Patrick Grant’s call to sew face coverings

Sewing Bee judge, Patrick Grant says home sewers can help country embrace face coverings 

Great British Sewing Bee Judge, Patrick Grant

Patrick Grant’s call to sew face coverings. The clothing designer, and judge of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee has called on the nation’s sewing community. He wants sewists to help people adapt to new Government guidance by producing millions of home-made face coverings.

Grant’s intervention comes after the Prime Minister advised people to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces. Especially where social distancing isn’t possible. And where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet such as on public transport and shopping.

Grant, whose Cookson & Clegg factory in Blackburn has been manufacturing PPE since the start of lockdown, has launched the #BigCommunitySew campaign. He praises the UK’s sewing community for the remarkable work they’ve done for the NHS during this pandemic already.

“I’ve been blown away by the efforts from our sewing community. The sewing volunteers who started to stitch for health and social care workers across the country has humbled and inspired me – but I want more people to get involved! There are around six million sewing machines in homes across the UK.  If all of these can be used to sew just a dozen face coverings that would be one for every person in the UK!”

Community Spirit

Many sewers are already doing this – a group of sewers in Somerset have already kitted out the entire village with face coverings. “It would be fantastic if more local communities could look out for each other in the same way that they did when lockdown started. I’d like to encourage those who can sew to find out who in their community needs face coverings and get making!” he added.

The campaign has received support from Government and Michael Gove, The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster added:

“The Big Community Sew is a wonderful example of communities across the UK coming together to do their bit for the national effort. Pulling together in this way, we can make sure face coverings are available to the public to wear in enclosed public spaces, and crucially that medical grade masks are reserved for our frontline NHS and care workers.”

Existing scrub making groups like Scrubhub, NI Scrubs, Help Dress Medics, Margate Scrubbers and many other groups are ready to redouble their efforts.

Group Co-ordinator of NI Scrubs, Angeline Murphy

The Group Co-ordinator of NI Scrubs, Angeline Murphy, said volunteer sewers were already starting to make face coverings.

“Our volunteer group has more than 9,000 members. There is a huge amount of pride that sewing skills are being recognised, and needed in these challenging times,” she said. “Sewing is a simple act of kindness that can make a real difference. It’s rewarding at the best of times. Sewing with the purpose of protecting friends, family and frontline staff takes that sense of pride and accomplishment to a whole other level!”

Amanda George, who runs the Scrub Hub for Bristol, said she was immensely proud to take part in what’s been a huge labour of love. “Thousands of sewers have joined forces to help the national effort and now there’s a big appetite to help produce enough face coverings for every neighbourhood,” said George. “We’re a growing movement and we hope to get even bigger!”

How to get involved

And many of Grant’s friends in the sewing community have offered their help too including fellow judge Esme Young, presenter Joe Lycett, and last year’s Sewing Bee winner, Juliet Uzor. Elisalex de Castro Peake from indie sewing pattern label By Hand London, and contestants from this year’s Sewing Bee will be taking part too. They have home-filmed simple how-to videos that you can watch on the Big Community Sew website. There are dozens of easy to follow how-to videos already online.

“Have fun with this, and get the whole family involved, customise them and get creative.” adds Patrick. Patrick has also asks you to share pictures and videos of your makes with the hashtag #bigcommunitysew. An average face covering takes less time to sew than it takes to boil an egg!

The campaign website is www.bigcomunitysew.co.uk.
Here, you can find links to the public health guidance on how to wear and care for your face covering.