Tusting – British Makers Respond To NHS Effort

Monday, 24 August 2020

We caught up with our friends at Tusting to find out what they had been up to over the past few months.

Forced to halt production at their luxury leather goods factory during lockdown, the team at Tusting immediately looked for a way to help respond to the call to arms for protective gowns. Their leathergoods sewing machines are unsuitable to work with light fabrics so they couldn’t help with the sewing process. However their band knife cutting table is effortlessly able to cut through multiple layers of cloth, saving hours labouriously cutting out individual patterns. Tusting set immediately to work creating patterns and bringing in volunteers from their to staff safely work on the project. Dr Robert Oakley from the Bedford Hospital Charity Trust and Alistair Tusting worked together to then distribute the cut out pieces to volunteer sewers to create the gowns.

Within days the first 1000 surgical gowns were cut using a single-use non-woven textile, donated by Zhagum Arshad’s Loft 25 Ltd, a Birmingham-based furnishings company. These were followed by a further 550 machine washable gowns, made possible thanks to the skills of historic Dundee fabric processor, Halley Stevensons who urgently pioneered an innovative cloth that would be fit for purpose and withstand the stringent hot laundering requirements that would make them safe for reuse. The resulting material, a densely woven cotton, is treated with a durable water repellent then sanforised in order to enable it to stand up to washing at high temperatures. Soft and light, the first users of scrubs made from this fabric have found them wonderfully comfortable to work in.

Jimmy Campbell, MD of Halley Stevensons comments, “We un-furloughed 7 members of our team in order to produce cloth for both scrubs and surgical gowns. We are grateful that we can apply our skills, resources and innovation at this crucial time to make a difference.” Tusting MD, Alistair Tusting says “Tusting has played a significant role in the local area for over 100 years. Working together with the local community in order to support our essential frontline staff is a privilege at this moment of crisis and the very least we could do.”

We at Cordings salute the British mills, makers and volunteer machinists who have risen so generously to the challenge, using their skills to innovatively respond to the call from the NHS. Thank you.