Have you been sewing for the NHS? In this time of crisis, the sewists around the world have stepped up to help where they can. We have all been asked to make scrubs, washbags, ear savers, and headbands for the NHS as well as making facemasks for friends and family.
If you want to take part in any of these sewing help groups going on then check out all the information below.
Our advice with regard to any sewing for the NHS is to do it through an official group. That way you make sure that your makes are needed and are going to go to the right place. The best place to start in the UK is to check ScrubHub.
Ideally you should be a confident sewist, with skills of sewing from a pattern. You will need both a sewing machine and an overlocker so that the garments can be made to the professional standard the NHS deserve.
The fabric used for scrubs is usually cotton drill or poly cotton, although doctors will normally wear PPE such as aprons over the top. You can find the sewing patterns here.
Each local hub runs independently and are asking for donations for materials separately. Scrubhub has a list of regional volunteer hubs from Bristol to Yorkshire so it’s best to check requirements in your local area.
If you just don’t have the time or the skills to help at the moment then remember that you can still donate fund to keep them going, each area has their own gofundme page.
Making Drawstring Wash Bags
Drawstring Wash Bags have been asked by some parts of the NHS. They are used by staff when they remove their scrubs, putting the scrubs in the bag to be washed.
Earsavers have been requested by the NHS as a way of saving the back of their ears from the elastic on the facemarks. They are small oval pieces of fabric, but can also be knitted or crocheted, with buttons at either end to loop the elastic through.
Sewing Bee winner Juliet Uzor has a Youtube tutorial on how to make a fabric version.
Making Stretch Headbands
Headbands made from stretch fabric, such as jersey or scuba, are useful as another earsaver option. The headband sits around the head with a button on either side to loop the elastic of the facemask into.
Check out our video tutorial on Youtube from a few years ago, all you need to do is add buttons approximately 3″ from the back seam.
Facemasks have not been requested by the NHS or Careworkers as they need medical grade masks for protection. However, we have all been encouraged to wear a face covering of some kind when out in shops and crowded places.
There is a great website called The Big Community Sew which has been set up by Patrick Grant to help you sew (or not sew!) your own facemask for yourself and your community.
Rachel and I have been busy sewing facemasks for our family and community over the last few weeks, giving them away free to the people in our village who need them. We made our own simple tutorial on how to make yours so why not check that out below.
Please remember that these masks are not medical grade and it is important to follow the government’s guidelines on how to use a facemask properly.
If all of this has inspired you to start sewing for the NHS or yourself, then why not start with our completely free Learn to Sew class. We will teach you everything you need to know to get started.
We are SO proud to be part of this sewing community which has stepped in to help in these unprecedented times. The generosity of sewists around the world has simply been amazing. We would love to hear what you have been sewing and how you have felt to be a part of this amazing community.
Stay safe and keep smiling.
Nikki & Rachel