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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59 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.

      • Eli on August 20, 2020 at 7:56 am

        Wow this is the most complicated confusing no waste pattern I’ve ever seen. Usually you see the pieces laid out to fit the fabric you’re cutting from and a variation of different widths and arrangements for different average size pieces. They show the ration and relationship of the pieces. This is just a list of triangles and it seems so complicated to make. I’ve seen course patterns more easy to get a grip on. Thankfully I don’t need any scrubs …they looks super easy to make just the instructions seem to be written by an insane person on acid.



      • lizhaywood on August 20, 2020 at 10:08 am

        Dear Eli,
        Yes, the pattern looks complicated at first glance because it’s in a huge range of sizes and two measurement systems. However, it’s simply a matter of working through step-by-step and plenty of people have used it successfully.
        Yours,
        Insane person on acid



  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!

    • Trish on July 12, 2020 at 11:50 am

      This is a great pattern, but would suggest making the yokes deeper…4-5cm for women, 5-6 cm for men, otherwise they are too tight under the arms IMHO. It also makes the neck hole bigger, and more comfortable to get on and off. Just remember to lengthen the facings to match. Happy sewing!

      • lizhaywood on July 12, 2020 at 4:43 pm

        Thanks Trish for your valuable feedback!



  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.

      • Joana on July 12, 2020 at 10:31 pm

        It is though here 🙁
        Tks so much



  15. Astrid on July 7, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Hi, can I have a A4 pdf copy of the scrub top? I find your instructions easy and would like to try making a scrub top!

    • lizhaywood on July 7, 2020 at 10:46 am

      Sure, there’s a link at the top of this post for the pdf. Best sewing wishes!

  16. Maggie on July 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    I’m a nurse practitioner transferring to the covid clinic at my practice soon and, with two little ones who want immediate hugs when I get home, I realized I need something I can change out of quickly when I get home. I wanted something I didn’t need to pull over my head, so I bought every button-front scrub top and coat I could find at the thrift store. My plan is to tailor them and attach to your wrap skirt pattern for an easy-off dress. I’m going to dye them all one color and then I’m set! Thanks for the awesome resources you provide!!

    • lizhaywood on July 24, 2020 at 1:17 pm

      Cheers, Maggie! Best wishes for your transfer and thanks 🙂

  17. Serpil on August 11, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Thanks (from İstanbul in the Turkey) for this well planned and well explained pattern.

    • lizhaywood on August 11, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Cheers, Serpil. I hear Turkey is doing it tough. Thanks for sewing scrubs!

  18. Cheryl on August 19, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you so much for this pattern! I am a high school teacher near Boston, MA USA and find myself sewing my own PPE for my return to the classroom in a couple of weeks. Your pattern is a silver lining in this situation.

    • lizhaywood on August 20, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Thanks Cheryl. I don’t envy you returning to the classroom clad in PPE but I hope it works out for you. Best wishes 🙂

  19. Jan Whittington on September 4, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Just making a junior version for my granddaughter’s 5th birthday next Friday. She wants to be a vet so needed some scrubs!
    Just guessing the measurements but following your instructions.
    Many thanks for providing them
    Jan
    Living in NZ at the moment aka Covid with our daughter and family. Missing our younger daughter and family at home in Wales.

    • lizhaywood on September 4, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks for giving it a whirl Jan – hope it’s a great success with the birthday girl!

  20. Diane Owen on September 7, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Hi there is no curve to the back of the neck i understand straight across sits well on the neck? Can’t wait to give these a go but just wanted to clarify this.

    • lizhaywood on September 7, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Diane, yes, that’s correct the back neck goes straight across. Seems to sit okay but it’s easy to put in a curve if you want – just sew a curved shape at the back neck seam in Step 21 on page 11, clip or trim the seam, then proceed to Step 22.
      Thanks for sewing scrubs 🙂

      • Diane on September 8, 2020 at 5:16 pm

        Great ty for a quick reply. One more question, why is the front yoke bigger and how does it all fit together?



      • lizhaywood on September 8, 2020 at 8:02 pm

        The front yoke is deeper so it doesn’t hike up at the front – because (ah! I just remembered!) the back neck is straight across! So the shoulder seams will sit towards the back but the neck will sit level.
        Take a read through the sewing instructions for the assembly. The top is basically T-shaped with a horizontal seam from armpit-to-armpit.



      • Diane on September 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm

        Please please help, I’m at my wits end with the armpits. No matter how hard I try I cannot get them to lie flat, all creasing and buckling no matter how careful I am matching seams. Is there another way to do them ? I’ve spent hours and have unpicked endless times.



      • lizhaywood on September 15, 2020 at 8:59 pm

        Hi Diane, I’m so sorry you’re struggling. Belinda has jumped in with a solution while I was still dithering over the keyboard.
        Did you read the reply re: underarms to Catherine McConnell elsewhere in the comments?



  21. Belinda on September 15, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Debulk any excess fabric and iron it flat. There’s some creasing, but it’s not noticeable when you’re wearing it

    • Diane on September 16, 2020 at 7:28 am

      I did yes but I just can’t line up all seams to lie flat, I over lock does that make it too thick?

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