bfd gown

A Beloit fire department staff member is pictured wearing one of the reusable medical gowns made by Janesville seamstress Diane Jacobson.

JANESVILLE—Longtime Janesville seamstress Diane Jacobson likes to keep her sewing machines busy and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s donating reusable medical gowns and cloth masks to Rock County first responders.

Jacobson donated 11 reusable cloth medical gowns to the Beloit Fire Department last week and is in the process of making 20 more for Janesville Fire Department staff.

“This time of year I am normally busy with prom dresses,” Jacobson said. “The hardest part was coming up with the pattern from the design they wanted. This is keeping me busy.”

Jacobson, who has been offering her seamstress services for 55 years, has a history of creating things from wedding dresses to high school lettermen’s jackets. In 2018, she was inducted into the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame.

“We need to do anything we can to help out,” she said. “It’s so important because I have a daughter and daughter-in-law who are nurses and I know almost all of the firefighters in Janesville.”

Jacobson is also in the process of learning to sew cloth face masks for the Beloit Police Department, even adding the thin metal strip at the top of each mask to ensure it forms to the wearer’s face.

“It’s about adapting on the fly,” Jacobson said. “We have to keep them safe.”