Local fabric shops, community members making face masks for those in need

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: April 06, 2020 06:53 PM

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mask making is turning into a hobby and passion for people. Here in the Northland, local businesses and community members are finding ways to make them and distribute them to those who need it in the area.


One of those business's is the Hannah Johnson Fabric Shop which is on 4511 E Superior St. in Duluth. The store is selling mask making kits and is also donating masks to those who need them.

"The donations were coming in like crazy. We were getting hundreds of them. We probably have distributed 3,000 masks just to this community in the past two weeks," said Janet Anelli, the owner of Hannah Johnson Fabric Store. "They're fairly easy to make and they're fast to make, but the amount of security people feel wearing them right now is really high."

The fabric shop is contributing to this high demand by offering the option for people to either pick up masks for free or pay for the kit to make the masks at home.

"We've been giving out the elastic and the patterns to make the masks. Outside of the store we have taped to the wall a folder, so anyone that wants to come and take a mask pattern, there's three different styles to choose from," said Anelli.

The kit sell for $6. Anelli says you can make about three to four masks with the kit. She says the kits have been selling fast.

"We just put up 100 kits on Saturday for sale and all 100 of those kits have been sold," said Anelli.

Anelli says people are asked to put them in a plastic bag and drop them off outside of the shop. There's a bin outside where people can drop them off. People have even donated elastic to help make more kits. Anelli says there's been a shortage in elastic and has struggled to find them online.

The fabric shop has also been getting donations of masks from community members so that they can be donated for people that need them. Customers have been requesting them for curbside pickup.

"She was very quick and kind to get back to me and let me know. She said that if we needed masks that she would have them. I have a wife and I have a 92-year-old mother-in-law, and obviously myself," said Tony Heikilla, a customer. "We got to the point where you're almost a little nervous to go out without them now and trying to heed the recommendations of the medical field."

Anelli said she's been getting calls and emails from people across the country who are interested in getting the free masks or mask kits. 

More and more people are looking to buy face masks to protect themselves but say it has been a challenge to find them in stores.That's why community members are also doing their part to help with this high demand.

"It pretty much just started with our little sewing machine at home making masks for ourselves and now we have a lot of people needing masks," said Jennifer Sippo of Proctor, a community member who is making masks.

Sippo said she realized there was a greater need and started selling them on Facebook for $8. She said she's gotten over 400 orders from places like shelters and daycares across the Twin Ports.

"Families and kids are at home now and so people are needing masks for their kids too and when they need to go out in public too," said Sippo.

Sippo said taxi businesses, women's shelters, and people in the medical field have reached out to her to make masks. She said it has been nonstop work, but emphasizes that it's worth it because she knows she's helping people stay safe.

"It feels really good I definitely would like to make sure everybody's protected and healthy," said Sippo.

To order mask kits or request free masks from Hannah Johnson's Fabric shop, email They offer curbside pickup and shipping. Here's a link with the instruction to make masks from home. The facebook page also has additional information. 

To get masks from Jennifer Sippo, go to her Facebook page. She delivers to Duluth and Superior.

Vaida Pearson of Duluth is also donating masks, you can reach her at 218-310-3194.

Jamie Larson of Duluth is also donating masks, you can reach her at or call at ?(715) 969-6359. ?Larson donates them to healthcare workers and sells them for $4.

David Lovshin and his wife are also making masks. They will be distributing to those who need them outside of Miller Hill Mall Tuesday at noon. If you want to order masks from him, email is also an organization that is making masks. 


Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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