AN industrious sewing team have been making gowns for children unable to wear their pyjamas in certain hospital wards due to coronavirus.

Meeta Patel originally set up a sewing group back in March to help make scrubs and scrub bags for NHS staff when the pandemic first hit.

The 53-year-old found herself furloughed from her job as a marketing manager and started volunteering for the NHS Staff Support Hub at Brighton College.

Meeta said: “I started going down there to hand out food and there were requests for scrub bags.

“At first NHS staff were using plastic bags to carry their scrubs which they would have to destroy, so we made them scrub bags which could be washed.

“I’m only a basic sewer but I put a shout-out through my social networks and before I knew it I had 50 sewers and we made more than 2,000 scrub bags.”

Meeta, who has now gone back to work, recently received a request for cotton gowns for children who need to have operations at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

She said: “Due to coronavirus, the hospitals now need to make sure clothing has been washed at 60C.

“A lot of pyjamas are not allowed into operation theatres as they can’t be washed at that temperature because of the elastic.

“The hospital needs gowns which are 100 per cent cotton and can be washed at 60C, and they didn’t have any which would fit the children.

“A lot of my sewers said the gowns are a bit more complex to make, so I reached out to other sewing groups in Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath as well.

“I’ve been raiding the fabric shops and now I’ve got about 15 people making the children’s gowns in lovely patterns.”

Meeta is also receiving help from The Vampire’s Wife, a clothing company founded by designer Susie Cave, who is married to singer Nick Cave.

Meeta said: “It makes my heart sink to think of all these kids stuck in hospital. One of the nurses said all they see is nurses wearing blue masks all the time and they don’t see faces so we’ve also made some colourful and fun masks for them to wear over their protective ones.”

Meeta is appealing for anyone who can help her make the gowns or provide materials.

She said:”It’s amazing what you can do when you just reach out.

“The community has been great throughout this lockdown and I’ve made so many new friends just through putting the shout-out for sewers.

“Right now what we need is 100 per cent cotton fabric or donations to buy the fabric, and we’re also looking for anyone who could help with sewing the gowns.

“The feedback that we’ve had so far is that they are amazing and the kids love them.

“I hope they bring a smile to the children’s faces. Going into an operation theatre at that age cannot be nice. If we can make them smile a little then that’s a job done.”

Meeta has asked anyone who can help with a donation for fabric or can provide 100 per cent cotton, or help make the gowns, to contact her at