Hybrid Services has assisted volunteers working on the national ‘For the Love of Scrubs’ campaign by producing digitally printed patterns for scrubs and other protective items needed by NHS frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Emma Dalzell, who set up a ‘Mid Cheshire Hospitals – Leighton/Northwich’ local offshoot group of the national campaign, said: “We have volunteer sewists funding their own fabric, sewing groups pooling their efforts and even non-sewing volunteers who drive and distribute the material.

“But one of our biggest challenges has been sourcing patterns.”

Brett Newman, Hybrid’s chief operations manager, said: “One of the team spotted a Facebook post appealing for help with producing the patterns. As soon as we realised that we could help, a number of the Hybrid staff volunteered to assist, returning to our office to produce the plans at A0 size to help the group with this challenge.”

The patterns are typically printed on paper, with the various sizes of each panel of the garment represented at 100% scale – the sewist cuts out the appropriate panel, pins it to the fabric before cutting that out and making up the garment.

“Once we’d found the suitable pattern design, a lot of our members were printing them at home and sticking the A4 pages together, which as well as being time consuming, can lead to potential issues with incorrect scaling,” explained Emma.

Hybrid made the patterns using the instant dry UV ink on the 1.6m wide Mimaki UCJV300-160, which enabled its volunteers to produce output at high volume, and at the larger size to increase the stocks of patterns ready for distribution, explained the company.

The Mid Cheshire Hospitals – Leighton/Northwich group has managed to fundraise £6,750, and delivered over 400 sets of scrubs so far.

“We’re hugely grateful for the patterns, and we’ve received significant help and donations from so many places,” added Emma.

“Our work now includes laundry bags, head bands and a range of different weights of scrubs that are suitable for using in different circumstances.

“We have fabric and patterns ready for producing a further 600-700 more at present, and we’re working really well as a team to get them to the people that need them most.”