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Zimman’s, located in Lynn, has been donating thousands of yards of its fabric to medical professionals and nonprofits. The 111-year-old interior design store has partnered with local first responders and organizations to provide materials for personal protective equipment. The company that has stayed open through the 1918 flu pandemic and two world wars has closed its doors for the first time, but remains committed to serving its community. 

Since March, Michael Zimman, his wife Ellen Rovner, and his son Daniel Zimman have donated thousands of yards of fabrics to first responders, medical providers, and nonprofits in Lynn, Chelsea, Evertt, and Malden, working especially closely with the Chelsea Collaborative. They’ve also donated fabric to a program through Temple Israel in Boston that’s supporting Syrian refugees who are using their tailoring skills to make masks.

The family has also been collecting thousands of diapers to support families in need in Lynn and Chelsea. “Our store has always been an integral part of Lynn,” Daniel Zimman says, who says that giving back is “definitely the right thing to do, and it feels good to do it.”

They’ve also been donating hundreds of yards of fabric, lining, and elastic to project runway winner Erin Robertson, who, along with a team of volunteers, is making thousands of masks for first responders.

The diaper drive is still on going with daily drop offs at the Zimman’s store at 80 Market Street in Lynn, or you can make a donation here.

As of today, May 6, Governor Baker’s mandatory mask order goes into effect. The administration announced last Friday that they would be requiring masks or other face coverings in all businesses and other public places where you can’t socially distance to help curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Experts say that a face mask doesn’t take the place of distancing yourself from other people, so they recommend we continue to stay six feet apart whenever possible and avoid gatherings of any size.

Follow this easy sewing tutorial to make your own face mask at home. 


(1)  9”x7” patterned cotton fabric
(2)  7”x5” muslin
(1)  25” elastic
(1)  6” pipe cleaner

A few notes:

100% cotton fabric works best, and anything stretchy, like an old t-shirt, isn’t ideal. The more densely woven the fabric, the better. If you don’t have elastic, ribbon will work, as will string or little strips of fabric. Make sure you cut the ribbon or string long enough so that you can tie it around the back of your head. And if you don’t have pipe cleaner, twist ties or other little bendable metal wires work well.

Step 1:

Layer your muslin sheets on top of each other and iron a ¾” fold on one side.

Step 2:

Sew each fold down.

Step 3:

Layer muslin on top of patterned cotton, as shown. Sew each side, allowing for ½ an inch.

Step 4:

Open up the muslin flaps and iron like this.

Step 5:

Then flip the mask over and iron like this.

Step 6:

Open one muslin flap and place the pipe cleaner as close to the seam as possible. Sew in place. This will be the top of the mask (where your nose goes).

Step 7:

Place the mask on the ironing board, pipe cleaner at the top and bottom muslin flap over the top muslin flap.

Flip the mask over and make three pleats, about ½” each, and iron each separately.

Step 8:

Sew the pleats down at about 3/8”. Sew with the pleats, not against.

Step 9:

Fold each side in twice and iron.

Step 10:

Place the elastic or ribbon in the fold, and sew in place.

Do the same on the other side, crossing the elastic like this.

Step 11:

Ties the elastic or ribbon. Slip the knot into the mask so you can’t see it.

Step 12:

Place a non-woven material like a coffee filter, vacuum filter, or interfacing in the mask’s pocket.

Step 13: