St Albans sewing circle stitches up stashes of NHS scrubs and hats

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Fiona Clark w

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Fiona Clark with a handmade hat. - Credit: Archant

A group of enthusiastic volunteers formed a St Albans sewing circle to take up the challenge of producing much-needed hats for a care home.

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Care bear and

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Care bear and hat. - Credit: Archant

Members of the newly-formed Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle dusted off their sewing machines and set to work making 85 hats.

The group was set up by physiotheraphist Ann Owen, who was furloughed from her job as a disability needs assessor, after she realised she needed to fill her newfound time with something constructive. In a flair to re-ignite her love of crafting skills, Ann shortly established the group to bring likeminded neighbours together to sew laundry bags, and then scrub hats for NHS workers.

To date, the group has over 10 people involved and their usual day jobs are diverse; some prefer to sew, others to cut fabric – but all worked to their strengths to achieve the best result.

Donations of linen and material have been given by neighbours and friends in a spirit of team work, community and comradery.

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Ann Owen with

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Ann Owen with an NHS bear and scrubs. - Credit: Archant


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Member Jane Lloyd said: “Julie Andrews, here we come! That’s what I feel like when I use curtains for repurposing.”

Other comments from members included: “I loved being part of the group without having to sew!” and “I enjoyed brushing up my dressmaking skills and doing something to help during this crisis”.

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One neighbour, Helen Watson, even had her 17 year old daughter getting involved in sewing, and joked that the sewing machine is now the sole occupant of her dining room table.

Once the items are made, another member, Liz Lincoln, is involved with taking them for distribution and for sourcing further orders. Other members of the group have been involved with transforming duvet covers into scrubs. Hilary Dempsey, Tersia Zondagh and Jane Lloyd have been adapting patterns until the scrubs are fit for purpose.

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Jane modellin

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Jane modelling a hat. - Credit: Archant

Liz said: “It has been really nice to fill my time with helping other people. I work at a local school as a teaching assistant and much of our work has been moved online, so it feels good to be part of a group which is doing something creative to benefit others.”

Fiona Clark, who works at Luton aerospace engineering company Leonardo, signed up in support of her daughter Ella, who will shortly be joining 10,000 final year student NHS midwives and nurses who will start working on the frontline of healthcare for the very first time.

She said: “From our WhatsApp community of 40 or so households, the group has brought together around a dozen people who range in age from 20 to over 80 years of age, with everyone pulling together to do what they can for NHS workers and carers. They are in our thoughts on a daily basis and doing something simple like providing laundry bags for NHS workers and carers feels like a very small thing to do, but we want to help.

“The daughter of group member Janice Cook is a frontline worker herself, and she approached her mother’s group suggesting the creation of the reassuring NHS bears, so Ann and Liz soon began to crochet the bears for the children of key workers.

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Jasmine holde

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Jasmine holded a completed cap. - Credit: Archant

“Lots of young children have mums and dads going to hospital every day and not coming home because they are self-isolating away from their families to protect them, so we wanted to give them toys they can cuddle while their parents are away.”

Ann added: “What I like about it is approaching the whole street for supplies and we just drop things off between the houses on the street so there is a lot of doorstep dropping which has been wonderful. Only today someone dropped off a supply of linen and there has been a lot of camaraderie and a sense of kinship which comes from a common goal. It has extended my skill set and I think our respective strengths come to the fore when we are working together. People’s generosity and kindness has shone through.

“It is a project that we all have enjoyed doing, with an underlying sense of gratitude towards our NHS staff and other carers. We all felt that we could do a little bit to help at this time of national need!”

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Jasmine in ac

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Jasmine in action at the sewing machine. - Credit: Archant

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Liz Lincoln w

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Liz Lincoln with two of her NHS bears and wearing homemade scrubs. - Credit: Archant

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. The finished

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. The finished hat. - Credit: Archant

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Hats and a be

Salisbury Avenue Sewing Circle has been making hats, scrubs and other PPE for the NHS. Hats and a bear. - Credit: Archant

A consultant wearing a scrub hat and set made by the St Albans group.

A consultant wearing a scrub hat and set made by the St Albans group. - Credit: Archant

One of the St Albans sewing circle's scrub hats being worn by a consultant on a ward.

One of the St Albans sewing circle's scrub hats being worn by a consultant on a ward. - Credit: Archant

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