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Adapted Series - A Simple Side GTube Access Hole

Top showing tube coming out of the hole on the side seam
Tube Access on the Side Seam

I thought it would be a good time to start a "How to Adapt" Series of posts to help those of you out there adapting for kids with varying needs. The first of that series was of course how I do the adapted Welt Pocket for Gtube access generally slightly left and down the centre of items. As time has gone on I have started to situate the pockets more central as it seems Peg sites are becoming more above the belly button and moving from the left side of the torso. But having a pocket on the front isn't always workable for many reasons. Some kids can get at the Peg site and pull at the tubing or remove it or even just scratch and worry at the site. So often a pocket isn't appropriate or adds to its own complications. This is where a simple side access to allow tubing to comfortably pass out of the side seam can come in handy. It also means you can do this to sweatshirts, tops, dresses, shirts and all manner of clothing. I am showing in my example one of my Bodysuits made from Cotton Spandex knit. This technique is NOT reliant on the textile of choice, it can work equally well in a woven as well as a knit. If your knit or fabric is particularly prone to stretching or not holding the hole closed well, I would suggest adding a bit of interfacing to assist with keeping the hole comfortably in shape. Textiles like merino and bamboo knits will probably require reinforcing at the opening. I have not decided on a particular size for the gap I just guessed. You may find a smaller hole, or larger hole is more useful, I will leave that up to you to decide. This is just a simple adaption that can easily work as you sew items for the person who needs it. I will make some additional comments at the end of the tutorial. Otherwise lets get to it.

Adapting as you go - adding side seam gaps for tube access:

What you will need is an item precut that you are going to add the tube holes to. When cutting the side seams I recommend adding extra width to the side seam so that you have something to turn over to reinforce the opening. In my example I am making a bodysuit in 198gsm Cotton Spandex. I have added a 1.2cm wide seam allowance.

  • Chalk or a marker (I use a heat vanishing marker pen that vanishes when ironed) to mark your hole openings

  • Pins, or Wonder Clips (I use both)

  • Sewing Machine

  • Overlocker

  • Coverstitch (optional)

  • Optional scraps of iron on interfacing (not covered in this tutorial)

Lay your front and back pieces side by side and mark down from the armhole about waist height. In my example I am making a size 3 years bodysuit so I mark down from the shoulder about 23cm and place a mark on the edge. I then left a gap about 5cm wide and marked on each pattern piece so that they were aligned.

You'll see the markers in this close up and that I marked both pattern pieces so they would be lined up when sewing.

Fold pattern pieces together so each side seam matches and add markers to the other side seam as well. Do this for both pattern piece so that each opening will be at the same place. NB: its best to mark on the WRONG side of the fabric so you can see it when stitching

Continue to stitch your item shoulders, neckband etc and sleeves if you are adding them (mine was a singlet so I didn't add any) making sure you don't close the side seams yet. Overlock the edges of your side seams or both the left and right side (and sleeves if adding them).

Clip the side seam together and match your markers on both front and back. I recommend putting a pin along the opening so you won't accidentally stitch over the gap and will HAVE to remove the pin to do so. Do this for both sides.

Using a small zig zag stitch on your sewing machine stitch the side seams to each marker using a 1cm or more side seam allowance. Stitch to each marker, leave the gap open and then start stitching at the next marker and finishing your seam. It should look like my example.

Press open the seam. Wrong side facing you and starting at the end of the opening, stitch across using a straight stitch. Turn and stitch up the side, stitching the seam allowance down as you go. Turn again and stitch across the top of the opening and down the other side. Finish by stitching again over the first stitching.

Your stitching and opening should now look like this. A nice 'bound' hole.

NB: if you find these openings are too sloppy or not sitting nicely I would suggest you interface along the opening edges prior to stitching the side seams, pressing the opening and doing the topstitching.

Continue on sewing your item as you normally do. You can overlock sleeve edges above the opening as needed if you prefer, rather than doing the whole seam with small zig zag stitch. It will be a tidier finish.

Grey Bodysuit with sewn opening at the side seam.
The Finished Bodysuit showing the opening.

Some Notes:

If you are buying ready made items and wanting to create these holes I suggest marking down the side seam unpicking the seam and creating a wee opening using similar techniques to stitch the opening as above. Often ready made items don't have much of a seam allowance so that could complicate things. You could iron on some mending patches on the inside, cut a hole and stitch around it similar to what I have done above. I may save that for another tutorial.

Thanks for following one of my Adapted Series Tutorials. Stay tuned for More!


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