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Poncho: The ‘Easy Coat’ for the
A Poncho Was A
God-Sent When An Emergency
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
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
- Looks smart
- Keeps the body warm and
To make the pattern for the
poncho refer to picture on the left (1. Poncho
& 2 Collar) as a guide:
A-C and B-D are 65 cm
C-D is 90 cm (straight
A-B is 16 cm
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
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.
Pin A-C to the fold of the fabric. The collar can be done
in three different ways.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
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 so 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!