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CSM loves NHS inspires community to make scrubs for healthcare staff

Written by Cat Cooper
Published date 04 May 2020

Demonstrating how art and design can inspire and equip communities in times of crisis, the CSM loves NHS initiative has mobilised our students, staff and the public to sew non-surgical scrubs to support the NHS and frontline health workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Students were asked to create scrubs as part of their curriculum and the easy-to-follow patterns and guides have been shared online for anyone to use. Hundreds have now responded to the call and these unique, home-made garments can be seen worn by staff during their shifts in hospitals and healthcare settings in and around London.

The initiative is led by Foundation Diploma Art and Design at Central Saint Martins (CSM) Curriculum Leaders Oonagh O’Hagan and Jo Simpson. Fashion Tutor Chris Kelly who designed the downloadable scrubs pattern recently featured on BBC London news, working from his studio to make scrubs and catch Oonagh on BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat on 4 May [11m30] where she was voted Hero of the Day, nominated by her students!

Oonagh O'Hagan:

It’s good to find a way to help when you may feel helpless. If you can't sew, you can still get involved and make a difference by donating a duvet cover.

Set of scrubs
Spider-Man duvet scrubs made by Alison Hansen Caption

Dr Howling, Whittington Hospital, London:

Some brilliant new scrubs arrived this weekend from a very kind 16 year old, Oliver Roberts. So appreciated. I have liaised with the drs on the wards and they are very very grateful.

Liz @boweandco:

I haven't made any clothes since my children were little some 25 years back. I've loved making them, I've learned loads and I hope my next set are better. I really think this is a wonderful inclusive project you have put out, while I have been making these there has been a lot of talk on the radio about mental health during the lock down....what could be better than to do something practical.

The Foundation team at CSM has encouraged its students to send a personal message of well-wishes to the wearer, by including a custom print, embroidery, tag or label on their scrubs.

Set of blue scrubs
Scrubs with message, by CSM student Johnny McLean, sent to The Royal Free hospital in London. Caption

Sewers: get involved

Anyone who can sew is invited to help make some of these garments. Scrubs need to be able to be washed at 60 degrees or above, so cotton is the preferred fabric. Dig out your old sheets, duvet covers or work shirts!

Visit the CSM loves NHS project page for preparation, pattern guides, instructions and where to send the finished designs.

Can’t sew? Donate your duvet cover

As the project has developed, many of you have asked how you can help if you don’t sew. Now you can donate material to the project by sending cotton or poly cotton duvet covers and bedsheets to be transformed into much-needed scrubs by The North and East London Sewers, who are collaborators on the project.

Visit the CSM loves NHS project page for details of The Duvet Day Drop 4 NHS Scrubs.

Need help making? Join our live tutorial!

Topic: CSM - NHS: Scrubs making trouble shooting tutorial with Chris Kelly.
Friday 15 May 2020 11:00 AM
Join Zoom meeting.
Meeting ID and password will be shared soon via the CSM FAD Fashion and Textiles Instagram.

Stay updated - and share your scrubs

Details and updates are being shared via the CSM FAD Fashion and Textiles Instagram. Remember to share pics and video documenting your scrubs-making using the hashtag #CSMlovesNHS.


Main image: CSM Fashion Tutor Chris Kelly in his studio making scrubs from the downloadable pattern he designed. Photo by Victor Hugo Lopez Borges

Some of the CSM loves NHS scrubs

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