Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Broken Arm Close to Shoulder Needs Special Shirts with some velcro and a little bling too

My mom broke her arm right arm this summer. The break was very close to the shoulder so it could not be casted. She had her arm in a sling and could hardly move it without great amounts of pain. This meant that she could not lift her arm to get dressed. I adapted a few shirts for her to make it easier for her to get dressed. It was a very simple alteration, but made a world of difference for her. 

I opened up the right shoulder on the shirts and put a velcro closure on the shirts. The only thing that did not work the first time round is I used sticky velcro and when they were washed it came off and had to be reapplied. So when I made more shirts I sewed on all of the velcro. To do this as easily as these shirts you will need to work with T shirt type  shirts, or other none fray type fabrics. I did not finish any seams as the stretch fabric does not require finishing.   Determine where the best place is to cut the top. I have a dress dummy so she makes it very easy, but you just need to lay the shirt down and find where the break is in the shirt.

The shirts Mom gave me all had something wrong with them so I did not worry too much about doing anything wrong, I just jumped in and cut. First I cut across the right shoulder which is the shoulder she has broken. I cut it all the way across. 

Then I took a piece of 1/2 inch wide stick on Velcro. Both pieces the teeth and the soft side and I cut it in half length wise so it was 1/4 inch wide. I then stuck it on the shoulder seam. Starting at one end and ending at the other. I trimmed it about and 1/8 of an inch from either end so it would not rub on my mom's skin. 

Pretty easy so far, you now have a shoulder that opens so the person with the sling does not have to lift their arm when they put on their shirt. Just put the shirt over your head and on your good arm and then do up the velcro over the shoulder of the injured shoulder without having to lift it.

See how the cuts are similar, and the velcro is cut the same size as the first top.
A little sewing tip for sewing on glue backed velcro is to use Sewers Aid on your needles when you are sewing. Otherwise your needle and thread will get all gummy and your thread will keep on breaking on you. Sewers Aid is very easy to use. It comes in a small plastic bottle. I am still on the original bottle that I have purchased, as a little goes a long way. It works well when you are sewing things like sequins too, it just helps the needle slide over the sequins in a smoother way.

I just squeeze a little bit onto my fingers and then rub it onto my needles. I do this fairly often while sewing anything gummy, or anytime I notice any build up on my needle. Otherwise you will notice your thread getting thin and eventually breaking. A bottle of Sewers Aid will last you for many years. 

You can hardly see the velcro on the shoulder even before it is embellished. My thinking was that if I embellished were the velcro was you would not notice the seam as you would notice the embellishment and not the seam.

 Of course I could not leave the shirt plain like that. So all three t-shirts the velcro went on basically the same, the shirts were each slightly different, but they were all similar fabrics so the method was very similar. What was not similar was the embellishment. 

The white shirt was very simple. The lace had a few tears in it. So I fixed the tears and simply glued a few clear sequins onto the lace with flexible stretchable glue. It takes about an hour for it to dry enough that it can be moved and I like to leave it overnight before it is really handled. After that you can do anything with it, including washing it. Having the dress dummy really makes it easy to do this kind of thing. I usually put wax paper under the shirt so the glue does not go through and stick to my dummy. It just keeps things easier to clean up. 

The pink shirt had a couple of bleach stains on it so I decided to do a random rhinestone flower design over the stains to hide them. I also took a dollar store bracelet apart and sewed the pieces on to the shoulder over the velcro. The result was very nice. No one would know it was a lowly dollar store bracelet. I used strong beading thread to sew on the pieces as something of this weight requires strong thread so it will not break. I also needed wire cutters to cut the links apart. I am lucky enough to have a rhinestone iron. Its sole purpose is to apply hot fix rhinestones. My daughters used to figure skate so it paid for itself in labour costs many times over. It is very easy to use, so if you like to embellish with rhinestones give yourself a treat and buy yourself an iron. You plug it in to heat it up. Then you take rhinestones with glue already on the back of them (which I purchase on line) and wait for the glue to start melting. This takes a few seconds. You then place the rhinestone. It is then glued and dried. No waiting. No mess. You must know where they are going before you start, but otherwise they are so easy. 

The third shirt had a really big stain across the front of it. So I used an iron on transfer that I had in my stash and gave it a little brush of glitter paint just to brush it up a bit. Very quick and simple. 

The shirts all worked out so well that my Mom brought me five more shirts the next week, but this time they were all new ones without the stains as she knew the alterations worked. I just forgot to get pictures, but they were basically the same thing again. Just different colours. 

Hopefully this is information you never need meaning no one else will break an arm but just in case happy sewing

Forgetmenot Cherie