Thursday, May 1, 2014

How you fit in your pants.

When Elise was little, she wore jammies and the most adorable bubble onsies.  I had to put socks on over her jammies, to keep her feet in the footies, because her trunk was pretty long, compared to her short little legs.  When it got cold, she wore yoga pants, with the tops turned down or capris.  It really wasn't too tricky.  I had to sew in her waist, cuff her pants, and tweak some of her stuff. 

I started learning how to tailor very low grade about 2 years ago.  Real tailors would probably be horrified.  I turned clothes inside out, and safety pinned the stuff that needed to go.  Then, VROOM, with my cheapie beloved sewing machine.  The folks who read the labels and bought blind in Goodwill have probably cursed me to multiple generations by now.

I gave up on buttons and snaps about a year and a half ago, because she simply HAD to learn to potty alone.  For two reasons, 1)  she needs to learn to independence and 2)  the more independent she is, the safer she'll be.  I can't help but think that the percentage of people with special needs who are sexually assaulted, would drop a bit, if they can take care of their own toileting.  Alone.

People with Down Syndrome are built a little different than typical folks.  They have different proportions than those that the clothing industry are producing for.  If Elise was more of a dress and tights kind of girls, this would not really be an issue.  But if you want slacks or jeans or shorts?  Well.  Lets just say things get difficult pretty early in. 

As I was whining about this, Ethan told me that I should start designing clothing for people with Downs.  About 6 years ago.  And again, 4 years ago.  And on.

But a superb grandma beat me to the punch.  Karen Bowersox.  She started a really excellent company called Downs Designs.  She has made several designs and cuts and styles in expanding sizes...adults, kids, youth, and teen.  She's making jeans, shirts, and capris.  And recently, she has added a new line of jeans, NBZ Jeans, for men that are soft and stretchy with no fasteners.  Personally I think this is brilliant for people with autism, other sensory issues, and many other physical disabilities.  They can look more mainstream, without resorting to sweatpants, etc.  And again, can I emphasize the more independent a person is and appears to be can protect them from predators?

Downs Designs has above and away the most stellar PERSONAL customer services.  Karen, herself chatted with me after hours about sizing questions.  She employs Skype to help with sizing and fit support.  Really, above and beyond any company I have ever dealt with.

Sadly, even though I placed an obscenely massive order of different cuts and sizes, nothing fit Elise right.  So. I'm back to square one.

As far as jeans, I have gone to jeggings exclusively, the wider the elastic at the top, the more secure they are, and the less I get *ahem* plummers' issues.  Shorts have gotten exponentially more difficult.

Today, I wandered into a parallel universe on a whim.

Maternity pants wander between scary huge belly panels and wide elastic bands.  I have contemplated getting maternity pants, and putting my own waistbands on them, as they are already cut under the belly, with a very short rise.  (And she will never tuck in a shirt because it sends her over the edge more quickly than tights or bunchy socks.)Today I bought a pair of shorts with the wide elastic band, which was all silky soft.  And would you believe those bad boys fit her like a dream??  They stayed up, because the elastic helps hold them in place.  They didn't make her lose her mind, because the band is silky and doesn't bunch, wrinkle, or cut.  The bottom part is nice and stretchy and superbly flattering.  And NO fasteners!!!  She is cute and perfectly independent.

(please excuse the "dressing room" mess!)

Can I get a whoop, whoop??

In related news, she has managed to get her shoes and socks on alone since Tuesday.  She is cruising for awesome this week!!


  1. Triple Whoop! Congratulations to Miss Elise. And Kudos to Mom for perseverance! :)

  2. Wow!...You are both awesome! WHOOP! WHOOP!!!

  3. Talk about clever! Never would have thought about Maternity shorts. Also, way to go Elise!!!!!!!!

  4. Wow, that is a creative solution! I bet most people would never think to try that!

  5. That's a great idea. I make most of my bear cub's clothing and just custom size it to her, but we mostly stick to dresses at this point with leggings (or shorter leggings). I'll keep this in mind when she starts needing jeans and shorts.