Severe ME and designing clothing for us!

  • Hello there

    I've chosen the name willowbark.

    One of those personality tests told me the other day that I am like a willow tree and, wishy-washy as it sounds, I feel quite drawn to that metaphor.

    Also, willow bark is used in herbal medicine as a painkiller. Something about salicylic acid? or whatever it is that is also in aspirin.

    I am a young woman living with severe ME, which leaves me housebound and mostly bedbound.

    I spend most of my day resting in the dark and quiet, and can have tiny chunks of social media, internet etc via my phone. About 8-10% on the HFME scale.

    One of my passions is dressmaking (sewing clothes, it doesn't mean just dresses).
    Particularly accessible clothing, for spoonies.
    I am self taught from a young age, studied fashion at high school, and hobby while at uni. All pre ME off course.

    Sewing is too much energy right now, but I can still think about things in my head every now and then.

    I'd love to know what people require from clothes. Particularly Meeps, esp on the severe end like me.

    You don't have to tell me right away, everything takes a long time in ME time. I know this is something that'll take several years at least, perhaps even the planning stage might take that long.

    For example
    I'm very visually sensitive, so that prints, stripes and bright colours make my brain feel funny, so I need dark, soothing colours and fabrics.

    Like dark and dark greens, blues, purples. I don't mind black or grey but it's everywhere in pyjamas and loungewear right now.

    I have sore spots (not pressure sores, just sore) on my tailbone and shoulder blades, so avoiding lots of fabric, seams, or gathers there is crucial. This is proving tricky.

    I'm getting tired now so I'll write more about it another day.

    I also like baking, knitting, eco stuff, 1940s social history and fashion, a bit of politics and dogs.

    Not that I can do much to any of them right now, but I still like talking about them.

    Off for a rest as this has taken a long time to type.

  • @willowbark good to hear your idea.

    When I was first sick with me/cfs I couldn't cope with zips, buttons etc just too weak. I can't relate to that now. These days I need natural fibres.

    I wonder if we would all have different requirements

    Just a few thoughts

  • @willowbark Hi @willowbark .... Love your idea; Designer clothes for ME ... sounds like a winner ... I look forward to following it's development. 🤓

  • Community Moderator

    Hi @willowbark nice to meet you. As someone who can only sew on a button I’m in awe of anyone who can actually design and make things.

  • Hello Willowbark,
    What a great idea to be thinking of ME friendly clothing.

    I know that the sicker I am, the more I want gentle clothing, ie soft, natural material and no hanging sleeves or big skirts that get caught on things (or dunked in a sink of water), and gentle elastic and easy fastenings. Gentle colours too. And pockets please!

    I really feel the cold, but layers seem to suit better than a thick piece of clothing (except on the coldest days). And clothes that cover every part of me: leggings, long tops with sleeves and that aren't too low around the neck.

    I am an avid op shopper but I was so ill for many years that I couldn't op shop and being poor and needing things easy, I bought comfy cheap clothes from department and import stores. They were horrible material and felt so awful. Even though I was grateful to have something to wear, I never felt happy in those clothes.

    I really hope your ME symptoms settle down so that you can do things again, may that happen soon. And I think your sewing idea is brilliant for us, but also for so many others with different chronic illnesses and pain conditions. You would have a huge customer base. All power to you.

  • Pleased to meet you Willowbank!

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