Alma Sue Update #4

Update on Face Masks and Isolation Gowns

Things change by the day and almost by the hour.  We have that disposable face mask made from coffee filters which is ok for shoppers, people sewing, probably use them in classrooms for quite a while.  Use once then discard.  Make them for your family, quick and easy.  I put the folding and sewing technique on our facebook.  If you want to make some for the family, we will give out the supplies at no charge.
Supplies needed:  One coffee filter
Two pieces elastic:  cut 7 1/2 inches, 1/8-1/4 wide

We have a face mask pattern from a healthcare facility with a request to make this style from fabric that can be sanitized and laundered.  The Dept of Health ok'd this pattern for this facility to use.  It includes the pattern and instructions to sew the mask.  I will send this pattern to anyone via email who is willing to sew up the masks.  You can drop off the masks at Alma Sue's and the facility will pick them up here at the quilt shop. 

We have also been requested to make isolation gowns.  This morning I received the pattern in 24 pages of a download.  Tomorrow Dena and Teresa will tape it together, transfer to a pattern fabric or a paper tissue and make it available for anyone who wants to make the gowns.  Materials needed for the gown are:
fabric - we will use muslin, novelty prints would be fun
twill tape or 1" double fold bias tape for neckline and for ties
use 1/2 to 5/8 inch seam (not 1/4 inch quilting seams!)
no raw raveling edges - finish seam by serger, zigzag, french seam, or flat fell seam
Not sure yet if we will be holding sewing sessions here (wear disposable mask) or whether we will pack up supplies in a kit to have people pick up. 

It is important to recognize these face masks are not the same as the approved masks to prohibit a virus from passing through.  We debated about getting into face masks because of product liability laws (some I think have been waived for PPE), being acutely aware of the litigious nature of some individuals.  There is currently a lawsuit over face masks in Indiana I believe.  We will not sell any face masks, and we will not donate items to, or participate in the activities of anyone who is making face masks to sell.

Status of supplies needed to make face masks and gowns:
ELASTIC = sold out almost everywhere.  I have a good amount of wider KNIT and BRAIDED elastic that does not fray when cut.  So we  cut it down to 1/4-3/8 inches.  I have rolls of 50 feet on order from my supplier that will arrive next week.  It is 1 inch wide but can be cut down.  I am giving that away FREE of charge.  Call if you want us to send to you (941-330-0993) or TEXT 941-302-6101 and we will send it to you!

TWILL TAPE =  needed to make ties for the isolation gowns.  Again, sold out virtually everywhere.  Alternate - use wide double fold bias take to make the ties.  Use this same bias tape to sew around the neckline.
VELCRO = the gown pattern calls for velcro closure at the neck.  We will just extend the double fold bias tape beyond the neckline to tie around the neck.  When the gown is laundered and velcro not closed, the sticky part gets filled with lint then doesn't want to work anymore. 
DOUBLE FOLD BIAS TAPE wide = I don't really know the status of this bias tape, am guessing the "wide" would be the same as the quilt binding sold in chain stores.  I am still looking around to find a good source by the roll.  The neckline would work with a smaller width, but that might not work well as a tie.  The pattern says to sew the wide bias tape down one side to use as a tie for the gown.  We want to use the twill tape as the tie, but will take whatever we can get. 

FABRIC = I was able to source 50-yd bolts of muslin for a very good price to make gowns.  Ordered 4 bolts for a total of 200 yards.  Don't know yet how many yds it will take for one gown, will know tomorrow when we patch pattern together.  I am willing to give out this fabric to anyone who is willing to sew gowns.  I have a call in to one fabric company that will send fabric seconds for a cheap price to make gowns.  Will continue to try and source the fabric.  Am guessing it might be fun to have some novelty prints made into gowns - recognize they will be bleached and laundered and the prints will fade out but might still look ok.  To jazz up the plain muslin gowns we can use different colors bias tape at the neckline, maybe even the ties.  Twill only comes in white, ivory, and black but bias tape comes in many colors.  Or ambitious folks can made their own bias tape from fabric stash  I will order some wide bias tape makers - don't have any in stock right now.  Will let you know when they arrive.

Hopefully in a day or so I will have a better list of donations needed, what non sewers can do such as copy patterns, cut out fabric for masks and gowns from the patterns, cut pieces of elastic to size, cut pieces of bias tape and twill to size, etc. 
If you want a copy of the mask pattern from the Health Dept., email me at
I will attach the pattern and return it and instructions to your email. 

I do not like newsletters to contain political, religious, or power selling items or issues.  But here is one comment - why do you suppose the USA is suddenly out of all the supplies to make personal protective equipment?  Can it be because we stopped making these things in our country and for years began to rely on buying them so much cheaper from another country.  Everyone wanted to outsource manufacturing to save a dime.  Much of this PPE is available online from one foreign country, but at outrageous prices.  One website is selling disposable gowns, couple dozen for $640.  Or the product is still the same price but shipping is now $450.  One of my facebook friends sent a quote yesterday:  "China has put the world on its knees, even without shooting one bullet."  Something to think about.

At any rate, never underestimate the combined grit of the people in this country to band together, especially during adversity.  Thank you for all your efforts to help out the caregivers.  I will let you know more in a day or so when the fabric arrives.  
In the meantime, if you need elastic, I have plenty of that right now.  Come to the shop Tuesday-Friday 10-3 and pick up some.  Or call shop and we will send to you.  Or email Ella at  I shouldn't have to say this, but the FREE supplies are only for those people making PPE to donate to caregivers.  Supplies are not free for those people selling masks.  Supplies are not free for those people making and selling gowns.

Also NOTE:  Beginning this week we are open Tuesday through Friday from 10-3 pm.  
CLOSED Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
Now we are still in the shop shipping every day, cleaning, and sewing, but don't count on it if you are dropping by on a day other than listed above.  
We are putting all the dimples online today and tomorrow (  Then canvas will go online next (  All the grunge and moda confetti blenders are online (  Need something not listed online?  Call and if we have it will ship to you FREE of charge.  We have many items not posted online yet. 
All of our items on Amazon are shipped FREE of charge, even if you are not an Amazon Prime member!  Or you can always call us if you need something.  Curbside delivery or FREE shipping.
Stay well, stay safe.  More later.
Ella for Alma Sue's Quilts 
Email for patterns and supplies to make PPE