When you think of something as “accessible,” what do you think of? Many of us recall features such as parking spots, ramps, or bathrooms, but some may be surprised to learn that how we make clothes needs a major accessibility revamp. Imagine shopping for your clothing, only to find nothing that fits in your size—and worse, nothing that is easy to take on and off. For many, this is an unfortunate reality. However, many sewists and activists with disabilities have turned to adaptive, or accessible, patternmaking to take matters into their own hands and give themselves more agency. Adaptive patternmaking is the practice of making patterns that are easy to take on and off, “adapting” what is considered the norm to fit the needs of a wide variety of people.
While this idea may seem radical, we actually see adaptive patternmaking more often than you might think. Many maternity clothes can be considered examples of adaptive patternmaking, as the patterns themselves adapt and change as a body changes during pregnancy. Major brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Target, and Aerie have begun to stock and develop adaptive clothing lines of their own. As someone with endometriosis, I personally benefit from adaptive patternmaking. There are days where I may not be able to reach a zipper or button due to pain, not to mention the dreaded “endo belly,” or severe bloat that many experience. However, adaptive patternmaking isn’t just for endometriosis. Many people may want to adapt a pattern due to a variety of medical conditions, including arthritis, dwarfism, and paralysis, among several others. In addition, adaptive patternmaking can help with access to life-saving medical devices, including insulin pumps or G tubes.
At Mood, we have decided that it is past time to commit to including people with disabilities in our pattern releases. Below, we have selected a few of our favorite patterns that would qualify as adaptive. Many feature elasticised closures or wrap ties to make dressing and undressing simple. In addition, we will be releasing several free, fashion-forward patterns specifically designed for adaptive dressing in the future, as well as guides and videos as to how sewists can change various aspects of the pattern itself to adapt to their own unique needs. Plus, you can now check out our adaptive pattern category, which features several of our most popular patterns. Each pattern is already simple to dress in; and some, with a few small adjustments, can be made even more accessible. We’ve compiled a roundup of patterns you here, but this is by no means a complete list.
It’s safe to say that the Cadia Blouse has become a Mood staple. A zero-waste pattern, this sweet blouse features a wide neck and loose fit, making it an easy wear. If more room is needed, simply open the shoulder seam and place some Velcro or snaps for a effortless closure.
Feel a fantasy with the Cardinal Blouse! Suitable for all genders, this poet blouse is a funky, free-spirited treat. With a large V neck and a tie front, it’s easy to slip on and off. If you need more access, try opening the shoulder seams with velcro or snaps, or forgo closures altogether for a more sensual look.
The Tecoma Blouse is all about glamor! With an off-the-shoulder neckline and wrap front, it is the definition of effortless luxury. While the original does include a small belt loop, it can easily be replaced with a snap or Velcro.
Sweet yet sexy, this daring blouse is sure to stun. A tie-front and elasticized cuffs allows for ease of movement, with a plunging neckline perfect for summer dates. If extra accessibility is needed, add Velcro or snaps to the shoulder seam.
Give the illusion of an interfaced waistband without the fuss with The Stonecress Pants! These pants allow for movement along the hips and front due to a pleated finish. While the original includes tabbed cuffs, these can just as easily be finished with a simple piece of elastic, or hemmed as-is for a wide-leg look.
I’ll just state the obvious—paperbag waist pants are an adaptive sewist’s best friend! Easy to slip on and comfortable to wear, the elastic waistband adjusts to your body and gives a polished, trendy look. Make into shorts or pants for that go-to bottom you’ll wear all year!
With the rising popularity of athleisure-as-workwear, the Brya Pants are a chic, yet comfy option. Featuring a looser rise, they are perfect for both sitting and standing, and can transition from the office to the nightclub with ease.
Flirty, fun, and free-spirited, our Cress Skirt is made for your summer wardrobe! With a wrap front, it’s easy to tie on and off and can transition from casual to dressy. While we included a button in our pattern, you can replace with Velcro or snaps for an easier closure.
The Mimosa Dress is sure to be that sneaky dress you wear to work when you really feel like being in your pajamas. Pleats and gathers galore create a luxurious, high-end silhouette, while a wrap front and stretch fabric allow for simple dressing. If more accessibility is needed, try opening the shoulder seam to add closures.
With a simple, yet stunning silhouette, the Dill Dress is the artsy, flowy maxi you’ve been looking for! Combining a dramatic ruffle with a loose tunic, this dress would not look out of place at your next pottery class. Plus, a wide boat neck allows for an easy wear.
Gathers, cutouts, and a puff sleeve? Yes, please! The Clementine Dress is a flowy take on all of our favorite trends. With only elastic closures, throw it on for a picnic date or a stroll around a sculpture garden.
With gathers galore, the Amaryllis Dress is made for twirling! This effortless beauty is ideal for work, date night, or relaxing at home. With a wide neck and loose silhouette, it’s a trendy take on comfort.
Special Occasion Dresses:
What’s more classic than a wrap dress? The Anara Dress is that go-to cocktail dress you’ll want to pull out for every occasion. Simply wrap around your body and tie for an effortlessly chic look!
Ok-we may have a thing for wrap dresses. The Vestia Dress is another take on this classic silhouette; this time updated with fringe and pockets for a high-end take on the Western trend. Without closures, this beauty is sure to create a wow-worthy moment at your next event.
For a seaside soiree or beachfront wedding, there’s no better choice than The Rue Dress. A relaxed silhouette allows the flowy fabric to take center stage, with a daring slit for a sensual touch.
A quick sew with an ultra-flattering silhouette, the Xeranthemum Dress is perfect for last-minute holiday parties or weddings. Featuring an elasticized waist and made for stretch fabric, this timeless dress comes together in a flash and is even easier to get on and off.
We happen to love the oversized coat as a statement trend, and the Clark Coat is nothing but stunning! A looser silhouette and statement sleeves makes it perfect for throwing on as you leave the house. While buttonholes are included, the oversized feel allows for buttons to be totally optional, or replaced with the closure of your choice.
Suitable for all genders, the Bellis Coat brings to mind film noir detectives and ‘80s sci-fi. Pop the oversized collar as you wrap this beauty around you; with only a belt as a closure, it’s the definition of effortless!
The perfect outerwear pattern for beginners, the Elowen Shawl is easy to sew and easy to wear. Simply pull the fabric through a tab, chain, or two buttons, and voila! Your sylvan shawl is ready for a day at work or a jaunt through your local haunted forest.
Ensembles and Outfits
My other adaptive clothing cheat code is overalls, and the Oliver Jumpsuit is pretty much perfect. With only two buttons in the front and a loose silhouette, it’s so simple to put on and a super trendy wear. Replace the buttons with snaps or Velcro if you desire, and elasticize the foot cuff for even more accessibility.
We all need that ultra-comfy loungewear set we wear on weekends. For running errands and watching Neflix, there’s no better choice than the Hickory Ensemble! With a loose fit and elastic waist and cuffs, it’s ultra-cozy and perfect for trying out some of our most sensory-friendly fabrics, including bamboo fleece!
There’s a myth that jumpsuits can’t be adaptive, but the Fern Jumpsuit is here to prove you wrong. With a spaghetti strap neckline and boho-chic silhouette, this jumpsuit’s only closure is a wide, easy-to-close belt. We suggest elasticizing the button cuffs for an even more accessible fit, or forgo cuffs altogether for a wider leg.
Invest in yourself with the Saffron Ensemble! This sweet, yet sexy lingerie set is perfect for lounging around the house, or perhaps taking vintage-inspired boudoir pics. With spaghetti straps and elastic finishes, throw these shorts and cami on when you want to feel your oats!