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creating a pattern

chirval | Posted in Patterns on

I have been asked to make a cape for a wheel chair bound woman and would like to know if anyone has knowledge of a pattern that might be out there. Or if someone may have created something like this.


  1. alotofstitches | | #1

    Can you make a cape that has back length to seat of wheel chair but is longer  and fuller across the front to cover the sides of her legs as well as the front (assuming she wants that much coverage).  I used a costume cape pattern for a wool long cape for historical use, but I added a front facing and added hand slits (large bound buttonhole) to the front and I lined it.  I can't remember if the pattern called for a lining or not but 'tis a simple thing to add.

  2. LeslieD | | #2

    I know there was a book on this subject called Simplicity's Design Without Limits: Designing and Sewing for Special Needs by M. Dolores Quinn and Renee Weiss Chase.  I looked on Amazon and the review wasn't favorable.  But you might look into it yourself.

    My mother-in-law was in  a wheelchair for about 12 years and the most important thing I can tell you is that clothing bunches up in the back and pant legs work up too.  I would say that if you are making a cape, the back should definitely be no longer than hip level, or the level of the seat, possibly a few inches shorter.  The front should be enlongated, skimming the seat at the sides and draping down over the legs in the front.. 

    Another consideration would be if the person will be manually operating the wheelchair or if it is motorized.  If there is a lot of motion the arm/sleeve area would need to be engineered to keep the front of the cape from falling to the side and getting under the wheels.

    Sorry I am not more help here.  I would probably start with a short cape patternn with princess seaming, adding length to the front, possibly using a wide grosgrain ribbon at the calf as a stay tape (like the waist stay in evening wear) to keep the cape in place.  The princess seam would allow for a place for the arms/hands to exit easily.

    Good luck on your project and let us know how it worked out

    1. deemail | | #3

      Just to let you know the replies you have received were almost exactly what I did for a young child in a wheelchair.  I made a circle for the cape but offset the neckhole toward the back to make the back shorter and the front longer.  Then i folded the cape at the new shoulder line (back of the neck hole) and placed ribbon ties on both front and back where the wrists would come thru, serving to keep the cape in place and not tangle her hands in the folds.  The outside had one large pocket, big enough for a doll or a book.  The inside of the pocket had a 30" ribbon folded in half and sewn into the seam to tie onto whichever toy she was bringing, avoiding dropping and picking up, etc.  I made the cape from fleece, warm but easy to launder, and could fold up and be tucked into the pocket for ease of storage when not in use during an outing.   I always make sure all her toys, utility bags and clothing have plenty of ties on them to facilitate slipping onto handles or bars, if wanted.  I finished the neck with T-shirt ribbing and made a matching hat from the fleece.  I thought a hood would be nice but her mother told me hoods just bunched up behind her when not in use...good luck.

  3. lou19 | | #4

    I have a book on clothes for disabled people. Very useful. Included wheelchair users.

    "fashion for disabled people" by Nellie Thornton, Batsford books 1990. Might be on amazon.

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