Aug 182011
My shorts with seams removed, ready for hemming, velcro, etc.

My shorts with seams removed, ready for hemming, velcro, etc.

For the past few years, putting on pants has been an hour-long process. Because I can’t stand, I would start the pants over my legs, then return to bed to finish getting them up. By the time I was through pulling, trying to roll, and cursing, I was almost too exhausted to get back out of bed.

Then a few months ago, I lost the ability to slide into bed and started using a ceiling lift. Don’t know why it took me so long to think of this before, but I simply ripped out the seams of a pair of jeans shorts at strategic locations. I removed the stitches along the inside of both legs and then up from the crotch to the beginning of the zipper. Then I removed the zipper itself and replaced it with Velcro. I also added a bit of fabric to the inside of the legs and put Velcro there. I added a fleece panel for comfort and privacy.

My shorts, waiting for me to drop in.

My shorts, waiting for me to drop in.

Now I no longer have to return to bed to dress.  I simply lower myself (overhead lift) to the wheelchair where I have the pants laid out flat and then close them up. Takes a couple of minutes instead of an extra hour. I also no longer have to struggle with pulling my pants out from under me when going to bed or using the toilet.
Wearing my shorts

Not a fashion statement - more like a declaration of independence.

  2 Responses to “Getting Dressed with Help From Above”

  1. I came across your blog while searching for practical projects to sew for those with disabilities. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to read your blog and feelthechallenges you and your wife have experienced over the years, I sewed a few items for my wheelchair bound mother (stroke and arthritis) but not as much as I would have liked to. Both my brothers and my father and his father all Had ALS. Now that I am the only one left I want to create things to help people using my sewing skills. I love your pants idea and plan to experiment with it. Thank you for your insight. All the best to you…

    • I think it is wonderful that you are willing to give of your time in such a project. Although I am sorry about the sad circumstances that led you to this point.

      I am continuing to refine my pants design. One thing I learned early on is that having the more aggressive form of Velcro on the pants made it very difficult to wash them as they tended to snag everything else around them. So I have redesigned them and it now works much better.

      Being new to sewing, I had to learn the hard way how important it is to prewash fabric before making the garment. My favorite pair of pants are now almost unwearable because they have shrunk several sizes.

      We are now preparing to move to an assisted living facility (one which will allow us to install my ceiling lifts) and I am looking forward to introducing my unique form of garment to whole new audience.

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