Monday, January 21, 2013

Sensory Smart Superstar

This is my most recent post on my other blog www.sanitystitches.blogspot.com .  Since it relates to special needs I decided to re-post over here:

Sewing for Sam is something I have agonized over in previous posts. First of all, sewing for boys can be more difficult, at least when you are just starting out. You can't just whip up a simple skirt for your guy to try out your machine (well, of course you CAN, and I certainly wouldn't judge - but Sam isn't interested). In addition, Sam is PROFOUNDLY autistic. He is essentially non-verbal, he has major behavior issues, he has severe cognitive impairment (my youngest sailed past him cognitively at about 15 months), and he has sensory issues. The cognitive and sensory issues limit our clothing options.

I really haven't made him anything he will wear until now (I explained the pj fiasco in a previous post). So when I saw that the 3rd week on Project Run and Play requires making an outfit for a boy, I considered skipping this one. But then I decided to think hard about what might work and gave it a go. I am very pleased with the results!!!




For the pants, I started with the Oliver and S Bedtime Story pajama pants. The fabric is a dark olive fine-wale cord. Sam can only wear elastic waist pants because he cannot do buttons, zippers or drawstrings. I trimmed about 1/2 inch off the top of the pants and then I made the attached waistband wider (I used 2 inch elastic). I made the waistband out of a lighter olive green quilting cotton which was leftover from the Party Dress Remix I made in week one. I added a row of stitches around the top of the elastic to prevent the elastic shifting. I left off the leg bindings in that pattern and just made sure the pants were long enough to hem properly. I added a cargo pocket on one leg just for the look of it. Sam doesn't use pockets.


Sam doesn't like stiff collars and he isn't wild about shirts made with woven fabric so for the top I stared with the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern (designed for stretchy fabric). I sized up so it would be loose enough to wear over a tee or undershirt and I used a shirt he already has to adjust the sleeve length. I used a light to mid weight fleece. I wanted to add something interesting to the front. Sam doesn't have any hobbies for me to pull and image from. His only "activity" is throwing things around the house and jumping up and down and that doesn't really lend itself to a clothing theme! I decided a simple shape like a star would be a nice touch. I printed out a star from Microsoft Word and cut out it out of navy blue fabric - the same as what I was using for the cuffs and the neck. I sewed the star onto the front piece before assembling the shirt. I made a mock turtle neck for warmth (a full turtleneck would drive him nuts).

The big test was when Sam had to put everything on. He can't tolerate being measured so I was using his other clothes to figure out measurements. My big fears were that he would reject the outfit for some reason or the fit would be off. But. . . .SUCCESS

Then I had to get him to take pictures. I bribed him with candy (by the way, in the world of Autism, it isn't candy, it is a "reinforcer". That makes it better, right?) I was able to get a few shots but most were like the one above - hand flapping, jumping up and down, and generally being spastic.


Poking at the window:

I got him to show the waistband:


Then I called it quits and let him run off.




1 comment:

Ellen said...

Hi! It is nice to connect with you. Your children are beautiful! I have to say, Sam is super-lucky to have a mama who can sew! I've wanted to make Max bibs but never have the time, though thankfully a mom at his school has been making them. You are clearly also a master at bribing kids to take photos. :)