When Irinie first came to us with a customisation request, she was a busy bride-to-be preparing for her wedding. However, she wasn’t looking to make new clothes for herself, but for her future mother-in-law – Jane.
Jane has been bedridden for a long time due to a stroke. The family was looking forward to the upcoming wedding and hoped that Jane could be dressed in an outfit that would look flattering on her, without neglecting her comfort.
So when Irinie, who is a therapist, learnt about our work through a focus group discussion we had done with her organisation, she reached out to customise new clothes for Jane – a formal outfit for the wedding and another casual outfit for everyday wear.
(above) Illustration of the customised casual outfit for Jane.
(above) Illustration of the customised formal outfit for Jane.
We applied our SwipeFit solution on the blouses, with closures along the shoulders that allow the blouse to open fully. With this, her caregiver can easily put on the blouse for Jane from the front without needing to tug it over her head and arms.
(above) Illustration of details on the customised short-sleeve blouse.
(above) Illustration of details on the customised long-sleeve blouse.
As Jane’s mother has experience with sewing, she preferred a closure that would be more durable than a hook-and-loop fastener (a.k.a. Velcro). Since Jane would not have to carry a bag on her shoulders, we decided to use snap buttons for the closures instead. It functions the same way as Velcro closures without affecting Jane’s comfort.
The SwipeFit function using snap buttons along the shoulder.
We also made the front of the blouse longer than the back. This design would cover Jane’s tube at the front and prevent discomfort from excess fabric bunching at the back when she sits in her wheelchair.
The family has a domestic helper who is also Jane’s caregiver. As Jane is fully dependent, it is very challenging for her helper to transfer and/or lift Jane by herself during the dressing process. To ease the stress on her caregiver, we designed Jane’s pants to open fully using discreet full-length zippers at the front (a.k.a. FrontSlit), making it easy for her to dress into and out of with less trouble. We also added handles on the waistband to aid her caregiver in wheelchair transfers.
We made the pants with natural fabrics and prints – which Jane wanted – giving them an elegant finish.
(above) Jane wearing the first customised outfit during the fitting session.
(above) A close-up of the lace-finish on the customised FrontSlit pants.
As an accessory, we made matching scarves that could cover Jane’s tracheostomy tube (a tube inserted at the front of the neck to help with breathing), as requested by her family. Fashionable and functional!
(above) Elisa adjusting the customised scarf on Jane during the fitting session.
(aboev) Illustration of how to wear the customised scarves.
Completing the Look
Going into the first consultation, we were expecting to design only apparel. However, Jane’s husband suggested making a simple set of covers for her wheelchair to complete the whole look. It was our first time making a wheelchair cover, and loved the thought of including an “outfit” for the wheelchair to complete Jane’s outfit!
Dressed With Love
One thing that stood out to us was how Jane’s family was involved throughout the design process. While it was challenging to balance the various requests with Jane’s needs and design limitations, we knew that everyone only wanted Jane to be dressed beautifully at the wedding ceremony.
What’s better than to be dressed with love?
(above) Elisa demonstrating how to put on the customised blouse to Jane's mother.
(above) Elisa and Jane's family in discussion during the fitting session.
We were also heartened to see how Irinie, who was already busy with her wedding preparations, dedicated time to making sure her mother-in-law could look and feel her best at the wedding. Being a therapist herself, Irinie understood the dressing challenges and limitations, and we’re thankful for her patience and suggestions throughout the customisation process.
It’s our joy to share that Irinie’s wedding was a success and Jane looked absolutely beautiful in her outfit!
(above) Jane and her husband with their son and daughter-in-law, Irinie, at the wedding.
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