(Alexandria, MN)  Calling all people who can sew.  Friday morning Joni Jacobson received a phone call from Dr. Deb Dittberner, Chief Medical Officer at Alomere Health, asking for help right now!

Because of the critical shortage, she asked that we sew medical face masks for use at our hospital. This is a part of a CDC protocol that allows hand-made masks if they meet certain criteria. They will be sterilized before use, and they can be re-sterilized and reused!

Joni talked with VOA's Joe Korkowski about the opportunity to help. (AUDIO BELOW)

The pattern is very simple and is attached to this post along with a video at this link.

You will need:

  • Tightly woven cotton fabric
  • Cotton flannel for the backing
  • Elastic 1/8”” or cord elastic (beading cord elastic will work)

Although I’m attaching both the child and the adult pattern, Dr. Deb noted that more adult size masks will be needed.

Calvary Lutheran Church has a supply of elastic available in the vestibule for anyone who needs it for their masks.

Completed masks can then be returned to Calvary and will be delivered to the hospital. Calvary is located at 605 Douglas Street in Alexandria. (320-763-5178)

For more details on the CDC's recommendations regarding masks, click here.


Jay Sieling, who has been helpful in the organization and delivery of supplies, provided an update on this project Sunday (BELOW)

Mask update: Between 150-200 masks have been picked up by the hospital already - amazing!!
To answer a few questions about this project - we are trying to fill an urgent need.
The CDC updated crises guidelines for mask use during the Covid-19 outbreak:
"In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face." -
"So keep making masks. Keep some for your personal use so any hospital grade masks can be saved for the hospital. The masks you are making are being saved for crises mode - many hospitals are almost there.
Industry is stepping up, but delivery of certified PPE is probably two weeks out."
People have asked about "filtered" masks - or making something that approximates the respirator style N95 masks we've heard about in the news. I am attaching another link to a more involved pattern that can be sewn with a pocket for a filter. Hospital systems could use these!
The filters would be made from furnace filters. Look for filters with a MERV rating of 12 or higher (11 rating still claims virus filter and may be cheaper). The idea would be to cut the filter and place in a pocket in the mask. This would be a homemade "N95" equivalent. AGAIN this would not be considered hospital grade PPE - but would be much better than NOTHING. It would also be great for home use, then donate any unused store bought N95s to the hospital.
Here is the link to the more involved pattern. Can include a nose grip as well. The patterns posted previously (yay, alliteration!!) can also be altered to provide a pocket. Be creative. Keep sewing.
Please continue to share ideas. This community is amazing and we will get through this together!