Scrubs Drawstring Bag for the NHS: A Simple Tutorial

This is a simple sewing pattern for a large drawstring bag. This was created to suit the needs of the Scrub Hub project, which aims to provide NHS front line workers with scrubs at a time of need.

The bags are approximately 20″ x 25″ finished size and have a drawstring channel at the top.


You will need the following for each bag:

  • Fabric: Any cotton or polyester cotton blend that can be washed at 60 degrees Celsius and is reasonably sturdy will do the job. Either two panels of approximately 20″ x 25″ (51cm x 63.5cm) or one long piece equivalent to this size.
  • Drawstring: Use what you have, whether it’s bias binding, ribbon, macramΓ© cotton cord or paracord.
  • Your sewing machine and thread
  • A long ruler or other straight edge
  • A safety pin to run your drawstring through the casing

Get creative in finding fabric; You can use old, clean bedsheets, tablecloths, or any other woven cotton or polyester cotton blend that’s not too heavy or flimsy.

Do our NHS workers a favour and wash your fabric before you start, so that we can hand them fresh scrubs in a fresh bag. πŸ™‚

Sewing your bag

First, cut your fabric to size. You need two panels of 22″ x 25″ or so, which will allow for the folded drawstring channel at the top.

Before cutting the fabric, take a look at your piece of fabric unfolded; You may find that your fabric from one selvedge to the other is roughly the right size already, saving you one line of stitching for each bag.

Turn your fabric inside out, add a few pins or clips to the corners and sew as follows. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of every line, as these bags will be going through a hot wash daily and need to withstand that without falling apart.

If you’re using two separate panels, you’ll also be sewing the bottom horizontal line, so that three sides are closed.

Next, fold over the top to create your drawstring channel.

Clip into place and sew all the way around the bag, starting at the edge where you have left the 1.5″ unsewn edge.

Flip your bag so that the right side is on the outside.

Measure your drawstring to be the length of your bag drawstring casing plus 8″. For mine, this makes a total of 58″ (147 cm)

Using a safety pin attached to the end of your drawstring, run it through the casing. Tie the ends firmly together so that they won’t come apart in the rough and tumble of the washing machine.

You’re done!

Speak to your local Scrub Hub group, where volunteers are currently working hard to make scrubs and distribute them to NHS practices and front line workers in need of equipment. Your local group will be able to guide you and work out where the need is in your own community. This is more efficient than individually contacting hospitals, who are already overwhelmed and busy.

Most of all, thank you for generously giving your time, energy, fabric and skills to support the NHS. We need them, and at this time they need us. πŸ’™

Note: This post was created on the fly on Easter Sunday morning. I’ll improve the post with more details if necessary, and will likely replace the pictures, so apologies if anything lacks clarity. Don’t hesitate to comment and ask if you need any further details.

9 thoughts on “Scrubs Drawstring Bag for the NHS: A Simple Tutorial

  1. That looks great thank you!
    Looking forward to making some with a stash of apt nursing and surgeon print polycotton 😊

    • I bet they’ll be beautiful and fun! Given the scrubs need to be in plain colours, it’s fun to use more playful fabric for the bags. πŸ˜€ Happy making!

      If you post them to Instagram, tag me (@thatcanadiangirl) as I’d love to see them.

      • Hello Vero

        These bags will be beautiful and cheerful. I live in Sutton in Surrey. Could you send me my local hub so I can contact them to find out how I can help. Thank you.


      • Hi Katherine, I’m not particularly familiar with Surrey areas, so your best bet is to look at this ever-growing list of local hubs and work out which one is nearest or most convenient for you:

        I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to hear from you πŸ™‚

  2. Is anyone doing this in the North east? I am in Newcastle and would like to get involved. Have a very old sewing machine and very amateur skills. Also no/little cloth.
    Please contact me if you know of who/where would take bags. Thanks

    • Hi Barbara, thank you for offering your time and energy to help! Your best bet is to reach your local Scrub Hub group, as they’ll likely be able to take the scrub bags and distribute them with scrubs.

      Here’s the North East list of hubs:

      As for fabric, ask your neighbours and local friends if they have bedsheets or old fabric stash they don’t have a use for. Local Facebook groups are also excellent for this. Alternatively, your local Scrub Hub group may be able to help you source some. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Julie πŸ™‚ Your best bet is to find out who your most local group – either “For the Love of Scrubs” or “Scrub Hub” – as they’ll be in touch with hospitals, care homes and other services who would benefit from the bags.

      You can find the list of Scrub Hub groups around the UK here:

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