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The sequel can actually be the best one created

When sharing my work on social media I always hope that my posts whether it be photos or videos get seen by as many people as possible. I love the fact that my work brings comfort and joy to so many, and the excitement of seeing a video reach 3,000 views or even 85,000 feels amazing. In this blog you'll read about the journey a memory bear that I was asked to recreate.


The Story behind the memory bear made from shirts

 

I had been sent a memory bear by a customer that had been made by someone else close to the family. It was made from her fiancés late father’s shirts and was the only items they had left of his. Sadly, when they received the bear, they were heartbroken. They felt it didn’t look like a bear and they just wanted to hide it away.


memory bear made from orange and green checked shirts. it has blue buttons for eyes, black nose and red tongue poking out
Memory Bear made by another maker

When people have memory bears created the idea of them is to allow them a way to display their loved one’s clothes rather than having them tucked in the back of a wardrobe. To have a memory bear made that ultimately was going to be doing exactly this it just didn’t make sense.

Katie stumbled across my TikTok and messaged me to see if there was anything I could do to help.

Katie sent me photos of the bear and mentioned she had been told inside the bear was the unused shirts.

 

We discussed about worst case scenario creating a small bear from the bear itself but ideally it would be great if the shirts inside were able to be used to create a new bear or as additional fabric to be added to what we could see.

Katie sent me the bear so I could see it in person and discuss the best plan of action.


Once the bear arrived I was determined to give them a memory bear they would love

 

When the bear arrived could see a hole in the stitching, so I was able to quickly get to work with investigating what I had to work with. Sadly, the bear had been stuffed with shredded pieces of shirts and there was nothing I could use for the bear itself.



After talking to Katie on the phone I explained about what was inside and what I believed was the best way to go forward. I gave her 3 options.

 

Option 1:

To create for my usual jointed bear, I would need to add new fabric myself like a plain fleece. Understandably this wasn’t an option they were keen on; they wanted the bear to be made solely from the shirts.

 

Option 2:

I create a small, jointed bear but it would be half the size of what they had been given.

 

Option 3:

I create my non jointed bear I have made on a couple of occasions and do it as big as possible for them.

 

Katie and her fiancé opted for option 3. They didn’t mind what style of bear I created they just wanted it to be saved.


So, I got to work with carefully unpicking the stitching with a seam ripper.


I decided although this was more time consuming it was the best way to keep the most fabric to reuse. I knew that some of the areas of the bear shape were like the melody bear design I was looking to create, and every mm was going to matter. Whilst I took apart the bear it confirmed my thoughts that the shirts hadn’t been stabilised with an interfacing which is why areas of the memory bear was ripping. But luckily the person who had made it had doubled up on the shirt, so it gave me more fabric to work with than I was expecting.

Patterns pieces of a memory bear in various shapes and sizes

After taking to apart I started to work our which parts of the shirts I would use. I knew some of the panels were larger than I had so I had to sew together several panels and create a patchwork effect. When I create my keepsakes, I always do my best to line up stipes and patterns, but this just wasn’t going to be possible with this one. All that mattered was that they got a high-quality memory bear that they would be proud to display.



It was hard work but so worth it...

 

I’m so pleased to say that this is exactly what I was able to achieve. Katie’s fiancé had said he was skeptical that anything would even be able to be done with the bear and had succumbed to the idea that his dad’s shirts were ruined. But when newly remade memory bear arrived home, he was so overwhelmed with what I had managed to create for them.

 

I was able to create a standard sized non joined memory bear for them using just his dad’s shirts. I didn’t need to add any plain fleece, I’d also noticed there was a selection of shirts that weren’t represented on the bear they sent, and it was a shame to not use them somewhere too. Therefore, I created a little bow tie for the memory bear from some of the shredded shirts inside.

 

It is always such an honour when I’m asked to create a keepsake and each one is treated as if it were my own. I always make sure that I am happy with the quality of my work before it gets sent home. But this bear felt like it had that extra pressure, they had already been heartbroken, but I was confident they would love this memory bear.



I’m so happy I was able to not only save their memory bear but provide them with something they could treasure. I wanted to share this story not to name or shame who made the original bear but just as a reminder as to how important it is to do your research before you part with those precious clothes. Katie had said she wished this something she had done herself.

 

I have a whole catalogue of photos of previous work on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok but I’m also happy to have a chat on the phone to put your mind at ease.

 

If like Katie, you have also had a memory bear made by someone else that you have just decided to hide it away ion a cupboard then please get in touch and let’s see if we can get it out on display like it was intended to be.


Tracy x





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