Sewing Face Masks for Healthcare Facilities in the Iowa City Area

UPDATED 03/29/2020  3:00 PM

  • Supplies of elastic and interfacing now available for pick up.  Learn how to request them here.

  • Please register the number of face masks you plan to make by entering your pledge here.

  • Report all your completed and delivered face masks here.

Who's involved?  Volunteers from several organizations that sew for a variety of charitable causes are now working together to sew face masks for healthcare workers in the Iowa City area to help bridge the shortage of personal protective equipment. The sponsoring organizations are the Old Capitol Quilters Guild, the Preemie Project, and Days for Girls.

Where are the masks going? We will be supplying face masks to Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, 20 nursing homes throughout the area, and Shelter House. We have also contacted the VA Hospital and the Free Medical and Dental Clinic about their needs. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has indicated that they won't be taking homemade masks at this time through official donation channels.

How can you help? If you sew, jump right in to sewing the masks shown below. Even if you don't sew, you can support the organizations that are leading this project by making cash donations to cover the costs of the supplies needed for making these masks, such as elastic and interfacing. Both are in are in short supply locally. To ensure we have enough of these supplies, project coordinators have purchased items out of their own pockets and with funds supplied by the The Preemie Project and Days For Girls. We are hoping to reimburse these individuals and organizations using donated funds. If you are interested in helping to fund this project please make a donation.


What will we be making?  Many projects like this are underway nationwide. As a result, there are a large number of patterns available. In consultation with local healthcare providers, we have settled on the two face masks shown below. 

The Olson Mask, developed by UnityPoint in Cedar Rapids, is designed to be worn over an N95 filter mask. ​It will primarily be used by medical professionals during direct patient contact. Mercy Iowa City has asked for at least 300 Olson masks and 20 of the nursing homes and long care facilities in the area have asked for a dozen each. 


Download Pattern for the Olson Mask

Download Guidance for making the Olson Mask

Olson Mask Instructional Video

The Pleated Mask is for general use by individuals. The 20 nursing homes and long-term care facilities have each asked for 100 of these masks. We have also had requests for them from Shelter House and expect more to come soon.  Note: If you have already sewn similar pleated masks using a different pattern and would like to donate them, we would welcome them. See the "Guidance" sheet, below, for delivery instructions.


Download Pattern for the Pleated Mask

Download Guidance for making the Pleated Mask

Pleated Mask Video Tutorial by Erica Arndt 



        Register pledges for Olson Face Masks and/or for Flat Pleated Face Masks

        (we’re tracking the two masks separately, so you’ll need to enter twice if you’re making both kinds).


Instructions for delivering finished masks are provided here and on the Guidance sheets for each type of mask. See links above to download the sheets.

Important note about which facilities we're focusing on:
We have communicated with the two Cedar Rapids hospitals -- Mercy and St. Luke's -- as well as the quilt guild in Cedar Rapids (the East Iowa Heirloom Quilters (EIHQ)). Both hospitals have been welcoming face masks, but the EIHQ is actively working with them already and has 300+ members, so we think they're well covered and hope OCQG members and others in the Johnson County area will focus on the considerable needs here. .​


Old Capitol Quilters Guild

Mailing address: 761 Camp Cardinal Blvd # 2208, Coralville, IA 52241

Most of our monthly meetings are held at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2301 East Court Street, Iowa City.