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fitting a person with disabilties with an unusual body type?
ahrizel
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ahrizel
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Date: 7/14/12 3:42 PM

I'm starting to sew for a young lady with multiple disabilities. She is wheelchair bound and wears a body brace and diapers. When I take her measurements she falls into a 14.5 and 16.5 in McCalls for instance. Depends if it goes off chest or waist. She could be a girls 14/16 also depending on the cut and fit. But she is 6-8" shorter then those sizes ranges. Also the brace and scoliosis make her wider around the torso, but her shoulders aren't as wide as the size. Everything is thrown off by the scoli and the brace. I'm not worried about making fitted pants for her, leggings are a wonderful thing and much easier for her. And I know knits and stretch fabric are much easier. But I do want to make some fitted dresses for her, some just jumpers and others a full fancy dress. Do I have any other options then trying to custom fit everything? I'm working on a jumper patterns when I tried on a bodice muslin the width is fine, but it's too wide across the chest and the should straps would almost be falling off. I can modify this, it's a simple pattern. But what about a fullblown fitted dress? To add to the fun she appears to be 12-14, but is actually 40!! Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Mary

m/m

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Date: 7/14/12 3:54 PM

There have been lots of threads here about sewing for people with various disabilities and clothing for people in wheelchairs. There have been lots of good links in the posts. Some of them might be helpful.

Much of what I remember from these postings involves using velcro to make dressing easier to the point of even using velcro to attach sleeves to garments.

Perhaps rather than using a pattern it would be better to drape a basic design similar to a fitting shell that could be made up multiple times with different style lines. You'd be doing the custom fitting one time and then working from the result to create different looks inspired by current fashion.

GlButterfly

GlButterfly
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In reply to ahrizel <<


Date: 7/14/12 4:33 PM

Look under the Creative Sewing forum for lots of suggestions.

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That's Gl = for Gloria, not G. I.

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Date: 7/14/12 5:01 PM

I'm with M/M on draping instead of trying to modify existing patterns. I'm familiar with draping on myself to draft patterns for historical gowns, but I'm sure there are gads of good online tutorials for ordinary clothing.

In fact, here's one from Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing that might get you started:

http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/07/draping-dress-part-one-inspiration.html

------
~Gem in the prairie

shajarataddurr
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In reply to ahrizel <<


Date: 7/14/12 5:08 PM

Also, I would like to ask what the client wants in terms of her self-presentation. For instance, does she want to "sex it up" or have more of a "hippie" look or something else? Maybe a batwing, dolman sleeve, or butterfly blouse will fit for a first garment while you are working out the other fitting issues.

ahrizel
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ahrizel
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Date: 7/14/12 9:14 PM

Asking her what she wants is difficult, she only says a couple of words though she is quite capable of getting her point across. She is developmentally in the 3-5 years range. Because she appears so young, going sexy really doesn't look. She does like to look nice and be told how good she looksI do try to do somewhat age appropriate, no excessive ruffles and baby looking items. But she appears to be a child so there is a limit to what you can do. I know what colors and what styles tend to be flattering on her. Simple styles look the most adult on her, classic type looks. But the fact is she has the size and appearance of a young girl. Draping, I have no idea. I am a beginner at best. I have duct taped her to do a renaissance bodice. Would the idea be similiar? Draping her would be difficult because she can't sit up by herself at all. Special modifications to clothes are not really what I'm looking for. The exception would be outerwear, coats are a pain in the butt. I'm going to try and make her capes for rain and winter instead. Otherwise I really want to make her regular clothes, with the realistic expectation that some styles will not work well for her. She needs sleeves generally, or a tshirt under a jumper do to needing an undershirt with the brace. Knit dresses aren't hard to fit, just length adjustments mostly. It's just the fitted stuff that's making me nuts.
Mary

rmusic1
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rmusic1
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Date: 7/15/12 3:07 AM

would it be worth making a dress out of a stretch fabric (you can get either cotton with stretch, or a jersey), than having a pattern with a more full skirt so as to avoid having to worry about fitting issues from the waist down?

Due to my body shape (less of a waist) I think empire line and things like box pleats suit me well. For example I've reviewed this dress twice, once in a stretch cotton.

How easy is it to use different closure types? is no closure/zip/buttons best? I think the answer to this will help steer you in the direction of which pattern is best.

How about a wrap dress, which is tied from the front (made from a jersey) with a high waist? I do hope this helps. I'm not made much before for others, and know it can be daunting in terms of getting fit right.

stirwatersblue
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Date: 7/15/12 7:47 AM

You've duct taped her? Fantastic! You're in luck. You could either do it again and make a body double/dress form to drape on, or better yet... do you still have either the bodice itself or the duct tape pattern? You can use that as a starting point for a basic bodice block for her, since it already fits snugly at most of the critical points. Trace that off, and either use it to draft entirely new patterns, or to compare to the commercial patterns you want to use.

Having done that already, you're miles ahead!

Good luck!

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~Gem in the prairie

ahrizel
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ahrizel
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Date: 7/15/12 9:56 AM

Yep, I duct taped her. She thought is was a riotI would have to do it again, she was a different brace now. It was the only was to make her a bodice. I was thinking I may have to try that again. Now adapting that to basically custom make her a dress gives me the willies... Would the basic idea be to make the bodice from the duct tape pattern-in other words a fitted shell for her-and and sleeves from a commercial pattern. I have no idea how to come up with sleeves on my own yet. I suspect this would be easier if I had more experience.
As for different styles, it's fitting the bodice that's the problem. An empire waist for natural waist suit her best if it's fitted. Now a loose fitting dress or a line is much easier on fit-so long as it fits the chest correctly, she's not so wide in the waist or hips that they cause a problem. I do like knits for her, simple dresses with a high or natural waist look great on her. And I am going to make her some, along with leggings or bike shorts. And doing a knit top with a woven skirt is a good idea, it get rid of my problem area, and the fuller skirt on bottom is flattering on her. And doing a fitted skirt or skort isn't as hard. You just have get the waist the right width. So long as it's not too fitted-yoke skirts don't work well for her-skirts are fine. For everyday I want to keep it simple, she can't help dress herself and has some stiff joints from cerebral palsy. It's more for specials occasions that I'm looking for a fullblown fitted dress. I like back zippers or pull over best. Front buttons pull unevenly, and back buttons are a pain and could press into her too much. Wrap dresses I really hadn't thought off, but they could be cute so long as it had some closures so it couldn't unwrap:) I really appreciate all the ideas I've gotten so far, anything that helps is great for me. Mary

rmusic1
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In reply to ahrizel <<


Date: 7/15/12 10:16 AM

well, if she liked renaisance, would she like a regency dress? you could modify an empire line one to have a front fastening (I made a simplicity version with a 3 button back fastening). The fabric can really dress it up, and there are lots of sleeve variations and even bust variations. They are very comfy (fitted shoulders and bust, and the rest a long gathered skirt) and they look very elegent.

I've seen other posters on pattern reviwe make them for children, so I think size wise they are quite flexible too. I love this era, but I do understand this my personal taste, and may not be yours!

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