-way down the page).
  • If your company's operations have been partially or fully suspended as a result of orders from a governmental authority due to COVID-19 or you have experienced a decline in gross receipts by more than 50%, you could be eligible for the employee retention tax credit.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also has a checklist to help companies determine whether they are eligible to receive support under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • Here is a top line summary of the additional funding included in the April 21 stimulus package.
  • The Department of Labor has a landing page dedicated to resources on COVID-19 for workers and employers, including workplace safety, employee compensation, and more.

Shelter in Place Exemptions

Many SPESA members and others in the sewn products industry are contributing to the manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States.

Our colleagues at the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) have shared a letter template to use for outreach to state and local officials requesting an exemption from Shelter in Place/lockdown orders due to critical manufacturing needs.

Here is a good tracker for Shelter in Place and Stay at Home orders around the country.

SPESA Member Response to COVID-19

Every day we open the news and see some new story about businesses upending their operations to help protect their communities and fight the spread of COVID-19. We are incredibly proud of the SPESA members who have stepped up.

Learn more about what SPESA members are doing.

Connecting Suppliers and Manufacturers

The Americas Apparel Producers Network (AAPN) is inviting industry associations, including SPESA, to join its recently launched Sourcing Center that connects suppliers and producers to make masks, gowns and other urgently required medical garments and sewn products.

While SPESA members do not manufacture sewn products, we are essential to this endeavor. As manufacturing facilities transition to making PPE, they must know the equipment necessary for specification manufacturing and where to find that equipment. This is just the first step SPESA is taking to ensure the industry and the federal government are able to utilize SPESA members to make these transitions as smooth and effective as possible.

Instructions to access the Sourcing Center are outlined below. This endeavor highlights the importance of working together during a time of critical need for our country's medical professionals.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

  • Go to www.aapnetwork.net
  • Click on MEMBER LOGIN in top right corner (red block). You do not have to be an AAPN member to login. If you are not already in the database you will be asked for your email address. This will become your username. Then you will be asked to create a password.
  • Click on the MEMBERS tile in the toolbar
  • Go to MEMBER LANDING page
  • Click on DISCUSSIONS link
  • Access the SOURCING EXCHANGE discussion, then log into the MAKING CONNECTIONS topic and you'll see all previous exchanges
  • Note: Do not log out; this will make it faster and easier to use this feature next time

Problems logging in? Contact Sue Strickland at sue@aapnetwork.net

Request for PPE Patterns & Specs

We are asking SPESA members to share their patterns, specifications, and tech packs for producing PPE to aid in protecting against the spread of COVID-19. In addition, if you have equipment that could aid in the production of PPE, we ask for a description of your product and its specific capabilities.

You may have seen similar requests from other associations. Please note we are not looking to create redundancy, but rather we will share the information we collect with the rest of the industry. A comprehensive collection of the industry’s resources and capabilities – including that of the vitally important equipment and technology suppliers that make up SPESA’s membership – is a benefit to us all.

Click here to access the patterns already collected in the SEAMS Pattern Resource Hub.

Click here to access the COVID-19 Production Capacity Database (finished goods and inputs).

DLA Request for Information

With the vast need for medical supplies – like protective garments and safety masks – an opportunity has presented itself for our industry to support those on the front line of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Request for Information below.

Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support Clothing & Textiles Directorate is conducting market research to determine industry capabilities for providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) against viral contamination, specifically COVID-19. This is a Request for Information only and not a solicitation for award. DLA understands this is a fluid situation where the landscape of availability is constantly changing. The primary purpose of this announcement is to identify potential sources, product offerings, availability and/or challenges to procuring and obtaining such items to rapidly meet emerging requirements. Therefore, to the extent practical, additional market research may be conducted prior to posting any solicitation to capture the snapshot of the availability at that specific point in time. DLA urges those companies that can provide the following category of items to respond even after the initial response due date of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 5:00 p.m.

The categories are not an all-inclusive list. DLA welcomes industry to identify alternatives or identify additional PPE items necessary to protect against viral contamination of the COVID-19.


  1. Protective Coveralls, in any variant, i.e. with hood and booties, without hood and booties, with hood no booties, with booties no hood, etc.
  2. Protective Aprons and or Gowns
  3. Protective Hoods
  4. Protective Masks
  5. Protective Booties
  6. Protective Gloves
  7. Protective Boots

DLA is asking the Industry to:

Identify/recommend specific products available or specific products that could be available in the near term that can meet the requirements of PPE to protect against viral contamination of the COVID-19 virus.

For each recommended item:

  1. Provide a specification or detailed description of the recommended item.
  2. Identify whether the item is specifically certified as PPE for viral infections and how,
  3. Identify the place of manufacture for all components of the recommended item, the place of manufacturing for the end item, and storage locations if applicable,
  4. Identify if the recommended item is Berry Compliant – meaning that the recommended item is manufactured in the USA with USA sourced/manufactured components.
  5. Identify the current level of inventory for each recommended item or the manufacturing lead-time for each recommended item,
  6. Identify total monthly and yearly production capacity of each recommended item,
  7. Identify any production limitations for each recommended item,
  8. Comment on any requirements that may be imposed on potential Government orders for each recommended item (i.e. must have an order in xx amount of time, must have xx amount of time to provide a quote, unable to ship overseas, only willing to ship within the continental USA, etc.)
  9. Suggestions on any contractual management fees for providing DLA access to inventory in the event of a future crisis without any guarantee of any order from DLA,
  10. Identify if your firm is unwilling or unable to provide PPE items along with a reason why.

Please contact Jessica De La Hoz via email for any questions about the DLA request at jessica.delahoz@dla.mil. Initial responses are requested by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. However, DLA will accept any and all responses received after this date and time for any ongoing requirements

Contact SPESA

Our world is different today than it was a month ago, which requires an audit of how we operate and what we offer our members. As we identify ways to help our members during this time, we welcome you to reach out to us with any difficulties you or your company are facing.

The SPESA team is currently working from home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but we are still here to help.

Click here for an update on SPESA's events related to the impact of COVID-19.

Page last updated 7/16/20