Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fashionista 911 !

My Goddaughter, let's call her "Z," is quite the snazzy 9 yo fashionista and I have become her unwitting fashion designer! Z shines as a Mito kid (check out for more info) who recently got a fashion accessory that most kids don't have - nifty new "twister cables" that attach to her AFOs (ankle foot orthotics). That's quite a mouthful, so let me show you the apparatus without my darling niece.

White belt is at her waist and the blue velcro wraps around the AFOs to support her ankle/foot.
Z dressed as Little Red Riding Hood for the Halloween game with her baseball team.
The braces (thanks Shriners!) will give her freedom and maybe independent walking (!), but how can she step out with confidence if she is limited in her clothing choices? Her lovely wardrobe has fallen victim to this "step forward" in Z's treatment and I wondered how do we dress a fashion plate of a girl with these new supports? Z's mom astounds us with her passion and dedication, but sewing machines live in fear of her.

So - I grabbed my handy Sewing Case and headed out into crisp winter winds to see what could be done. I measured the twister cables and AFO from hinged knee to the floor. I put the pants against the cables and marked where the hinged knee fell. Then I headed home to fiddle it out.

I searched the internet, I pleaded with all the search engine gods, but there's just not that much information out there on modifying clothing for children with twister cables / AFOs. (If you have a link - PLEASE - share with me!) Now I'm writing it all down for my records and to help anyone else who might face a similar problem.

So - I was on my own. Me vs. the jeans. My sewing skills are tenuous at best, but my Granny did her best to teach me some basic construction skills. I try to be creative, but this is going to be a challenge! The cables are on the outside of her pants for most of the leg length, so I cut along the outside seam on the leg. Blue jean doesn't ravel badly, but I ran it through a borrowed serger anyway. Okay - now what?

Well, if she pulls the sides it'll rip, and that just won't do. So, I added a swatch of folded blue jean (from my secret stash of ripped jeans) and that looks like it will work to stabilize the top.

The pant leg needs to go on the inside of the brace until it attaches to the AFOs, then it needs to go on the outside, around the brace. We wanted to reconnect the pant sides so the sides didn't flap around in her strong steps. So - I decided to make little tabs from that same stashed blue jeans.

But, I didn't want just some ugly thing for my lil' fashionista, I wanted this to look like the pants were stylish because she's got the braces. White stitching on the pockets gave me a clue, so I found some sequin iron-ons and dazzled up the tabs. Buttons and snaps are frustrating for Z, so I went straight for velcro. Voila' - attachments to catch your eye.

I meant for there to be 4 tabs on each leg, but late night sewing + counting isn't my strong suit, so there are only 2 on each leg. I am pretty pleased with the outcome anyway!

I delivered the jeans back to her mom (yes, another chilly nighttime drive) and Z loved 'em! Here's a somewhat blurry shot of Z's legs with jeans and twister cables / AFOs together.

I learned that I needed more measurements, more tabs, and probably a good serger instead of a borrowed one. Also - Z has a *huge* wardrobe and I may need a bigger sewing room!

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