I'm a little embarrassed to say that there hasn't been a lot of printmaking going on during lockdown, but you’ll be pleased to know that I haven’t been totally idle. Amongst getting the growing season going on the allotment, I joined hundreds of other women (and a few men) who have been sewing scrubs for the NHS.
This felt a bit different to my usual sewing-just-for-myself. There are strict regulations as to fabric, making up and fastenings. For example, did you know that the ‘wrong’ sort of Velcro causes a static risk around high oxygen flow? No, nor did I! Quite simply they have to be perfect. The wearers are putting themselves and families at risk so if they’re not up to the job then they can’t be used. I was a bit nervous at the beginning...
It meant something to know who we were making them for too. The scrubs our group made went to Medway Hospital’s COVID-19 testing unit and the isolation gowns were for the respiratory team. The letters of thanks we received back from the hospital staff via our Facebook group spurred us on to make more.
It all felt a bit like an underground operation organised with military precision. Timed drops of fabric, Zoom meetings with your team, sharing best practise...and, in a way, I’m not joking...all I’ve done is make a few PPE garments, the organisation, the time and effort, the dedication and fundraising that has gone into this by the ladies at the top is nothing short of marvellous. An amazing achievement.
In 8 short weeks my group, called Medway Scrubbers, got through 3km of fabric and endless amounts of cotton and tape to produce 972 scrubs! That’s not including countless isolation gowns, scrubs laundry bags, masks or headbands. Just scrubs. Wow!