Magnets Make Clothing Alterations Possible

Just like people, clothing comes in all shapes and sizes, but for people with a disability or restricted movement due to old age, sometimes regular clothing just isn’t suitable. In situations like this, adaptive clothing is required.

Thankfully, there is Dressability. A UK charity based in Swindon who, thanks to their team of supremely talented seamstresses, are able to adapt regular clothing for people of all ages or with physical and learning disabilities at a fraction of the cost of regular alterations and improving upon much of the adaptive clothing on the market, which is very functional and purposeful, rather than fashionable.

One of many ways Dressability are able to alter clothing is to replace awkward zips and buttons with magnets, which is when they approached first4magnets for help.

Now, our expertise in clothing alterations goes as far as re-sewing the odd button, but magnets we do know about and we were only too happy to assist. When Sharon Tombs, the manager at Dressability approached us we were able to recommend the ideal product that would make their life, and the lives of their clients much easier; the stitch-in magnet with PVC envelope.

Stitch-In Magnet

How Does The Stitch-In Magnet Work?

Most magnets are incredibly hard so there is no chance of getting a needle and thread through them, and flexible rubber magnets aren’t strong enough for this application. Therefore, first4magnets came up with the idea of placing a strong neodymium disc magnet inside a clear PVC envelope making it ideal for stitching to clothing or other textiles. Supplied in pairs, two magnets attract together with the equivalent strength of 2.5kg.

First4magnets donated fifty pairs of these really useful magnets and we were delighted when a few days later the above photograph landed in our inbox.

Sharon, Manager at Dressability, explains: “The trousers belong to a young man who has cerebral palsy who had a lot of difficulty in undoing buttons on his trousers. This alteration has enabled him to maintain his independence when dressing and keep his favorite brown cords!”

Our thanks go to Sharon and the team at Dressability.

Latest updates from our friends at Dressability…

Here’s the latest update from Sharon and the team.

Andy is a client and trustee of Dressability and he is also a journalist working with Channel 4, who will this summer be covering the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Andy’s disability means that he is unable to use a regular zip fly and instead, operates a zip fly from a flexible stick attached to his shoulder. The stick has a strong magnet on the end, which attracts steel washers on his zip. The use of this device not only gives Andy independence, but it is also the difference between him being able to work full time, without the need for a carer.

Andy said: “First4magnets have helped me more than they probably realize. By supplying Dressability with magnetic attachments for free, the charity’s skilled seamstresses have been able to experiment freely to see how they may improve my independence. I can now use the magnets to help me fasten/unfasten my trousers, which had long been a source of frustration.”


Recently a volunteer seamstress used the stitch-in magnets behind the buttons of a coat for a 91-year-old lady who was having trouble fastening her coat. Sharon said: “These sorts of adaptations make a huge contribution to retaining independence for our elderly clients.”

Stitch-In Magnets

Another alteration performed by Sharon and the team was to alter a jacket for a wheelchair user who also had limited movement in her upper body. As you can see the back panel was removed to allow a more comfortable fit and a split was put in the back so that the two pieces could be put on separately, with magnets used as the fastening mechanism.

Alterted Clothing

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