How to Choose Sewing and Dress Your Sensory Needs
It’s hard to live with sensory issues with clothing. I know that I can’t let go of my beloved old “street-clothes”, the pair of pajama pants, worn and stained since they were first purchased at my local thrift store when I was in college. They have become an integral part of my personality and a treasured reminder of my youth. While they are no longer as practical and comfortable as they once were, they do still have their place in my wardrobe and are often casually nestled between my favorite books and my TV remote control. So, what is it about these types of garments that cause so much stress and frustration?
There are many common causes of sensory issues with clothing. First and foremost among them are our love affair with denim. It is the fabric of choice for jeans, shorts, tank tops, sweatpants, and leggings; it also comes in a variety of styles, from boot-cut, low rise, flared legs, and more. It’s hard not to feel a connection with this timeless fabric and all the freedom it offers us in terms of style and comfort.
Unfortunately, it is also very difficult to look past the limitations of denim in terms of fashion. As a matter of fact, some people with sensory integration issues find that certain styles of jeans and similar clothing are difficult or even impossible to find in a color or pattern that is suitable to their sensory processing needs. This can make shopping for these types of outfits a challenge in itself – especially if you are like me and have a serious hard time finding any sort of style in solid colors, especially white.
Another problem I have with my beloved pants is how they pinch my toes! I actually have three sets of “street” pants, which are the standard black work pants, dress pants, and leggings. My job requires a lot of standing and walking, and at times I really can’t afford to be without proper shoes. When I look at photos of the typical worker provided by occupational therapists, I see a clear picture: the majority of clothing styles are ill-fitting, high heeled, and/or tight around the waist. When I wear my “street” pants, I do not have this problem because they hug my legs, and my toes have enough room to wiggle in them.
However, not everyone has these options when selecting an ideal pair of “street” pants. Fortunately, there is another option available to those with special needs – seamless denim pants. This type of pants are available in several different varieties, including straight leg, boot cut, low rise, flared legs, and more. They are constructed of a thick cotton/Lycra material that is stretchable, making them easy to put on, and allow your body to have a full range of motion with your knees and hips – something that is not possible with many other types of clothing.
When it comes to sensory issues with clothing, there are even more options for those with sensory impairments. Many people with sensory processing disorders have difficulties with two main areas of their body: the feet and the hands. Since most jobs require them to wear spiked or tight shoes, many people with disabilities find themselves uncomfortable in these shoes. Seamless jeans are a great alternative because they do not have the tendency to bunch up at the toes or to rub the body. When you are wearing the pants, your feet will stay comfortably tucked under the footstitching, which makes your job easier.
Besides making your job easier, seaming pants also make you feel better when you’re working. Because they are not constricting like standard jeans, they give your legs and feet more breathing space. When you have extra time, you want to take advantage of it. Seamless denim jeans give you extra time to move around, stretch your legs, and exercise without having to worry about the discomfort.
If you’re a person with sensory issues with clothing, you’ll appreciate the added choice of button styles. With this type of clothing, buttons line up across the back of the leg instead of on the side. This means that you can button your pants right down instead of having to pull them over your legs. They come in a variety of colors, so there’s a pair for every occasion. You don’t have to sacrifice style to take advantage of these versatile pants – simply find a pair you love, make sure it’s stretchy and comfortable, and you’ll look great every time!