Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pack Wraps & Surgical Drapes

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Up until recently, all the sewing projects I've done were gifts, or just for fun.  Then, a local veterinarian asked me to do some sewing work for her.  Fortunately she is a fun, colorful person and was open to whatever I wanted to do.  Three years ago when I started learning how to sew, I never imagined I'd be making quilts, doing applique, hand embroidery, and creating items for local business.  I'm excited to see what the future of creativity brings me.  :)

Surgical drapes go over the patient, and an oval in the center (called a fenestration) gives access to the surgical site.  This is a single layer of fabric, except for the rectangle in the center.  The edges of the drape have a double fold hem.  The drape shown here is a small, approx. 12" x 12" with a 4" x 1.5" fenestration.  This project started out a little intimidating, but in the end they offer just enough challenge to keep the project interesting and I really enjoy making them. 

Pack wraps are used to wrap up items needed for surgery, like the patient drapes.  These are simple squares of various sizes (12" x 12" and 20" x 20" shown here) with a front/back fabric.  I chose to use the fun prints for one side and a coordinating solid on the other.  When they do a surgery they can open a pack, lay it out on the tray and they are ready to go. 


  1. Do you have a pattern for the surgical drapes? I do volunteer work in a low cost spay/neuter clinic, and we need surgical drapes for the animals. I would love to be able to make some. Thanks.

  2. Ditto! Also interested in what type fabric you've found most useful, and how you make the fenestration. Thanks for any info!

  3. Hi Cynthia. Sorry it took so long to respond. Here are directions for the patient drapes (and if you need fabric, I sell it by the yard at If you make these, please send a picture - would love to see!

    Let’s assume your surgical drape is 20”x24”, and the fenestration needs to be 2” wide x 4” long.
    What you will need:
    Drape fabric approx. 21 x 25 (DF)
    Fenestration fabric approx. 9 x 11 (FF)
    Small piece of cardboard
    1. Press a double hem on all edges of the DF, then stitch it down.
    2. Using a piece of cardboard (or something stiff enough to trace around) make a shape about 2” wide x 2” long with a rounded (bullet shape) top.
    3. Fold the DF and FF in half, have them together where both folded edges line up, center the FF and pin. Place the 2x2 cardboard on top of the 2 fabrics where you want the fenestration and trace the shape, the flat edge of your shape along the folded edge of the fabric.
    4. Cut out the shape, unpin and unfold.
    5. Put the FF under the DF, right side of FF to the wrong side of DF, and stitch around the fenestration, about a ¼” allowance.
    6. Pull the FF through the hole and lay it on top of the DF and press flat. The right side of the FF should be facing up and it should be laying on the right side of the DF.
    7. Press a single hem around the FF and stitch it down onto the DF.

  4. Thank for the pattern for the draps, can I ask what type of fabric you use please? Can you use quilting cotton or does it have to be something else?

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I use standard 100% cotton fabrics found at craft, quilt and fabric shops. I also have an online shop selling fabric at :)
      I'm so glad you found this post helpful!

  5. Hi again Tina
    I haven't been brave enough yet to try the F.drapes yet. If possible could you please take a pic of the back side so I can see what the end result should look like.
    Thanks again Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa, I don't have any to take a photo of ... I made them for a veterinarian a few years ago. The back will be just the main fabric with an oval and you'll see the bobbin thread from top stitching the fenestration fabric down.

  6. Hi Tina.....I was so excited to see your post. I also am making and repairing surgical drapes for a veternarian where I live. My question for you is do you use COTTON thread or POLY thread. My concern is that if it is autoclaved which thread would hold up better? I am in the midst of repairing some for the local vet now so would appreciate your response as soon as you are able. Thank you.

  7. Hi Gail! I used polyester thread and they haven't had any issues (that I am aware of). I have not tried it with cotton thread.

  8. Thank you Tina for the prompt reply. I will go with the poly then. If you have any tips or suggestions please do pass them on to me, I'd apprecieate that greatly. So glad I found your blog. :)

    1. Hi Gail - The veterinarian I was making the drapes for really liked the Fenestration Fabric to be a thicker high quality cotton. I was using KONA. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to post. :)

  9. The fabric used should be the same as a scrub top. Scrub tops should be a poly/cotton blend. Preferably 50/50. This is because it won't have many loose fibers or wrinkle. You don't want loose fibers getting inside of the patient.