Adventures in Adaptive Clothing
I recently began thinking about how to dress a person who has very limited movement. While compliance with the ADA has generated a lot of information about people in wheelchairs there still isn't much information on clothing the people within, especially if they can't move well.

This page outlines the work I've done to create comfortable garments for a 65 year old man with MS. He recently fell and broke his hip. While he can stand he is not able to lift his legs off the ground. He needs clothing that can be draped around him.

Accessible Clothing Resources:

I'd like to give a shout-out to my father's wife who makes AMAZING accessible costumes.

Attention sewing pattern companies! The sewing community is calling for sewing patterns adapted to wheelchair users. You're missing a market here!

For those crafty enough to go without a pattern:

Useful clothing tips for selecting comfortable clothing is available here.

University of Colorado's useful sewing suggestions.

Irish sewing and clothing tips and suggestions for adaptive clothing.

Mississippi State Univerity's suggestions.

An article on Wheelchair Fashion.

Some free patterns (no clothing): Wheelchair blanket
Shirt protector (adult bib)
Wheelchair bag

Some other lists of resources:
Wisconsin list
MAKOA list
New Mobility
man kilt for wheelchair-bound MS patient In the interest of time my first project was re-making a kilt from the used clothing store. This is a large women's kilt (don't tell him) so all I had to do was migrate the closures to size it up for my friend. I replaced them all with velcro to make dressing that much easier. In the future I intend to add a "half-slip" that will be a pad of fleece backed by a waterproof barrier. This will be more comfortable to sit on than all these pleats.
My next project was a pair of trousers that could also be draped. These also came from the used clothing store. They were only $8 and are cotton/poly so hopefully they won't stain! I bought them 4 inches too wide, knowing that I would cut them down. The idea was that they would be indistinguishable from ordinary khakis, at least when he is viewed in his chair. special needs trousers are normal at first glance
They actually have significant modifications. I split them down the side seam (which involved removing and splitting the waistband) and added snap tape. I only had black tape in my stash at that time. In the future I will use tan, however the black does show up better in these pictures. The waistband is put back together with velcro. This will also allow his caretaker to get the trousers on quickly and finish the snapping part once he is seated.
wheelchair adapted trousers are more comfortable
snap tape up the side seams makes dressing easier
The final modification is intended for independence. He is no longer able to manipulate zippers so I opened up the fly and removed the zipper, replacing it with velcro. I then re-sewed it so you'd never guess it has been modified. It is hard to see in these pictures, but the waistband has been tapered so that the front is a good inch and a half lower than the back. Hopefully this will be more comfortable when seated for long periods of time. I will report what he says when he gets to wear these. a velcro fly makes the wheelchair user more independent