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Sewing for elderly/disabled
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Portia Hirschman

Portia Hirschman  Friend of PR
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Maryland USA
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Date: 9/1/10 11:39 AM

My mother has had a stroke. She is now reconciling herself to the fact that she will never be able to walk again unassisted or eat with a whole lot of dignity. She has asked for an adult bib, a very lightweight walker/wheelchair tote and anything else that would be helpful.

I purchased Simplicity 2382 to make a wheelchair/walker tote with a carry handle and the directions are a NIGHTMARE! There is no way to figure it out because pattern pieces and the directions do not match. I've tried to pin it together to see if I could make sense of it but I have given up. If anyone has made some of these, please clue me in. If you have used other resources, I would appreciate knowing what you have found useful. We also minister to a local nursing home and I imagine these might be good things to offer at Christmas.

Has anyone made adult bibs? I would like them to be attractive and yet easily washable. Fabric choices suggested? Ideas for sizes, etc.? Many, many thanks.

Elona
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Elona  Friend of PR
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In reply to Portia Hirschman


Date: 9/1/10 3:44 PM

I'm sorry to learn about your mother's disability. No one deserves it, but we don't get to choose, so it's nice of you to try to help out. I found several discussion forums about this subject, and it turns out that commercial patterns seem not to be the answer. Here's one discussion.

And here appear to be specialized patterns of various types.

-- Edited on 9/1/10 8:27 PM --

hazelnut
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hazelnut  Friend of PR
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In reply to Portia Hirschman


Date: 9/1/10 4:37 PM

When I was caregiver for my Dad I used terry towels as a "bib". The thought of tying on any type of bib was insulting to him, but a terry towel tucked around his shirt collar was at least acceptable. They were easy to wash and dry (and bleach) and the thicker terry caught crumbs and drips quite well. A cushion for her wheel chair will go a long way in making it more comfortable.

I had ordered various items from both Express Medical (exmed.net) and activeforever.com without any problems and had good customer service, (NAYY) though this was almost 5 yrs. ago. Most larger cities or counties have caregiver groups that meet frequently and are a great source of local information and support. They finally started one in my county, but unfortunately it was too late to be of benefit to us. The area senior centers or extension offices may also have resources to recommend. I'm sorry about your Mom; both of my parents suffered strokes (on top of other issues) but had different needs. Good luck.

Here's clickable links Exmed.net (BBB approved)
activeforever.com
-- Edited on 9/1/10 4:51 PM --

ukdame
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ukdame
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Washington USA
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In reply to Portia Hirschman


Date: 9/1/10 5:33 PM

I made some soft quilted wheelchair totes last year. I had no pattern and since I use a W/C too occasionally I realized that there was a need for them. The width of most W/C across is 18 inches so mine were made for this standard size. I mostly used left over fabric in bright colors as I know the disabled like fun things too. I have aneighbour friend who has made the adult bibs and will ask her what pattern she used. She told me in the past that she has to have a pattern otherwise she cannot make it ?

------
It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. ~ Franklin D Roosevelt 1843
Janome 19606 ,Janome My Excel 4023, Brother 1034D, White 1750C, Kenmore 158.1803, White 764, Brother 780D.

Portia Hirschman

Portia Hirschman  Friend of PR
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Maryland USA
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Date: 9/1/10 7:16 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions. I have made a tote by using a Target placemat folded in half and stitched up each side, corners sewn to make a slight boxed bottom (to hold her kindle), used cotton belting for straps across to the other side with velcro on one end to attach. Put a pocket on the outside for glasses and cell phone using some coordinating home dec fabric. Easy and 20 minutes from start to finish.

Found a nice bib pattern on the internet--one of the resources above--from Laura's sewing studio. It angles out toward the bottom and includes a pocket. She uses prequilted material for hers. But then again she uses hers in her car so she can eat while she drives! I am thinking about using terry on the back with fun fabric on the front and maybe doing some free form stitching to bond them together then applying bias binding around the perimeter. What do you think??

Dotmoll
Dotmoll
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JAPAN
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Date: 9/1/10 8:26 PM

Bibs...when my mother started spilling stuff a lot, I planned to make her a "bertha" collar with a floppy bow in front, for dining out. Just fastened in front with a snap fastener.

As it happened she had a more serious stroke before I was able to deliver her the "pretty" collar-style bib.

my horse
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my horse
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North Carolina USA
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In reply to Portia Hirschman


Date: 9/1/10 11:00 PM

I wonder if a pretty, high front apron might be more appealing than a traditional bib look. When my GDs thought they were too old for bibs we switched to aprons and they loved them. An apron is stylish and decorative so it could serve as a fashion accessory. Add some big pockets for kindle, cell etc. Just thinking..

------
She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. Proverbs 31:13 NAS

sewfan

sewfan
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Wisconsin USA
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Date: 9/2/10 9:33 AM

I haven't had a chance to check out the suggestions for adult bibs here but when my mom was in a nursing home last year recovering from a broken ankle she just hated the bibs they had them wear at mealtime. They looked like adult sized baby bibs. I think the idea of something which looks more like an apron would be a great idea and give those who need them a little more dignity.

Synj Munki

Synj Munki
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USA
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In reply to Portia Hirschman


Date: 9/11/10 12:09 PM

wheelchair bag: for a bag that hangs off the back, I've found that messenger bags are really ausome and secure, becuase they have a flap over a zipper, and it can be worn as a bag by another person (to fit on a chair, adjust the shoulder strap way down and slip over the chair back so the bag is snug against the chair. Barring that, Simplicity 2822 looks a million times easier than 2382 and could even be made without a pattern as it's pretty simple. (also check out 2664 for a simple walker bag).
adult bib: for quick and easy, at home/everyday/lots of washing, what i've done (admittedly for kids), is take a large kitchen or hand towel (i've always used plain white terry or tea towels, but you could find some fun patterns); lay it out longways and 1/4 down from the "top" create a whole big enough to fit over the head easily, and line it in ribbed trim (like for t-shirts or sweatshirts; also, consider using an old shirt to figure out the neccessary hole). it's not elegant, but once you get the head-hole size right and the hang of applying the ribbing, you can make dozens in a single sitting and they are tough and can take frequent washings (the type of thing you keep a stack of in the kitchen). for dining out or with company, especially if she's in a wheelchair, i echo the idea of making a few aprons; they look more like clothes, can be quite pretty, and if she's dropping stuff it will also land on her lap; for an easy one try simplicity 2626, or simplicity 3544 for a little something extra; just adjust the length so it sits pretty high in the front and cut it off at the sitting knee.

WildWyoming
WildWyoming
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Date: 9/11/10 2:16 PM

Pants made for people who are wheelchair bound tend to have a much different pattern shape than usual. The back of the pants has a much longer pattern piece because the body is bent so that the front area needing to be covered is shorter than the back of the body below the waist. The shape is different also. This allows much more comfort and flattery because the back of pants are not pulling and the front is not bunched up. Also, the length might be a little longer overall so that the hem hits at a flattering place when sitting all the time.

There are other differences in clothing for wheelchair bound people, such as a difference in placement and types of closures, but I'm no expert at any of this.

I was looking into making some things for a wheelchair bound woman a few years ago and asked for some catalogs for clothing for such persons. Just looking through the catalogs was an education and gave me a good idea or two.

I didn't end up making the clothing, which would have been a gift, because I perhaps insensitively asked if she wore a bag on her leg (she was paralyzed below the waist) and she decided that she didn't want to proceed. She was a very dignified medical school professor, and that question made her feel uncomfortable, perhaps in part because we were friends but not close friends.

As far as the bag was concerned, the issue was to leave room for it if she needed that for urine collection.

I hope this helps a little as there are ways to sew for people in this situation that can make things more comfortable.

One thought is to consider the colors your mom normally wears and to make designs that will blend and perhaps look unobtrusive or even fashionable, almost as though she is wearing an elegant scarf or front long ruffle on her blouse. I've never done it, but it's a thought. Also, why not make drawings of your ideas and see what she likes?

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