Disabled grandson, need sewing ideas

natesgramApril 12, 2011

I am currently trying to sew some stretchy pants for my grandson (9). I think it would help a lot if I had some kind of body mannequin, soft like a ragdoll but with a similar weight (65 lbs). He is confined to a wheelchair, bed, sofa, and is unable to situp on his own. He is "dead weight" - I hate these terms but not sure what else to use. My daughter tries to dress him as similar to a typical nine year old but it's becomming really hard to put on levi's and harder still to change a diaper while he is reclined in the wheelchair. Since he is tall but thin, and wearing a large diaper...most pants don't fit well. That's where I come in with stretchy polyester or fleece type pants. Do you have any ideas of how I could make a body "dummy" of his size/weight from about the waist down? Here is the closest I could find of something smaller but not sure how I would get enough weight distributed. Sorry this is so long. Any help or links would be appreciated.

Here is a link that might be useful: Closest idea I could find.

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The most important thing that comes to mind is, I would use beans for the stuffing, rather than batting for a more realistic model. To make your own adjustable pattern, could you get him to lie down on a paper and trace him? I would start with a standard pattern though, especially in the upper area. I'll think some more and, hopefully, others will answer. Hope this makes sense!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:13AM
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natesgram ~ Google "duct tape dress form" for many ideas - maybe you could apply these ideas & come up with a creative way to mimic that girth and bulk you need. You don't have to use his body to make the form.

Also, if he likes the Levi's - jean look, think about taking a pair of Levi's- splitting them along the sides & maybe the inseam--add snap or velcro closure and replacing the back of the jeans with the fleece. Your daughter would be able to separate the front from the back to change the diaper. (Like the outfits for infants). Just a thought. If this idea works, it would be easier for Mom and he would still be dressed "stylish"- which may make everyone happier in a difficult situation. You're a great Gram!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:31AM
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No sewing suggestions as I am inept in that area but I wanted to reinforce that you are a great Gram! Bless you.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:09AM
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Oh my gosh, I think I have several solutions! Thank you all so much.

We were actually going to measure his body from the waist down every couple of inches and then try to trace a pattern as suggested by Rob, but now I'm think that the duct tape is worth a try.

I've just spent the last hour looking at the duct tape dress forms that people have made, including some videos. I think even if I can get one that would fit shorts, I could figure out the rest for pants. My main concern was how fabrics stretch more or less and a dress form like this would be perfect.

I love the idea about the levi's as I would never be able to make something that looked as real. I will definately try that too.

I'm thinking now that maybe I don't need it to match his weight, just his body. I can always put on additional layers as he grows. He lives about 35 minutes away so as lucky as I am to see him, it's not like I can easily try them on and run home to adjust. I think this will solve my dilema.

Mustangs, thank you. He really is the blessing in our family and we are lucky to still have him. I wish he had an idea of what he means to all of us.
Nate's Gramma

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:18PM
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There are several ways to go. First, there are catalogues, which you probably already know of, that have clothes for the disabled. One could buy a pair of pants that fit him and then use that pair either whole or taken apart as a pattern for future pants. If you plan to make them yourself, you really don't need a dress form. If you know his waist and hip and inseam numbers (easily measured) you could get a pajama bottom pattern which has elastic in the waist and use that. I, too, would suggest cutting down the sides and using velcro as a means of closing the sides. This way, the back half could be laid down, then your Grandson, and then the top half and all velcroed down the side.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Nate's Gramma - I am so happy I saw your question and I could pass along the tip about making a duct tape body form -a seemingly useless, very funny solution to buying an expensive dress form. I really thought I had wasted so much time looking at it a few years ago, because even though I love duct tape -lol- I would never do this--except in a case like yours. Sometimes the information we have seems utterly useless, until someone needs a unique solution and needs to think creatively. This is a great forum, with many good people here. I am glad I could help you.

Take your sewing machine to their house - we sewers are used to taking machines to classes and places.

You have always spoken lovingly of your Grandson and Daughter, so somehow he must know how much you love him.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 8:25AM
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