Monday, September 4, 2017

Shirts for a Broken Arm

Our little friend Garrit recently flipped off his bike, causing him to dislocate his elbow and break a bone in his arm.  He is in a soft cast with pins in his elbow at the moment, and his mom told us that getting him dressed in an extremely difficult task.

Yesterday while I was sitting in church, and idea hit my brain out of nowhere (Divine inspiration!).  I thought I'd share it with you just in case someone else out there has the misfortune of trying to dress someone in a cast.

We dug through the boys' closets and came up with two shirts we could give Garrit.  He doesn't like to wear button-up shirts, so we knew we needed to use t-shirts.

I started by cutting the shirt at the side seam.  Garrit broke his left arm so I cut the left side of the shirt.  I cut all the way up the side and the underside of the sleeve.

I drew the orange line to show where I cut the shirt.

I folded in a little fabric from the cut and pressed it.  I didn't measure, but I'd guess it was somewhere between 1/4-1/2 inch.


*IMPORTANT:  On the front side of the shirt, press the 1/4 inch or so toward the wrong side of the fabric (inside of the shirt).  On the back side of the shirt, press the fabric toward the right side (outside/back side of the shirt).  You'll see why later.

I was planning to use pieces of Velcro, so I wanted the edges to be nice.  Therefore, I sewed a zig-zag stitch over the edge of the fabric I had just pressed.  I later changed my Velcro plan and realized this zig-zag step wasn't really necessary.


I happened to have some black sew-on Velcro on hand.  I had picked it up on clearance at Hobby Lobby who-knows-how-long ago.  Because I have a problem.  But my little problem with buying clearance items at Hobby Lobby benefits Garrit in this case.  My Velcro is one long strip but you can also buy it in squares or circles.  I am lazy so I decided to sew one long strip onto the shirt so I didn't have to start and stop a bunch with little spots of Velcro. 

I placed the rougher side of the Velcro on top of the zig-zag stitching on the back of the shirt, lining up the Velcro strip with the edge of the shirt.  I sewed a straight stitch all the way around the Velcro strip.  I decided to do one long strip of Velcro down the side of the shirt and one short strip along the sleeve edge.


I did the same process to sew on the softer strip of Velcro on the front side of the shirt.  Remember that the Velcro on the front side of the shirt needs to be on the back of the shirt fabric, and the Velcro on the back of the shirt needs to be on the right side of the shirt.  (Wow, that was confusing!)


On the back side of the Velcro, you can see the original zig-zag stitching as well as the stitching around the Velcro.

Now the shirt can be closed by pressing the Velcro strips together.  The front of the shirt overlaps the back of the shirt.  

Also I chose to put the scratchy and soft parts of the Velcro where I did so that if they come askew, the softer part of the Velcro will be facing Garrit's skin.






Now Garrit can put the shirt on over his head and put his good arm in the sleeve.  Then his mom can carefully wrap the shirt around his torso and hurt arm and Velcro it.  He doesn't have to go through the agony of trying to lift his arm and wrestle it through the sleeve.

Plus Garrit LOVES Star Wars so he's just pumped to have a new Star Wars shirt.

I wanted to try one other method for a cast-friendly shirt.  We had a Marvel shirt my boys had outgrown, and it is that soft, worn-in kind of tshirt.  

I cut the side and under the sleeve just as with the other shirt.  I folded over 1/4 inch or so from the cut edge and pressed.  I did not waste time with the zig-zag step.

I bought some snap tape from Hobby Lobby.  It comes in black or white.  Since the shirt is orange and neither really matches, I just chose the white.

I put the zipper foot on my sewing machine and got to work sewing the snap tape onto the shirt.  It's a similar process to sewing on the Velcro except the snaps like to fight with the presser foot for space.  The snap tape is flexible enough to sew one continuous strip up the side of the shirt and the underside edge of the sleeve.

Another tip:  try not to stretch the tshirt as you sew.

Here's the second shirt:









I put the strip with the pokey halves of the snaps on the back of the shirt so the pokey parts are facing away from Garrit.  Just in case.

He's going to try out both shirts and tell me if he prefers the Velcro or the snaps.

Life in a cast is hard, and I'm just hoping these modified shirts help Garrit with one task in his day!

Jessica

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