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It’s not exactly a well-oiled machine in terms of chain of command, but a group of local sewers is stepping up to do what it can to help health care providers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

It started as a friend-of-a-friend said kind of thing. Local sewing instructor Stevena House came up with an idea. Purple Door Fabric posted it on its email list and the grassroots effort to help provide protective masks and gowns for Kittitas Valley Healthcare providers took shape.

“This is something we can do to help the community. It’s nice to make the world a little bit better,” House said. “We’re buying our own supplies, creating our own patterns and we’ll continue to provide masks and gowns until they are no longer needed.”

House’s grandmother Leona Schlie operated a craft and sewing retail business and she learned to sew from her mother Margaret Schlie-House when she was 10. Stevena brainstormed the idea of taking the pattern from a basic garage dust mask and turning it into something helpful to the healthcare provider.

“I called KVH and they said they were running out of masks. I told them I have a crafting and sewing group and we’d like to help,” House said. “I actually went to KVH when I dropped off some of the masks and they took a couple of minutes and let me take measurements off one of the doctors, so I could draft up a pattern for the gowns. My sewing group is helping edit the pattern so the instructions can be easily followed.”

House teaches basic sewing classes in Ellensburg and has edited and posted a video set of instructions to guide new sewers through the steps. Any tips, additions or improvements would be appreciated, she said.

“Right now, we have 12 people that are connected through the email — pretty much strangers. But we’ve made almost 100 masks so far, but not all have been delivered to the hospital yet,” said House, who has been sewing nearly 30 years.

“We can use all the help we can get. The more we have, the better. Even if you’re not an experienced sewer, the masks are pretty simple to make. The gowns are a little more of an intermediate level, but as we perfect the pattern it will get easier to follow the instructions.”

They are buying their own supplies, creating their own patterns and doing something to fill a need for the good of the community. They have created a tutorial video for beginners. In a world where it’s all hands-on deck thinking about creative ways to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ellensburg sewing community has risen to the occasion.

“My fiancé’s new non-profit Mega Moshe, www.megamoshe.org, helped me change my website’s front page to direct people to my sewing and a link to download the PDF at www.stevenahouse.com,” House said. “Purple Door Fabric put my contact info out on their mailing list, so we’re getting the word out. Anybody that wants to help can join us.”

If anyone would like to join, contact House at artist@stevenahouse.com.

To see a mask tutorial for beginners, visit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0hzh1qCLTI.

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