Follow along as I sew what I wear, cook and garden.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Changing a Garment to Fit The Disabled
That easy to install center back invisible zipper that has become ubiquitous in rtw today is not so easy for anyone with shoulder injuries that prevent full range of motion. My daughter Alex is only temporarily disabled, thank goodness but she still can't, and won't be able to for quite a few months yet, get into any of the dresses in her wardrobe because she can't get that damn zipper up by herself. She had surgery at the end of January to repair a posterior labral tear in her left shoulder that she suffered in the fall from a climbing mishap. For the uninitiated, that's the part that keeps your arm connected to your shoulder. It was worse than the MRI showed and she probably has 6 more months of physical therapy until she regains full mobility. Fortunately, she has very good insurance with unlimited PT.
I had fit Vogue 8815 for her in the fall when I saw her, but didn't finish it until this week. There were so many other projects to work on and really, lack of sewing mojo lately made it a late birthday present. Not that late, her birthday was the 21st of March. She is visiting this week, it fits and she loves it and happily posed for me. The blouse is silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics in NYC that she had picked out some years ago. It also lines a suit jacket I made for her with pants and a skirt a few years ago. We never got around to a blouse. Changes I made; As far as fitting changes unrelated to mobility, I added a 1/2" full bust adjustment. With a 32 DD bust you'd think that she would need more room, but there is only a 2" difference between her upper bust and her full bust. She has a muscular back and pectorals from climbing that accounts for the B cup measurement. I made a size 8, the smallest size. The second alteration I made was to narrow the cross chest measurement by 3/8" making it 3/4" narrower. For mobility I changed the back invisible zipper to a regular zipper installed on the side. I made it open at the underarm and the opening is as long as I could make it. There's a small hook and thread loop at the waist seam to keep the zipper from opening when she wears it. I bought Susan Khalje's Couture Dress class on Craftsy, and I installed the zipper by hand using her instructions. I've done this before, but not in many years. It was easy, probably easier than sewing it in by machine on such a slippery fabric. She wanted it on the right side opposite of the usual placement, but it worked better for her injury, which is her left shoulder. Now of course the neck wouldn't fit over her head. I could have made a v neckline or a deeper curve, but she liked the high neckline. Keeping the back seam I just made a turned and hand picked opening in the back with a hook and eye to close it. As you can see, she can get into it on her own. The hook at the neckline is a bit of a pain one handed but she can always get someone in the office to hook that for her.
I have been sewing since I was a teenager, mostly self taught. I sew for myself, with some some occasional sewing for my daughter. I love garment sewing and will only sew home dec if desperate. I love to cook and read and try to avoid cleaning as much as possible.