DMACC Fashion Merchandising & Design Students Sewing Olson Masks for Health Care Providers

Posted 3/26/2020

​​Masks will be donated to local hospitals and medical offices

DMACC Fashion Merchandising and Design students are now making Olson masks from their homes to support local health care providers responding to COVID-19. The Olson mask, a new modular mask named after 1930s legendary nurse Lyla Mae Olson, was developed by clinicians from UnityPoint Health and is currently being shared across the globe.

Approximately 10-15 DMACC students, under the direction of DMACC Fashion Merchandising faculty members Alecia Mintle, Courtney Conlin, Gretche​n Bohling and Ann Gadbury, are sewing the masks from their respective homes.

“DMACC faculty members have created supply bags with the materials needed to create 15 masks,” said DMACC Professor Ann Gadbury. “These supply bags can be safely picked up by our DMACC Fashion Merchandising and Design students at a designated local business.”

After picking up a supply bag, students then sew and return the finished masks to the same location. The students may continue to take additional supply bags each time they bring back a completed set of masks.

Gadbury said right now there has been very little expense because faculty members and DMACC students have been donating their own personal fabric. The only thing participants have needed to purchase is hair ties.

She estimates it will take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete each mask depending upon the skill level of the seamstress.

 “We will be delivering the masks to local health c​are providers,” Gadbury said. “And we’ll continue the project until supplies are gone or demand is met.”

Des Moines area medical facilities will be the primary focus of where the masks will be donated, Gadbury said, but requests have also come in from small businesses such as chiropractic and dental offices.  

“We currently have enough materials to make 300 masks, but we are working on collecting more material,” Gadbury said.

The DMACC Ankeny Campus Student Activities Council (SAC) and DMACC Fashion Club are also providing support for the project. 


For more information, contact: Jeanie McCarville Kerber,​​

Return to News