Gabriola artist Elizabeth Shefrin and some friends sewed 75 nurses’ surgical scrub caps to donate to graduating VIU nursing students. (Photos courtesy Eliabeth Shefrin)

Gabriola artist and friends sew 75 nurses’ caps to donate to VIU nursing grads

Elizabeth Shefrin hopes to continue project on a larger scale

The need for personal protective equipment for health-care workers is well documented, but thanks to a quartet of Gulf Island artists some nurses won’t have to worry about one piece of hygienic headgear.

After viewing a Facebook post about nurses needing surgical scrub caps, Gabriola artist Elizabeth Shefrin saw an opportunity to support those heading to the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.

“I feel better when I’m useful,” Shefrin said.

She reached out to University of Victoria nursing professor and VIU instructor Wendy Neander, who advised that a good project might be to make surgical caps for the 75 nurses graduating from VIU this spring, but who won’t get to have a big celebration.

“It was a suggestion from a colleague who noticed that a lot of the nurses were starting to wear caps and that would be something that would be useful for them to protect their hair, especially in the emergency department or your first contact with someone,” Neander said, adding that the caps can also prevent the nurses’ hair from falling in their faces and keep them from inadvertently touching their faces as they brush their hair away.

Shefrin then recruited her friend Wendy Lewington, a fabric artist on Hornby Island, who modified and wrote step-by-step instructions for a nursing cap sewing pattern Shefrin found online. She said “it’s nice to be able to give back in some way.”

“For me it’s a relief from the stress of it to just feel like I have some small thing to do that could be helpful,” Lewington said.

They each brought a neighbour into the project and over the course of a few weeks made the caps from bits of fabric and elastic they had lying around their studios. But the work was not without its challenges.

“We had sewing machines break down and that sort of thing and of course you can’t take them in to be repaired easily these days and especially not from Gabriola,” Shefrin said. “But I think we worked on it for a few weeks and just encouraged each other to do it and it gets easier and faster as you do it.”

Shefrin said it was a satisfying project, but she wants it to continue on a larger scale and is inviting others to participate. Lewington said their cap pattern has an “advanced beginner” difficulty level and Shefrin has drop-off points in Nanaimo and can collect finished caps on Gabriola.

“I’d love it if people just started taking this up as something they did and even made six or a dozen and sent them on,” Shefrin said. “Because when you’re making them it’s really good for you and then of course it’s good for the nurses as well. It’s kind of a win-win.”

Those interested in sewing surgical scrub caps or enrolling in Shefrin’s free online drawing sessions, Drawing Together Around the Salish Sea, can reach her at or 250-247-7476.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? Email your story, photos and videos to

READ ALSO: Stitching promotes a better world

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help finding missing 19-year-old

Haley Murphy has not been seen since Tuesday, June 30, say police

Learning outside the classroom suits VIU’s carpentry program just fine

Vancouver Island University has partnered with KSG Consulting Ltd. to provide hands-on learning

Nanaimo chef the Sensitive Vegan takes tongue-in-cheek approach to serious cooking

Jesse Rubboli creates cassava-based recipes and shares them via YouTube and on social media

Resident helps man in distress in Departure Bay in the middle of the night

Seven-foot-tall resident able to wade out far enough to help ‘frantic’ man in the water

Crash causes injuries, traffic tie-ups in downtown Nanaimo

Accident happened Friday at 12:15 p.m. at Terminal Avenue and Comox Road

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read