Bedfordians get behind national scrubs sewing project

Nurses with Scrub bags
Nurses in Bedford and beyond have been handed wash bags for their scrubs: Credit: Bedford Kindness/Facebook

Amateur and professional sewers, seamstresses and machinists have joined a national project to make much needed scrubs, surgical gowns, headbands, scrub wash-bags for NHS frontline workers fighting coronavirus.

Prompted by the national campaign, ‘For the Love of Scrubs – Our NHS Needs You’ local seamstresses, Abi Crowley and Sarah Fletcher from Sarah Diane Creative, in collaboration with Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends, decided to organise volunteers to provide theatre scrubs for Bedford Hospital.

In just over a week and with Easter in between, 2,000 metres of cloth, 140 kilometres of thread, 500 metres of waist band tape and 500 name/size labels have been sourced.

With the help of businesses like Sportsform and White Hart Press, 60 people in their own homes across the Borough have so far produced over 500 sets of Scrubs, 99 headbands and 277 personal uniform laundry ‘scrubs’ bags.

This major community effort has also had the support of Claytons Clothing, providing large bags for material distribution and staff at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue who helped with delivery logistics.

The Bedford Kindness Facebook group has also mobilised its members who have converted 700 pillow cases into scrubs bags for healthcare workers across Bedfordshire.

ZipYard Scubs
ZipYard Bedford has already made 110 surgical gowns

Alongside this, ZipYard Bedford have also made 110 surgical gowns for local NHS staff, with material for a further 500 being delivered over the weekend.

The team at the clothing and alteration shop on Bedford High Street is also making 80 blue scrubs for local care homes, all of this work is being done voluntarily.

Other groups, like Sewing for the NHS – Bedfordshire, Bucks & Milton Keynes have also organised thousands of people who have made hundreds of scrubs and scrubs wash bags for use across the local area.

Traditionally, theatre scrubs are usually worn by staff in operating theatres and Intensive Care, but with the coronavirus epidemic, more nurses and doctors are wearing theatre scrubs in other areas of the hospital.

Bedford Seamstress making scrubs at home
Bedford Seamstress making scrubs at home

How you can help

If you live in Bedford and would like to help make theatre scrubs and have a sewing machine capable of overlock stitching please contact Margaret Oakley at

If you can’t sew, you can also help by donating to ‘The Bedford Big Thank You’ appeal toward the cost of purchasing the material, threads at

The ZipYard Bedford has also set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs of the material they’re using to create surgical gowns and scrubs at

You can also support the wider region by donating to the Shires Scrubs GoFundMe page.

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