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Topic: Pattern/style suggestions for pants for special needs adult?  (Read 1493 times)
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« on: November 08, 2008 04:51:49 PM »

My younger sister is 20 years old and has developmental disabilities.  She wears adult diapers and uses wheelchair, so it's hard for my parents' to find clothes for her that are comfortable, fit well, and are age appropriate.  I bought some really nice dark stretch denim on sale at JoAnn's last week, and I'd love to make her some cool looking "jeans" for Christmas.  They don't have to actually be styled like regular jeans, but I'd love for them to be a little more stylish than the sweatpants that she usually wears.  I've looked at most of the major pattern companies' websites and they don't seem to have anything with an elastic waist that's not PJ pants. 

The things I'm looking for (either in a pattern, or to adapt a pattern to accomodate) are:  would fit a 4'10", 115 pound young adult, roomy enough to accommodate an adult diaper, elastic or drawstring waist, works with medium-weight, 1-way stretch dark denim.

I'd love suggestions for patterns, tutorials, or ideas on how to adapt not-quite-perfect patterns. Smiley 

Thanks! Smiley
« Last Edit: November 08, 2008 04:56:24 PM by riloalexander » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2008 05:42:50 PM »

I think what I would do is use one of those frumpy elastic/drawstring waist pattern (such as this: Butterick 3460), and redraw the leg from the crotch down to the shape you want - wide leg, boot cut, straight, whatever.  Also, add "jeans" details with contrasting topstitching - topstitched hems and inseams/outseams as you like, mock topstitched fly, maybe jeans style front pockets or mock pockets, too.

What a sweet idea - be sure to let us know how it turns out!   Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008 05:51:44 PM »

My first suggestion would be to check out some books about fitting clothing and pattern making.  Vogue Sewing is a pretty handy book.

Simplicity and McCalls had patterns for some summery sort of drawstring pants with patch pockets on the front.  They're still essentially pjs, but with different fabric and some details.  But that is what you would be doing, taking a really basic pattern and jazzing it up a bit.  

A few things I thought of:

1. Since she spend most of her time sitting, think about how to make the front crotch shorter and the back side longer.  A shorter crotch will keep the material in the front from bunching too much.  A long back seam will avoid plumber crack.

2. A saw a thing in a SewStylish magazine where they used a flexible ruler (they're really cool drafting tools you can find online or in good art stores) to determine the exact shape of the crotch seam by shaping the ruler to trace it out.  Then they used that shape to draw out the new contour on the existing pattern.  I don't know how difficult this would be with your sister but she sounds small enough that it could be done with some help.  The best online reference I could find was: http://www.janefosterdesign.com/Studio_classes.htm (scroll down to "Jane fits Pant Pattern") to see how it's done.  That way you can draft the pants to easily fit over the diaper.

3. I'd take some extra time with the side leg seams and bottom hem.  Doing something special with these areas can really make the pants for her.

Good luck!  With a couple tries at it I bet you can get something really good.  I feel like there could be a good market for that sort of thing: fashionable clothing for people with special needs.  

You should convince another friend or family member to get her some cute shoes for Christmas to go with the new jeans.  Smiley  Nothing is more awesome than good trousers and cute shoes.

A state of confusion is unpleasant, but a state of certainty is ridiculous.  - Voltaire.
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2008 05:25:28 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions!  They're very helpful.  I had been going about it backwards - thinking about getting a pattern with a non-elastic waist and altering that part - but this approach sounds much easier.  I'll check out the Vogue book - I'd love to know more about clothing fitting/pattern making anyway. 

I also bought my sister a couple of really cute t-shirts to embellish to "make" the ensemble. Wink  I hadn't thought of shoes... that'd be great!
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2008 04:42:41 AM »

There is a fabulous book out called " Design without limits:Designing and sewing for special needs." - Renee Weiss Chase & M. Dolores Quinn

It covers all kinds of pattern and clothing alterations for people with disabilities or clothing difficulties. It also keeps in mind that they have the right to look glamourous and gorgeous too, which can be very hard in store bought clothes. It also covers the more formal/fitted clothing like suits. What I loved about this book was it kept in mind the need for ease of access and use whilst planning to make a garment look neat and professional.
The instructions and pictures are easy to understand and they have detailed drawings on how to cut/slash patterns to adapt them. It is available from amazon (and a few other printers) for about $10.
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2008 12:55:13 PM »

In a thrift store two weeks ago I saw a pattern from the early '90s that was targeted to handicapped adults. It had elastic waist pants and a top and maybe a cardigan jacket, and was supposed to have features that made dressing easier for people with limited mobility; one of the women on the cover photo was in a wheelchair. It was from one of the Big 3 pattern companies--Butterick, Simplicity, or McCall--but I can't recall which one. I only remember it at all because I thought it seemed like the concept had good niche market potential. If I'm right, maybe some other, similar patterns have been released since then?

If not, then with all the aging Baby Boomers, maybe someone should market such now.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008 12:58:43 PM by wifeofbath » THIS ROCKS   Logged

"An old cloak makes a new jerkin..." (Wm Shakespeare, recycling and DIY enthusiast)
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2008 02:09:25 PM »

thnx for it
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2008 12:05:45 PM »

I used to make and alter clothes for special needs adults. What I'd remember is that folks who are always sitting need pants that are disproportionately long from the back waist to the back hem. Does that make sense? Pants patterns already build in a curve for our butts but this is more than that and needs to extend the length of the leg as well. And the pants front from waist to crotch can be cut down to reduce bulk when the person doesn't stand.

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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2008 02:06:49 PM »

Here are free patterns for special needs adults:


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