Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hip Stability Shorts tutorial

Kids with Down syndrome have low muscle tone.  This means that they do the splits very easily.  When our children are first learning to crawl and walk, they often need some hip support so that they can keep their legs together while learning the skill.  They sell various types of shorts to do this, including Hip Helpers.  They are fairly inexpensive to buy (starting at $16.00/pair), but much cheaper to make, and they aren't that difficult.

I made the bear cub's when she was learning to crawl and didn't think I would need them again after she was up and going.  Today, the drama princess is having a birthday party at the skating rink.  We bought the nerdlet adjustable roller skates a few weeks ago and tried them out on all the girls.  The nerdlet and Darth Monkey took to them right away, but the bear cub started to immediately do the splits each time we put them on her, so I decided to make her a pair of hip stability shorts.

Here is what I did.  I measured the bear cub's waist, hips, the length from waist to knees, and how far up her legs that I wanted  the stitching to come.  I added an inch to the hip measurement for the width of fabric and two inches to the length.  I used a knit with good recovery, but I have used swimsuit fabric for more support when she was learning to crawl.  I used 1 inch elastic and cut it to her waist measurement - 1 inch. I had two small pieces of elastic so I just sewed them together for this.

I sewed the elastic to the wrong side.  Here I used a three step zig zag stitch, but you could just serge it to the top.

I folded the elastic over to the wrong side.

And folded the right sides together.

Sew or serge the sides together.  If you don't have a serger, make sure you use a strong thread and zig zag stitch so that it will stretch when your child moves instead of snapping the thread.

Hem the bottom and turn right side out.

Draw a line halfway across the measurement you took for how far up the leg it should be.

Sew a straight stitch on this line and secure both ends.

It was pretty easy and fast to do.  I tried them on the bear cub and she immediately tried to do the splits in them.  She simply pushed the leg parts up her leg until they were bunched there and she could have full movement again.  Luckily babies that are learning to crawl and walk haven't figured this out yet.  We'll see tonight if the bear cub will leave them down while we try her on the roller skates.

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