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Poncho: The ‘Easy Coat’ for the Disabled.  

 

A Poncho Was A God-Sent When An Emergency Occurred. 

 

Nico has been severely disabled for about 10 years now. Margaret, his wife, takes care of him all by herself. However the strain of the heavy lifting took its toll on her. Suddenly, she was unable to use her right arm/shoulder and for the first time she was partially dependent on professional help.  

 

One of the very few things Nico still can do for himself is going for an outing in his electric wheelchair. This pleasure came to a halt, when Margaret couldn’t put his coat on any longer. 

 

But when the need arises, there is always a way!  

 

Making a poncho for the disabled 

The Physiotherapist suggested cutting the coat open in the back, but Margaret came up with a better idea – a poncho. Ponchos are often worn by females, why not by males? . . . Is this because they don’t sell them in the men’s fashion stores.

 

The alternative was to make a poncho ourselves, which we did. And below we share how you can do it too, because a poncho: 

 

  • Takes the strain out of dressing the disabled 
  • Looks smart 
  • Keeps the body warm and protected.  

Pattern for sewing a ponchoTo make the pattern for the poncho refer to picture on the left (1. Poncho & 2 Collar) as a guide: 

 

Pattern 1:      A-C and B-D are 65 cm  

C-D is 90 cm (straight across) 

A-B is 16 cm 

 

Pattern 2:      A-B is 26 cm  

C-D is 32 cm   

A-C is 10 cm 

 

Fabric to be used will depend on climate. As this one was to be used for a cold winter climate in  Europe we used a doubled layer of fabric - a thick wool coat fabric for the outside and a wadding fabric for the lining.  

 

Cutting the fabric for poncho: 

 

Pattern 1:      Pin B-D to the fold of the fabric. Do this twice – one for the front and one for the back of the poncho. The same for the lining. 

 

Pattern 2:      Pin A-C to the fold of the fabric. The collar can be done in three different ways. 

1.      Cut once and finish the edging of the collar with stretch bias binding. This helps to alleviate the thickness of the fabrics. The collar is placed between the outside fabric and the lining. Make sure that you pin the back of the collar against the right side of the fabric then pin the lining on top of this with the wrong side up. Sew all three layers at once and then turn the poncho inside out. 

2.      Cut the fabric of the collar twice of the same fabric. Sew the 2 pieces (C-D and B-D) together. Stitch one layer of the collar on the right side of the poncho. Turn all seams to the inside of the collar and then machine stitch or hand stitch the inside seam of the collar to the poncho. 

3.      Cut the fabric of the collar twice – once of the fabric and once of a thin lining material. Sewing the same as in 2. 

 

My advice is to cut the collar once and finish it of with stretch bias binding. Much easier to work with and less bulky with very thick fabrics.  

 

Making the poncho:

 

  • Sew the seams of the poncho on both sides. Press the seams. Use stretch bias binding matching the fabric to finish the bottom of the poncho. 
  • Sew the seams of the lining on both sides. Press the seams. Hem the lining. Allow a hem of approximately 2 cm to ensure that the lining doesn’t show.
  • Sew the collar as explained above in the three options. When using option 1. top stitch around the neckline just underneath the seam for extra strength.

With this poncho Nico is dressed in a flash now and ready to go out without any effort. Margaret’s only regret is: “Why didn’t I think of this ‘easy coat’ before, would have made life Making a ponchoso much easier.

 

We did get excited and made a second poncho - a single layered one - for spring. On the picture Margaret is trying the poncho on. As you can see one size fits all. 

  

. . . And as an after thought ponchos don't only look smart on the disabled! 

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