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Topic: Shirt design for Lymphedema

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Dec 18, 2012 03:32PM

Journey wrote:

Ladies - We are trying to get a manufacturer to design a t-shirt style compression shirt that checks off most of our collective boxes.  If you suffer Lymphedema swelling in your torso you know the frustration of finding a garment that gives some relief, hides well under clothes and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  I know in my heart that there HAS to be an answer for us.  Many of us have been buying various garments and reporting back on different threads how the garment came close to working or didn't work at all. 

I have a very special favor to ask everyone coming to this tread.  Please just post relative to this topic ONLY.  If you have unrelated questions there are lots of threads here in the Lymphedema section and lots of people to help.  Or simply start your own topic with your question.  I don't mean to be ugly but I simply want a single place we can refer any manufacturers who may express interest in designing a T-shirt for us.  I hope you can understand my heart in this.

Please tell me what you want in a shirt design.  Did you buy a particular brand and somethings just didn't work that you would need changed?  What would you say to a designer if you could?

Thank you ladies!

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Dec 18, 2012 03:41PM Journey wrote:

My prior posts related to this subject.

December 11, 2012

I am getting desperate to find a good seamless shirt with a lower neckline and no logo on top. I've bought everything I can find in hopes it would do the trick. The best I have found is Underarmour but sadly because of the high neckline and or the logo placement I can't hide it under normal street clothes. I also wish the short sleeve versions had just a little longer sleeve so I don't have that gap of upper arm bulge between my compression sleeve and the bottom of the shirt sleeve. On bad days I must wear them inside out because of the seaming irritation so seamless would be a dream.

My issue is my upper back near the arm pit so camis and tank are out for me because they cut into that area and make it worse. I have to find a compression top with some sleeve to it. I even took one of my UA shirts to my tailor to see if he could do anything to lower the neckline and he said it can't be done.

December 12, 2012

Ladies we have tried to get UA attention before but to my knowledge nothing has come from it.

See my topic "New Type of LE garment" then go to page 7. This was back in January 2012.

We got all excited that they seemed to be interested but like I said I don't think anything came from it.

Although we are a fierce group - we are a small number when you look at the mass population. I just

don't think they will be swayed. We may need to start talking to smaller manufacturers, but then we get into a very expensive garment that many of us can't afford or can't afford the number of them that we need in a year.

December 18, 2012

I had forgotten that I bought a Ahh Seamless T-shirt by Rhonda Shear (HSN.com) this summer. It's stuck in my closet someplace and I need to dig it back out. The design is kind of what many of us are looking for. I think the compression was decent but gentle and the sleeves are a good longer short sleeve style. But I had issues with it being too thick material (HOT) and the seam work at the shoulders was not done well as it puckers. As I was driving into work it hit me that she might be a good one to reach out too. I jumped on the HSN website today during lunch and sure enough she has a blog there and looks like she actually reads posts and replies from time to time. Soooo I posted a little thing about BC and lymphedema and our needs for a good tshirt design. I'll keep you posted and let you know how you can help.

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Dec 18, 2012 03:42PM Journey wrote:

Here is the link to HSN and Rhonda Shears blog where I posted today -

http://blogs.hsn.com/blog_3578/

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Dec 18, 2012 04:00PM cfdr wrote:

I have mild truncal lymphedema at the top of my left side, as well as scar adhesions on the lower side of my left breast, and costochondritis on the ribs below that. I have tried several solutions:

Belisse compression bra, $297, covered by insurance: great for compression, but the thick elastic along the bottom of my ribs bothers the costochondritis. I can't wear it at all anymore.

WearEase compression tank: ~$79: decent compression, especially for a mild case like mine. Fabric is thick enough to mask the nipples under a light shirt. Has a seam under the breast line which can irritate my costochondritis, but not as much as elastic.

Underarmour long-sleeved t-shirt: not really adequate compression, and doesn't mask the nipples very well. But it's better than nothing. Around $30.

Spanx tank top: Compression is tighter around the waist than the breast so it doesn't really work. Also, rides up if it's not tucked into underwear, and sometimes even if it is, so I rarely wear it.

Sleeves are less important to me because I don't have arm issues, however, I would love to have both tank and long-sleeve options. White, beige, black would be the best colors. Something that has thick enough fabric to mask the nipples is important since we can't wear bras. I'm relatively flat chested so I don't need any more support than I get with compression; perhaps some other women can address that aspect.

Thanks for asking our opinions~

Dx 5/23/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/8/2011 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/29/2011 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/26/2011 Chemotherapy 10/7/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/3/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 18, 2012 04:15PM carol57 wrote:

Scoop or V neckline that will not show under a variety of garments. Some compression Ts have a scoop or V neck, but they hug the back of the neck and still show under clothing.

Flat seams on the inside, so it can be worn right-side out like a normal garment. Many of us wear compression wear inside out to avoid having seams irritate us.

Choice of sleeve lengths: some like me are quite short; others quite tall. I have some long-sleeve compression Ts with sleeves that are laughably long on me, and it means I have to alter them.  I'll bet that some women have trouble with sleeves that are too short.  We're just not one-size-fits all.

I would love a compression T that is nude in color, for wearing unobtrusively under lightweight, light-colored garments.

Please, if a logo must be featured prominently, place it down low, near the bottom of the garment.  We like to wear our compression Ts as a layer under other garments that may have a low or partially buttoned front, and if there is a huge, beacon-like logo, this is not going to work.  I don't care to wear a form-fitting compression T as my only top garment, but like a camisole, I would like to let it be seen under something lightweight that I wear over it. The UA logos effectively prevent me from wearing their Ts as my underlayer with anything but athletic clothing.

Wicking fabric!  Layers can be pretty toasty, and we need this support year 'round.

Watch how short-sleeved Ts are cut.  Many of us find that we cannot wear women's UA short-sleeved Ts, because the sleeve is a cap shape and cuts us right under the axilla. I wear a men's small instead of a women's medium for this reason: the men's short-sleeve is long enough to avoid cutting into the axilla.

Lots of challenges, and I appreciate any garment maker willing to work on meeting those challenges. One head-scratcher to me, is how to solve the problem of an overlapping compression T's sleeve over a compression sleeve, for those with both truncal and arm LE. The idea of having the option to wear a long-sleeve compression T, which helps camouflage an arm in a compression sleeve, is very appealing, but it cannot add serious compression to the medical sleeve (and yet for truncal, we really want the shirt to be compressive through the torso).  Here's hoping there are some creative minds 'out there' to work on this and other design issues!

Carol

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Dec 18, 2012 07:21PM Dejaboo wrote:

I like all of what you have suggested.

I too want a V Neck or Scoop neck line. 

For me I need Compression on my Upper sides...Lots of Compression there...But not as much across the front of my chest.  Id like the garment to seperate & Shape my breasts at least a little as it is painful on my sternum when they are squished together ;o

Like many of you I need the side compression but not too high in the underarm...And nothing sharp/cutting under there

For me Id prefer a shorter top (like a crop top) that has a Nice wide Stretch band under my chest- Like 4-5 "...So I get compression there...But hopefully not roll up like a top.

statistics are just a group of numbers looking for an argument Dx 3/7/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Dec 19, 2012 12:19AM toomuch wrote:

I would love a garment that had wicking fabric so I wouldn't always be hot. A long sleeve shirt with bilateral compression sleeves would be ideal but is probably too much to hope for!

"Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before" Dx 7/13/2010, ILC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 19, 2012 12:45AM hugz4u wrote:

Ditto on Carols post. Oh and how about a variety of sizes including 1x or bigger. No band under the bust. Not too low of a v neck would be my choice.

most of us need good compression at the back of the armpit and down the sides of the trunk. ( fluid pools here)

UNDERARMOUR men's is perfect except for that huge "look at me " crest and high choking neck and seams that are't flat.

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Dec 23, 2012 06:39AM Journey wrote:

Excellent points! Let's keep this bumped up.

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Dec 23, 2012 07:59AM Galsal wrote:

definitely some thing that wicks away, like Armour type

Dx 12/14/2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 10/6/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 12/13/2012 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/16/2013 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Dec 29, 2012 06:11AM Maxine58 wrote:

Carol57 voiced my list to a "T" (pun intended). I also buy the UA Mens small compression t shirt for the extra length in the sleeve, then cut the neck line into a scoop both front and back (higher scoop in the back). I don't make the scoop cut wide enough to lose compression under the arm, where the bulk of my problem is. The material does not fray so this seems to give me a better use of the garment under more styles. The nude color is difficult to find sometimes but I have found two. I HATE those irritating seams and wear mine inside out so a flat seam would be wonderful! I see many possibilities to resolve issues that just tweaking the UA garment could handle. I would like to see the bottom of the garment with a little less compression because buying the small, when I am normally a large, causes the bottom to feel too constrictive. Maybe tabs along the seams below the waistline that are adjustable? And I agree that moisture wicking is a must!

So glad to see this thread. So few manufacturers that work with compression garments think about everyday living for the person with lymphedema. I think they would be astounded at the rise in sales if they were to design to this market!



Maxine

Dx 3/16/2011, 4cm, Stage IIB, 3/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 4/19/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 6/2/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/11/2011 Breast Surgery 8/9/2012 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 6/19/2013 Reconstruction (right): IGAP flap Surgery 12/9/2013 Reconstruction (right)
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Dec 29, 2012 02:43PM carol57 wrote:

Maxine, thanks for your post! I never thought to cut a scoop neck into an UA shirt: brilliant!

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Jan 1, 2013 08:59AM Journey wrote:

Maxine thank you for posting about cutting the shirts -  so it IS possible?!  Any advice other than not cutting too low?  Also, do you have to take any special care in washing them to prevent unraveling?

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Jan 1, 2013 12:34PM hugz4u wrote:

I wonder how the MODS did with meeting with UNDERARMOUR. I hope, I hope, I hope there is something in the near future. I cut the sleeves out of my Nike compression top and took the high neck band off and I like it better.

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Jan 1, 2013 12:45PM carol57 wrote:

Hugz, did you finish the cut areas in any way, or just leave raw edges. If the latter, how do they behave when washed?

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Jan 1, 2013 09:22PM hugz4u wrote:

Carol, The nike pro compression tee has flat seams along the sleeves so I cut along them so there should be no fraying.

Well there might be a bit of fraying around the neck where there is no flat seams, but I only wear this shirt at home so no one sees it.  I am washing it tonight as I just chopped it the other day. Will report in when I wear it next. That nike tee is almost as good as the Underarmour. Maybe not as tight but pretty close and it was cheaper in the mens section at Winners. You got to hunt for them though. Love the flat seams, everywhere but the neck. No I don't sew unless I am forced to.

I have a new red underamour on today and it is a wee bit looser than the black one. Yup.. its the dying process. I can't say it enough.

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Jan 4, 2013 05:41AM Journey wrote:

Sissors in hand waiting to hear about the washing results hugz! LOL!

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Jan 4, 2013 01:18PM hugz4u wrote:

Washed the Nike pro combat compression shirt. It didn't fray at the flat seams. The neck, I just cut off the band, so there are threads hanging, but no fraying. When I have it on now, it want's to bag a wee bit where I need the compression at the back of the pit. Not sure if it is because it was an old tee and stretched out a bit or not. Would I do it again with a new flat seam tee? I am not sure. I have cut this material before and it hasn't run, instead it just rolls up at the cut. I would love someone to try it on an old underamour.  

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Jan 25, 2013 06:03PM Maxine58 wrote:

Hi all, I have modified all 4 of my UA shirts by cutting a scoop for the neck and then using a needle and thread at the very edge of the cut seam to keep it from coming open during washing. Just a couple of stitches same color as the material and it washes beautifully with no spread at the seam.  The cut edge doesn't roll for me as hugz4u mentioned but that may be because it is so tight on me that it lays perfectly flat. So far this has been the most reliable compression shirt for me and has really helped me keep the swelling at bay. If only they would put that darn logo lower!

Dx 3/16/2011, 4cm, Stage IIB, 3/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 4/19/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 6/2/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/11/2011 Breast Surgery 8/9/2012 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 6/19/2013 Reconstruction (right): IGAP flap Surgery 12/9/2013 Reconstruction (right)
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Jan 25, 2013 06:24PM carol57 wrote:

Maxine, thank you for telling us how the shirt behaves when you cut it!  Now I may just take a pair of scissors on one of mine.

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Jan 25, 2013 06:56PM hugz4u wrote:

I don't mind the rolled look. That is or was in style with tee shirts and pant hems on summer clothing. Don't forget  you could use FRAY CHECK if you get a run somehow. 

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Jan 30, 2013 07:55AM Dejaboo wrote:

Im not sure if this would help your shirts - but it is an idea.

It is called Fold Over Elastic or FOE.

This might help finish your edges.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Fold-Over-Elastic-Lingerie-Ribbon-1-inch-wide-25-mm-x-5-yards-/261162136691?pt=Sewing_Trims&hash=item3cce79f473



You can find it on ebay in all kinds of colors...or etsy too.

statistics are just a group of numbers looking for an argument Dx 3/7/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Feb 2, 2013 05:07AM Maxine58 wrote:

I saw this in the news this morning and was encouraged that maybe retailers are ready to start listening to women that have special clothing needs. Maybe a petition for Under Armour might help get things kick-started!

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/victorias-secret-responds-mother-daughter-petition-survivor-bra/story?id=18369523



Dx 3/16/2011, 4cm, Stage IIB, 3/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 4/19/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 6/2/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/11/2011 Breast Surgery 8/9/2012 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 6/19/2013 Reconstruction (right): IGAP flap Surgery 12/9/2013 Reconstruction (right)
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Feb 2, 2013 10:57AM purple32 wrote:

Too cool, maxine !

Lymphedema on LEFT. NO radiation. 2 clean nodes. purple32. Hope is our light ... in the night. Dx 3/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/1/2012 Lumpectomy: Left
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Feb 3, 2013 09:36AM carol57 wrote:

I just bought a Spanx product, which you can find here:

http://www.spanx.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=11249345&sr=1&origkw=arms

I got the elbow-length scoop neck shaper.  For me, the point of buying the garment was to have something very snug that will hold a 'chocolate bar' in place on a spot on my back that is acting up lately. I generally only wear my LE sleeve/gauntlet for high activity and flying, but the truncal issues are nearly constant lately, so I was looking for something highly compressive but with a low neckline (for hiding under clothing, not possible with UA shirts). I think the sleeves on this garment are probably too compressive to wear over a lymphedema compression sleeve, but a seamstress could probably shorten a sleeve if anyone wanted to make it work with a compression sleeve.

These things are hugely expensive, though!  I had a friend who works for Spanx send me a discount for employees and their friends, and it included free shipping, but still...it was mighty spendy.  But it does indeed compress everywhere I'd want it to.  And it's a lighter weight garment than the UA shirts, and will play nicely with my wardrobe.

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Feb 3, 2013 10:33AM KS1 wrote:

Terrific find Carol57!-- I only knew of Spanx "Asset" line.  

The elbow length sleeve would definitely cover the axilla area.  I wonder whether it has side seams, and  how thick the seam is where the sleeve joins the body of the shirt. Here is a link to all of Spanx's products in "on top and in control" line.

http://www.spanx.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=4216323&cp=2992556

For those who don't need sleeves, the the scoop neck cap sleeve shirt looks more like it has wide straps than cap sleeves :

www.spanx.com/product/index.js... 

And the classic t scoop neck seems to have better back coverage than the many shaper camis.

http://www.spanx.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4148069&cp=2992556.4216323&parentPage=family

Thanks - KS1

PS Carol, check out the memoi short sleeve cami, if you haven't.  It doesn't have side seams and it's low cut, but it does have thick seams joining the sleeves to the body.    It's worked well for me, when I wear it inside out.  One thing ... The one in black seems thicker and more compressive than the one in nude color.  Here's a link.

http://www.legluxe.com/product/shapewear/body-shaper/shaping-camisole/MSM-130

 
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Feb 3, 2013 06:12PM carol57 wrote:

KS1, the shirt I bought has no side seams. The only seams are where the arms are sewn to the body of the garment, and those seams are very narrow.  There is of course, a finished hem and a finished neckline, and those finishes are quite flat.  Hope this helps you visualize the garment!  It looks similar in construction to the memoi short-sleeve cami, and thank your for sharing that resource!

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Feb 3, 2013 06:15PM carol57 wrote:

KS, I just compared the nylon/spandex mix on the two scoop necks- the Memoi is 90/10, and the Spanx is 62/38, so I suspect the Spanx shirt is a lot more compressive.  And I had to wiggle into the one I bought...

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Feb 4, 2013 08:30AM cfdr wrote:

I bought a Spanx tank top, but am not happy with it. The compression is more in the abdomen than above, and it rides up quite a bit...if it's not firmly tucked into the elastic of my underwear, it ends up in a roll just under my breasts, and is just as bad as a band of elastic.

Dx 5/23/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/8/2011 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 6/29/2011 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/26/2011 Chemotherapy 10/7/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/3/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Feb 4, 2013 09:31AM carol57 wrote:

cfdr, yikes, that is not a good outcome for such a pricey garment!  Mine stays put, and I do agree that the compression is greater in the abdomen than higher up, but I do still get some pretty good compression in my upper torso.  I wish these things were more widely available for trying on in stores.  I looked for this in a few stores, but had to order it online.  Thank you for posting your experience with a Spanx top.

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Feb 4, 2013 07:04PM - edited Feb 4, 2013 07:05PM by hugz4u

cfdr. That happens to me because I got a thick middleEmbarassedI need the tight compression at the trunk level but my with my overabundant belly it creeps up.It doesn't creep if I have a looser shaper on. Dang gotta do something about the belly. Any takers?

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