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Red Cross workers wear protective masks during the blood drive in Emporia Monday morning.

Special to The Gazette

We are asking local community members for their help in donating sewn face masks to help curb the nationwide shortage faced by most all health care organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested individuals can help in one of two ways: sewing face masks for patients out of fabric, and sewing covers for N95 masks for health care workers. There is an immediate need for both. Newman Regional Health needs approximately 1,021 N95 covers per week. Patient masks are required to be made of 100 percent cotton or 100 percent flannel. Mask covers must be made of surgical drape.

Anyone who would like to help, or has questions about sewing the masks, is asked to contact Newman Regional Health’s Volunteer Coordinator, Deborah Storrer, at 343-6800 ext. 22525 or dstorrer@newmanrh.org.

A centralized location for pick up and donations has been made available by Emporia Main Street from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Community members are instructed to use the clear garage door on Eighth Avenue, next to the butterfly mural. Call 340-6430 or email main.street@emporia-kansas.gov prior to pickup or dropoff to make arrangements.

Upon donation, the masks and mask covers will be run through the sterilizer before being passed out to patients and staff to ensure there is no infection risk from an item that is being made in a home as opposed to a regulated factory. The face masks will be given to patients with symptoms of respiratory illness to help stop the spread of disease. The covers are a helpful tool to allow health care workers to extend the life of their required N95 masks. The N95 face mask is a mandated piece of personal protective equipment that is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles that could transmit illnesses and diseases from person to person. As COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, these items are necessary for the hospital and other health care settings to keep everyone safe.

“As hard as it is that we’re in this position, I’m excited to see how this community project goes,” Newman Regional Health Infection Preventionist and Microbiology Supervisor Ester Knobloch. “I think it will be a positive way for community members to pass time and feel good about themselves while maintaining social distancing. A two-fold way to stop COVID spread; mask for the patient and distancing for the person sewing.”

Adult Face Mask Sewing Instructions

Size 9-by-6-inches

Materials Needed:

One 9-by-6-inch piece of 100 percent cotton fabric

One 9-by-6-inch piece of 100 percent cotton flannel for the backing

Two 7-inch lengths of rope elastic with a knot tied at each end (1/8- and 1/4-inch flat elastic, twill tape, bias tape, hair ties with elastic, hair bands with elastic, non-silk ribbon, undergarment or jewelry elastic, loops made of 6-inch cloth strips and fabric draw strings will also work. No rubber bands or added embellishments, our sterilizing equipment does not support them).

Use quarter-inch seam allowance

Steps:

Place the right sides of cotton fabric together.

Sew across the top.

Sew across the bottom, leaving about 2-inches in the middle open.

Tuck the first elastic in-between the two fabric layers.

Pull the first end out until it is even with the edge of the fabric and pushed up against the top seam.

Sew the elastic into the corner with the knot out. Backstitch a few times to hold the elastic in place.

Pull the other end of that same elastic out at the bottom corner. Ensure it is laying flat and is not twisted.

Sew down the remainder of the side and across the elastic. Backstitch to tightly secure.

Repeat steps 5-8 with the second elastic on the opposite side.

Turn inside-out so right sides of the fabric are facing out.

Press

Pin two 1/2-inch pleats on each side of the mask, making sure the tucks are in the same direction.

Sew down each side of the mask to secure the pleats.

Child Face Mask Sewing Instructions

Size 7.5-by-5-inches

Materials Needed:

One 7.5-by-5-inch piece of 100% cotton fabric

One 7.5-by-5-inch piece of 100% cotton flannel for the backing

Two 7-inch lengths of rope elastic with a knot tied at each end (1/8- and 1/4-inch flat elastic, twill tape, bias tape, hair ties with elastic, hair bands with elastic, non-silk ribbon, undergarment or jewelry elastic, loops made of 6-inch cloth strips and fabric draw strings will also work. No rubber bands or added embellishments, our sterilizing equipment does not support them)

Use 1/4-inch seam allowance

Steps:

Place right sides of cotton fabric together.

Sew across the top.

Sew across the bottom, leaving about 2-inches in the middle open.

Tuck the first elastic in-between the two fabric layers.

Pull the first end out until it is even with the edge of the fabric and pushed up against the top seam.

Sew the elastic into the corner with the knot out. Backstitch a few times to hold the elastic in place.

Pull the other end of that same elastic out at the bottom corner. Ensure it is laying flat and is not twisted.

Sew down the remainder of the side and across the elastic. Backstitch to tightly secure.

Repeat steps 5-8 with the second elastic on the opposite side.

Turn inside out so right sides of the fabric are facing out.

Press

Pin two 1/2-inch pleats on each side of the mask, making sure the tucks are in the same direction.

Sew down each side of the mask to secure the pleats.

N95 Cover Sewing Instructions

Size 9 x 8-inches

Materials Needed:

One 9-by- 8-inch piece of surgical drape fabric (obtain from the hospital)

Two 6-inch lengths of 1/4-inch flat elastic (7-inch lengths of rope elastic with a knot at each end. 1/8- and 1/4-inch flat elastic, twill tape, bias tape, hair ties with elastic, hair bands with elastic, non-silk ribbon, undergarment or jewelry elastic, loops made of 6” cloth strips, and fabric draw strings will also work. No rubber bands or added embellishments, our sterilizing equipment does not support them)

Use 1/4-inch seam allowance and hem

Steps:

Mark each 8-inch side of the fabric at 2, 3, 3½, 4½, 5 and 6-inches.

Use markings to make three pleats on each side of the mask, making sure the tucks are in the same direction.

Pin the 2-inch mark to the 3-inch mark.

Pin the 3 ½-inch mark to the 4 ½-inch mark.

Pin the 5-inch mark to the 6-inch mark.

Stitch down each side to hold pleats.

Turn the top edge of the mask down ¼-inch so that the wrong sides are together.

Insert one end of the elastic ½-inch into this fold at the corner of the mask.

Sew the elastic in place. Backstitch to tightly secure.

Continue sewing across the top of the mask until 1-inch from the other end.

Insert one end of the second elastic ½-inch into the fold at this corner.

Sew the elastic in place. Backstitch to tightly secure.

Turn the bottom edge of the mask up ¼-inch so that the wrong sides are together.

Insert the second end of the elastic on that side ½-inch into the fold at the corner of the mask to make the first ear loop.

Sew the elastic in place. Backstitch to tightly secure.

Continue sewing across the bottom of the mask until 1-inch from the other end.

Insert the second end of the elastic on that side ½-inch into the fold at this corner of the mask to make the second ear loop.

Sew the elastic in place. Backstitch to tightly secure.

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