How we're helping the NHS
The wedding industry has been on pause since lockdown, so I thought about ways I could use our collective expertise and network of cutters, factories and seamstresses to help medical staff during the Coronavirus crisis.
Lots of networks (“Scrub Hubs”) have formed to make much-needed scrubs (the top and trouser outfits medical staff wear underneath PPE) and we found one that had the material but not the ability to get so many cut. So, we contacted one of our factories and spent two days there cutting 500 scrub sets to be sewn later for the Whittingdon Hospital – as the photos below show.
This is what 500x pre-cut scrubs looks like that went on to be made by 50+ home seamstresses via the De Beauvoir Women's Institute and the local For Love Of Scrubs Facebook Group
Seeing an opportunity to do more...
We set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to buy material to get it cut and sewn. So far, we have raised over £5,000 and this has been used to be buy 2029 metres of the last remaining suitable poly/cotton fabric that could be found in the UK (at a knock down price from an extremely kind textile supplier in Stockport wh wanted to help the cause – although in coral pink!) and it is currently getting cut in bulk – this will make almost 900 scrubs in total. Some of these are currently in my flat and are being distributed to an NHS Scrub Army of professional volunteer seamstresses are making them rapidly.
These 10x scrub tops (above) were made by costume designer Ruth Mongey, part of our NHS Scrub Army in just a few days
These scrubs (above) were made by our wonderful pattern cutter Claudette.
Along the way, I have seen the life-affirming generosity of strangers...
For example, after seeing the charity page, we got a call out of the blue from a London based courier company who are distributing all the pre-cut scrubs and supplies for free, a magician who has swapped entertaining to delivering visors, kind folk who are helping with the intricate logistics of collecting and dropping for the Visor Army and an amazing lady called Ingrid who bought an industrial sewing machine for her friend, so she could make scrubs. So far, we have delivered 500 pre-cut scrubs for the Women's Institute and the local For Love Of Scrubs Facebok Group to make, we've delivered over a 100 scrubs so far from our own Go Fund Me donations and we currently have 400 scrubs currently being made with our NHS Scrub Army of 20 amazing seamstresses, many of whom I've met virtually for the first time and some are our own seamstresses and pattern cutters who help create our wedding dresses.
In the process, I have found...
Factories who are willing to make thousands of medical grade PPE, and have put them in touch with NHS trusts and central government who have the money but not the contacts available to get them made. I've become involved with a group of costume designers, a couturier from kensington, an editor from a leading fashion magazine, a garment tech from a global luxury fashion house and the NHS ICU consultant who created the "Visor Army" to help mass produce medical grade PPE. In the amongst of all of this, we are are always committed to looking after our brides and designing new dresses, sending sample dresses for brides to try on from the comfort of their living room for virtual appointments and ensuring all our brides who are key workers get lovingly made scrubs for free.
On a much much smaller scale...
Once we've finished the working day, we cycle round Hackney and Islington to deliver scrubs to local health centres and medical health workers who have contacted us. My other half, is now very familiar with the drill of me ringing a buzzer, standing back, and flinging an A3 padded envelope of newly made scrubs to the person who answers the door, abiding by social distancing rules! This is giving us much needed exercise. However, don’t expect a Joe Wicks-esque transformation anytime soon; my early evening bike rides inevitably finish with a very nice drink which am sure isn’t part of the Joe Wicks workout!