AlterationsClothing

Altered T-Shirt for Shoulder Surgery

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Recently, I searched online for medical clothing needed after a rotator cuff surgery and noticed the cost of such alterations was in my opinion over priced. After gleaning a few items, I decided to give it my best DIY version that was less costly and worked just as well.

I bought three men's pocket tee shirts two sizes larger than I normally wear and with scissors in hand, cut through the neckline at top of the sleeve to the end of the sleeve on the side of the shoulder requiring surgery. This will open up the whole top right side of the shirt. In my photo, it is made for the right shoulder, but can also be done to the left.

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Next, I measured a narrow width Velcro strip long enough to meet at the neckline and a half inch or so past the shoulder seam line. Align the coarse side of Velcro near the raw edge from the back top of neckline to approximately one half inch past the original shoulder seam to prevent it from unraveling. Pin in place.

Now, on the front sleeve panel of the tee shirt, slightly turn in raw edge pinning in place and align the softer Velcro strip to the inside of the shirt fold (enough for needle to go through that side to stop unraveling). Pin in place checking that both Velcro strips match up closely at both ends before sewing in place. The open sleeve remains open.

Sew the length of the Velcro strip all the way around the edge slowly, so it doesn't shift out of place while you pull each pin out that you come to and lock last stitches to prevent unraveling. It should have nice even straight line stitching when finished. It may take you approximately 20 minutes to complete this project.

*(Do not buy the sticky back Velcro because it bogs down the needle in your sewing machine and breaks the thread.)
*(It is important to make sure you always attach the coarse side of the Velcro to the back panel of tee shirt, while the soft side strip is on the front panel.) This allows you to pull the sleeve frontward instead of the opposite.

For most people after such surgery, you are home recuperating and don't feel like being in clothing that is uncomfortable. Tee shirts solve that rather easily and inexpensively. They require little care and guess what? When you wear an altered tee shirt to hospital the day of surgery and home, the nurses who help you dress to leave will be happy that you made it so easy to dress you and there's plenty of open sleeve room for the bulky shoulder brace you'll be wearing for up to eight weeks.

Gently pull the sleeve forward to remove the shirt and you can let it slide down your body and step out of it easily. It also is easy to put on with a little help and you don't have to move about the surgical site as the sleeve just slips up under the arm and over the shoulder fastening with gentle pressure.

Wear this altered tee shirt to your physical therapy because it helps them change your first/second dressings and aids in therapy treatments too when getting hooked up to their machines. The therapists love this tee shirt a lot because it makes their job easier too.

If you buy really loose Fruit of the Loom brand colored tee shirts in a package, they are usually longer and fit over the hips making it comfortable night wear and it can be worn around the house all day too. There's nothing more appreciative than to have comfortable clothing after surgery and it makes dressing/undressing easier and serves you well for medical staff visits for short term use at a very affordable price.

Should you require surgery on the opposite shoulder sometime in the future, you only need to add Velcro to the other side of the shirt and they can serve twice meeting your needs. If you do not have a washing machine at home for easy laundering, it is best to buy more than three tee shirts and make the alterations in advance, so they're ready to accommodate you. These tee shirts can be recycled by giving them to another who will have such a surgery by dropping them off at an orthopaedic's office and get distributed to patients.

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Total Time: Twenty minutes

Yield: At least 3 maybe more

Supplies:

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April 24, 20181 found this helpful

Can I buy some from you????

Reply Was this helpful? 1
April 25, 20180 found this helpful

Yes, you can buy them from me. There will be actual shipping costs attached to the price. How many would you like? What size is needed? What colors do you want? When do you need these shirts in hand? Do you have any particular brand name you want?

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The longest ones I have found are from Fruit of the Loom at Walmart in a pkg. of sage and darker greens and I can order specific brands/colors not seen in stores, but the length will not be as long.

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May 27, 20180 found this helpful

I would like 3 men's large any color and I need the right side done. I do not need them til Sept. So you have lots of time...thank you SO much. My email is barbrashaw@gmail.com. let me know what i owe you so I can send you money ahead and I will give you my address.

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May 27, 20180 found this helpful

Also I am only 5ft 2in so everything is long on me!

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Anonymous
April 24, 20180 found this helpful

My sister just had surgery last week. Thank you for the directions.
I THINK I understand & wish there were step-by-step photos

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Anonymous
April 25, 20180 found this helpful

Since surgery is over and need something quick. Cut through the tee shirt from top of neckline and shoulder seam through the sleeve to the end. It will be completely open. Slip the tee shirt on and then with large safety pins, overlap the fabric and pin across the shoulder seam and pin an area catching the seam line of sleeve/shoulder to hold in place.

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Approximately 3 to 4 safety pins is necessary. Leave remainder of sleeve open for the brace. To continue wearing it like this, either hand/machine stitch down both sides of the seam to keep it from unraveling in the washing machine. Assistance may be needed to pin/unpin the shirt.

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May 28, 20180 found this helpful

tee shirts do not unravel so no need to sew any part of the tee shirt you have cut

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April 24, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you so much for this! My sister just had shoulder surgery last week.
Great idea!

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April 25, 20180 found this helpful

You are most welcome! I like to share a tried, proven and inexpensive item that will help people. Blessings during her recovery/therapy.

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April 29, 20180 found this helpful

This post is timed perfectly. I am facing rotator cuff surgery too, in about 3 weeks and have been trying to figure out exactly how to do what you did to the t-shirts. I am going to the local thrift store to see if I can find some over sized t shirts on the cheap to do this to.

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JoAnn's has a coupon available so I can purchase velcro in a large quantity to cover several shirts. I need to find opaque shirts as I am sure I will not be wearing certain ladies undergarments during the recovery period. Thank you thank you thank you.

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April 30, 20180 found this helpful

Certainly good choice for women's apparel...please do buy dark clothing; less revealing. Also, something quite useful as undergarment is a stretchy pregnancy tummy band found at Walmart. A black one is great for use as an undergarment especially because it is comfortable and doesn't slip out of position providing support. Just pull it up and over "the girls" and is very discreet for doing therapy treatments. It will require additional helper to adjust in place though. A thrift store is an ideal place for finding clothes to alter.
Align the coarse side of velcro on "top" of the back panel's cut edge of tee shirt and pin in place before sewing. Front panel: Fold under the raw edge and pin soft velcro over the fold (backside of front panel) Check that both strips are aligned at neckline and below the shoulder/sleeve seam before sewing in place. The first shirt completed is referral for next shirt. Hope this is made clearer.

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May 5, 20180 found this helpful

Many thanks. I have pulled out the sewing machine and am starting today as my yard is waayyy too wet to do a clean up. The band idea from Walmart is terrific!

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I will be looking for one this week! I have 3 Walmarts within a short drive so one is bound to have one. Thanks! I will keep you posted as I progress in this project. Kudos!

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May 1, 20180 found this helpful

Good work Myrna.

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