Free pattern scrubs for men and women

Folks, there’s a shortage of hospital scrubs in the world.

There’s a shortage in Australia, in the UK, and no doubt in other countries too.

This week I attempted to make a zero waste scrubs pattern. (The full pattern is at the end of this post – beset by technical difficulties, the only way I could put it in here is as a series of images, for now. Sorry.)

UPDATE: download a pdf pattern here.

UPDATE: having problems sewing the trousers gusset? Look in the comments for a solution.

I confess that I failed on the zero waste part; after a solid week’s work I metaphorically collapsed into an armchair and conceded that it’s a low waste pattern instead.

It could be zero waste if you cut out multiple garments across multiple sizes – since the pattern pieces are all rectangles – so it has potential. Where I have failed, zero waste-wise, you may succeed.

This is a free, open-source pattern which can be freely shared, adapted, improved upon, emailed to a friend or published elsewhere.

There are no pattern pieces to print out and tape together – the pattern is contained within the instructions, in the same format as Zero Waste Sewing.

USA friends rejoice, it’s in imperial measurements as well as metric. (Liberian and Myanmar friends can also rejoice.)

The trousers are adapted from the diamond gusset trousers pattern described here. I’ve made the gusset far easier to sew and eliminated the stress point at the gusset’s apex. I’ve also added pockets and a deeper hem.

The top is essentially a T shape, with the easiest V neck ever.

Free pattern scrubs open source
Free pattern scrubs Liz
It might be helpful to tell you what size I’m wearing. My measurements are bust 87cm (34″) and hips/seat 99cm (39″). I’m 168cm (5″6″) tall. I’m wearing a size 8 top. The trousers are cut for 99cm hips and are the “average” length specified in the pattern.
Free pattern scrubs for men
Here is my husband, who has a 99cm (39″) chest and 105.5cm (41 1/2″) hips/seat. He is 180cm (5′ 11″) tall. He’s wearing a top cut for a 97cm (38″) chest – ie it’s technically half a size too small for him, but it looks ok and he’s got enough movement.
The trousers are the same ones I was wearing, and I’m slightly more than one size smaller than him, however, the seat, leg length and crotch depth are all ok.
Free pattern scrub top for men
Free pattern scrubs side pocket
The trousers have in-seam pockets in the sides and patch pockets on the legs.
Free pattern srubs for men and women
Since we only have one pair of trousers between us, I’m wearing an ancestor of the scrub trousers – the diamond gusset trousers.
The headscarf I’m wearing is a free pattern on this blog. It wasn’t designed as a surgical cap (I wear it for renovating), but there are some links to free medical hats here. If you’re in Australia and would like to make hats for nurses, here’s a facebook group that will help you.

I’m not the first patternmaker to do zero waste scrubs in response to covid-19. Danielle Elsener of DECODECODECODE in London also has an open source pattern (and she nailed the zero waste). She has some neat ideas in her layout and suggests cutting masks at the same time if there’s space. Her pattern is tiled to print out and the instructions are succinct. UPDATE: I made the scrub top from this pattern here.

If you’re wanting to sew scrubs, join with a facebook group such as The Scrubs Co-op, Spotlight Crafts for a Cause or Rona Scrubs in Australia, For the Love of Scrubs – Our NHS needs you in the UK, or connect with a hospital, local GP or health care worker directly, if you know someone.

Please feel free to share my pattern. If you have any feedback, if you’ve found a typo, easier method or have a good idea, please leave a comment below. You can also send a comment marked private and I’ll read it and reply privately.

Keep safe and well.

Cheers!

PS Cecilia Digenis, here’s a picture of the end of the trousers gusset:

Free scrubs trousers ankle seam
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36 Comments

  1. Marye on April 15, 2020 at 11:52 am

    How can I download the scrubs pattern/instructions to printout ?

    • lizhaywood on April 15, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Mary, I’ve just sent you an email. Working on it now. Cheers, Liz

      • Maureen Beasant on April 16, 2020 at 5:45 am

        I don’t have a printer can you send me the pattern and instructions



      • lizhaywood on April 16, 2020 at 10:44 am

        Hi Maureen, it’s only available here as a digital pattern sorry. Hopefully you can make arrangements with someone who has a printer.



    • Jeanne Bain on April 15, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      Please could I get the pattern.

  2. Elaine on April 15, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Need to print your pattern and instructions. Is that possible

    • lizhaywood on April 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Just done it! – please see the link.

  3. Kerryann on April 15, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Yes please… How to download

    • lizhaywood on April 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Just done – please see the link.

  4. Joan on April 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Liz that’s a lovely thing you have done⚘. Just bought fabric from spolight but no patterns available. I’m from Gold Coast Australia. Are you able to send me pattern download link please.

    • lizhaywood on April 15, 2020 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Joan, I’ve just moved things around so there’s a direct link in the blog post.

  5. Cal on April 15, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you so much for your generosity. I am located in W.A. Would like to make this for my Doctor Niece. Do you have a version that I can download/print?

    • lizhaywood on April 15, 2020 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Cal, there’s now a direct link in the blog post 🙂

  6. Deidre Doughty on April 15, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Liz, Sorry I’m same can’t find the PDF link. Cheers Deidre

    • lizhaywood on April 15, 2020 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Deidre, there’s now a direct link in the blog post 🙂

  7. Frances Passmore on April 16, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Thanks (from Cheshire in the UK) for this well planned and well explained pattern.

    • lizhaywood on April 16, 2020 at 10:39 am

      Cheers Frances. Best wishes for your scrub sewing.

  8. Fiona Thompson on April 18, 2020 at 7:12 am

    I am totally inspired by the whole concept of a zero waste pattern. I think it’s sooooo clever. Thank you! I really struggled with the gusset though. The fabric kept bunching up and I’d sew through too many layers (argh!). Can anyone give any advice on that please? Should I snip the seam? Thank you

    • lizhaywood on April 18, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Hi Fiona,
      I am totally enamoured with zero waste! Like that you are too.
      Some gusset advice:
      1. Sew with the gusset underneath and the trousers on top (the pattern says this anyway).
      2. Pin on the stitching line carefully before sewing.
      3. You can make the “upside down U” of the trousers wider, for example 4cm (1 1/2″) instead of 2.5cm (1″), in Step 7 on page 6. It’s no big deal on trousers with this much ease. This will make the U part wider and should be easier to sew the gusset in. This could be the answer for you.
      4. If you feel the situation is desperate and you need to snip the seam, make a few tiny snips no more than half the depth of the seam allowance. I didn’t need to snip, but I certainly did need to pin.
      Hope this works for you.
      Thanks for making scrubs.
      Cheers, Liz

      • Cecilia Digenis on April 23, 2020 at 4:53 pm

        First of all many thanks for the wonderful thing you have done here. This pattern is amazing and has enabled me to do something really worthwhile.
        I just have a trouser gusset question. when you say”Sew only to the end of the gusset’s seam line not all the way to the end” where is the gussets seam line?



      • lizhaywood on April 23, 2020 at 5:46 pm

        Hi Cecilia, thanks for giving it a go! And thanks for sewing scrubs.
        Very sorry for the gusset confusion – I could have written this part much clearer. When you sew the gusset in the trousers front for Step 5, stop sewing 1cm before each end of the gusset. Although the narrow ends of the gusset are rounded, they need to be sewn in a point so you can sew the short seam below the gusset at the ankle. So when you sew the second side of the gusset to the trousers back, taper the stitching line on the gusset so you’re sewing to the same point (then trim off the excess gusset). Since the seam is sewn with the trousers uppermost, you’ll still see where to sew on the trousers.
        I hope this helps!!
        Might also help to look up some gusset sewing tutorials. (edit: just remembered there’s a gusset tutorial here).
        I’ve put a photo in the blog post for you.



  9. Cecilia Digenis on April 24, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Many thanks that makes sense to me now. I hope mine will look as good as yours. I’ll let you know.

    • lizhaywood on April 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      Cheers, Cecilia!

  10. Patricia Moss on April 30, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Many thanks for further explanation re the gusset, I have had the very same problem. Also the lower part of the gusset came too far down the trouser leg so that it interfered with the hem, unlike in your picture. I will have to shorten the gusset but not sure why this is happening. Thanks

    • lizhaywood on April 30, 2020 at 11:06 am

      Hi Patricia, I’m not sure why the gusset is too long either. The gusset reaches almost the entire length of the inside leg and by the time the hem is folded up it’s pretty much at the end. Although I pressed the gusset’s seams towards the gusset, I pressed them the opposite way just at the hem so it wasn’t so bulky. If you need to shorten the gusset it won’t affect the fit in any way.
      Thanks for sewing scrubs. Sounds like all the scrub sewing is starting to make big difference.

      • Patricia Moss on April 30, 2020 at 5:14 pm

        Many thanks, will shorten slightly. THe top is a fantastic pattern…..so quick and looks really good.



      • lizhaywood on April 30, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        Glad to hear – thanks for giving it a try 🙂



  11. Catherine McConnell on May 12, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Dear Liz, Many thanks for this very useful and cleverly designed pattern; I particularly like the design of the top. I’ve just finished a batch of five suits in various sizes and am waiting for feedback on how well they fit before making some more. I used 92″ wide sheeting and was able to cut them with very little waste indeed. I struggled with the gusset too, but found it much easier to sew with the gusset on top and the trousers underneath. I left a gap in the waistband and had the tapes tie at the left hand side, as I thought that that would be more comfortable than having a bulky bow at the navel (that’s a blatant excuse – I hate making buttonholes!)

    • lizhaywood on May 12, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Catherine, thanks for your feedback! Good idea for the drawcord – will be interested to hear the verdict from the wearers. The trouser gusset could be sewn with a slightly smaller seam allowance eg 7mm or 6mm if it helps. On trousers this roomy it won’t make any difference to the fit.
      Thanks for making scrubs.

      • Catherine McConnell on May 31, 2020 at 7:20 pm

        Hello again, I’ve received very positive feedback from the scrubs wearers – and I don’t think they were just being polite, as they’ve asked for more! I’m busy on those just now. However, there was another part of the pattern that I found difficult, and I don’t understand why – it looks so simple. When stitching the underarm – side seam of the tunics, I often find that the fabric bunches up under the arm, despite my being careful to leave a gap as instructed at each end of the yoke/body seam and to keep the excess fabric out of the way as I stitch the armpit. I’ve made a mess of a few now, unpicking and re-doing. I’ve tried stitching the seam in two separate operations, under the arm then checking that everything lies flat, then the side seam, but even that doesn’t always work. And yet sometimes it all works first time, and I can’t see what I’ve done differently. Have you any suggestions? Thanks!



      • lizhaywood on May 31, 2020 at 11:15 pm

        Hi Catherine, that is good news!

        Thoughts/suggestions on the underarm:
        Think the key is to match the underarm points exactly.
        Stick a pin through the underarm points to match them exactly before sewing. When your reach the pin, plunge the machine’s needle down into the point then take the pin out. Pivot, and keep sewing.
        If you sew the seam in two separate operations, do you sew from the underarm point out each time? Match the underarm points with a pin, then put the machine’s needle exactly in the point, whip out the pin and start sewing. Do the backstitching carefully in case you go beyond the point.
        Some people prefer to sew the side seams first (stopping 1cm short of the top), then sew the body to the yoke, then sew the sleeve seam.
        It’s okay if you want to take a smaller seam allowance if that helps. Make sure you’re not taking bigger.
        Do you press after each sewing operation?
        Sometimes it looks bunchy after sewing but pressing flattens things out.

        I hope this is helpful and apologies if you’ve already tried these.
        Cheers,
        Liz



  12. Catherine McConnell on June 1, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Dear Liz, Thank you for your detailed reply. I’ll be extra careful from now on to match the underarm points – I thought I was doing that, but presumably not well enough. Yes, I do press after each operation, and sometimes that does rescue seams that look bunchy. But I’ll also try the technique of sewing the side seams first, that certainly looks worth a go. Back to the workroom!

  13. Belinda on June 15, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Liz.

    I’ve just taught myself to sew (with a little help from YouTube and a borrowed sewing machine from my Mum). Have so far made four scrub tops for myself and two for girlfriends. I’ve even made scrunchies with leftover fabric! We get loads of positive comments from our work colleagues. My friend was asked where she bought her scrub top from 🙂 What a huge compliment! I’ve recommended your pattern to everyone who asks – so thank you.

    Can you suggest how I might adjust the scrub top pattern to allow for pregnant colleagues? Would the bodice be more of a trapezium shape? Looking forward to hearing your ideas.

    Cheers,

    Bel

    • lizhaywood on June 15, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Belinda,
      That is so cool that you started sewing and making scrubs!
      Here’s how I would adjust the scrub top to a maternity one:
      Make the whole top 5cm (2″) longer, if not 10cm (4″).
      Flare out the side seams by 5cm (2″), to increase the hem circumference by 20cm (8″). Yep, a trapezium.
      Lower the centre front hem by 7. 5cm (3″), tapering back to nothing at the side seams. ie you’ll have a curved hem at the front. You can take a smaller hem eg 1cm to cope with the curved edge.
      Might need to go up one size – usually do when pregnant.

      Best wishes for your sewing adventures – I hope you keep on sewing after the scrubs shortage ends.
      Cheers,
      Liz

  14. Joana Marini on June 22, 2020 at 4:30 am

    TKS so much! Both for making theis amazing patatern (I loved not having to printa, just follow the instructions) and trying Danille’s pattern (I just cound’t find out her pieces and after reading your post they were totally clear for me).
    I’ve just made my scrub set, and find the need to add an elastic to to back, but otherwise, I made exactly as told (don’t have a blog anymore, so didn’t post any pic).
    I’m a pediatrician, but I’m working as GP at front line on COVID fighting here in Brasil (Everybody can see our problems here, we have the daily deads record for 10 days now 🙁 ) and the scrubs are really a great thing, so we wont bring virus to our home and families.
    I hope I can sew mine and for others.
    Joana

    • lizhaywood on June 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      We have seen Brazil on the news; it looks pretty tough. Thanks for making scrubs and most importantly doing front line health work. Take care.

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