With my terminal diagnosis, I continue to focus on individual friends and trying to sleep and eat. However, there is one thing I need to inform the blogosphere of before I go: the following no-sew, can-put-it-on-
If you have ever been inpatient at a hospital for a few days (or, ahem, more than 42 days), you will have observed that they never, ever, ever detach you from your IV pole. If you have a catheter in your chest (Hickman or pheresis), then the only wardrobe constraint this puts on you is to wear button-front shirts.
If, on the other hand, you have a PICC line or just a standard IV stuck in your hand, things get dicier. You could wear the hospital gown that snaps up the sleeve, ties at two inconvenient locations in the back, and generally displays your entire backside to the universe. If you are lucky, the ties will not also be scratchy, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
OR, you could, in 20 minutes and using no sewing at all, cut yourself out a wrap blouse that is way comfier and better looking than a hospital gown. I got this brain wave the night before going to the hospital last fall, made a couple, and then ordered some more fabric delivered and had a friend cut me out some more blouses (because scissors + tubes coming out of your arms feeding medicine into your body = unacceptable risk).
I’m a blouse size maybe 6, and think this could stretch to fit larger or smaller, but you should make a dummy blouse out of cheap fabric to test.
You’ll need 1.5 yards of 60″ stretch jersey–I find it works better with fabric that is a thinner and stretchier than an ordinary t-shirt, and also fabric where the back side is not a wildly different color (i.e., white) than the front side. Whatever you do, don’t use a rib knit or other slouchy fabric–that will make wildly immodest gaps on the sides of the blouse and generally look bad.
Here are your steps:
1) Fold your fabric in quarters. (For the first try you will want to use cheap fabric to adjust the pattern to your body).
2. Cut a small neck hole (little bigger than your actual head, as the jersey will stretch). Then cut a diagonal line towards what will be the armpit, only do not make the two triangles you’re cutting equal–the front and back flaps will need to be a lot bigger than the sleeves or you will have immodest armpit gaps.
3. Unfold. You now have something that looks like a Coptic cross with the top and bottom pieces wider than the side pieces.
4. Put the head hole over your head and make sure one of the big pieces (not the sleeve) is in front.
5. Grasp the two corners of the front piece, bring them round your body, and tie them together in the small of your back.
6. Grasp the two corners of the back piece, bring them round to the front of your body, and tie under your bust. (As I am a “nearly A” bra size, I got away with wearing this without a bra, figuring it was more modest than the hospital gown anyway. If you are more endowed, you might want to figure out a bra you could put on without detaching the IV–such a bra would have to have hook-and-looks over the bra cups as well as a front closure)
7. Kind of wrap each sleeve part around your wrist and knot it. This can be easily un-knotted for PICC access.
- 8. Wrap corners of each sleeve opposite ways around arm and tie at forearm. Or, if you get warm, untie the sleeves and let them flutter from your shoulders.
- Just to recap the fabric info, because the fabric really makes the blouse–
- Fabrics that work great: Fine jersey knit (a bit thinner than a standard t-shirt) with good stretch, good springback from stretch, and the color showing on both sides. Of course, a fun print never hurts! Fabrics that work ok: (and would be good for a trial garment to adapt the pattern to your body): knits that are about as thick as a t-shirt and are only printed on one side (with the other side white).
Fabrics that won’t work at all: woven (vs. knit), rib knits, or slouchy sweatery fabrics.
I wash the shirts in lingerie bags to keep them from getting all tangled.
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