Tuesday, April 6, 2021



I do still sew, in case anyone is curious. Not as much as I used to, especially since in-person craft shows didn't happen in 2020, but I do still enjoy it.

What sewing I did last year was mostly custom work, and this was a job I was happy to get. A former co-worker reached out to me in February. Her mother-in-law had just died and her husband wanted to do something with four of her favorite nightgowns. (She had been house/bed bound for a long time and cycled through the same several gowns, and they were what everybody thought of her wearing). 

Remembering what I used to do on the days when I wasn't in the office, she suggested that I make bears out of them - and then ordered ELEVEN.

She drove out to visit and we had a lovely masked chat on the back porch when she handed over the gowns.

Sewing-wise, I flinched when I opened the bag, because they were all very stretchy polyester, and not even all the same. Some were two-way stretch, and some were four. Some were fuzzy and some smooth. All were going to be a nightmare to make small pieces with.

I decided that it would slow the process initially, but speed things along in the end, and I used fusible interfacing on all of it, then cut out the pieces. It kept them from stretching in every direction at once, and saved me from embedding too much profanity into what were supposed to be nice memorial bears.

A while back I had ordered safety joints for use in future bear projects, and I tried to use them here. First off, I think I ordered them slightly too small, but also, the fabric was just so limp that no matter how I tried, the arms and legs just dangled off the body. I removed them - no small feat with a locking joint - and went back to my original method of stringing them through the shoulders and hips with hemp cord.

The longest part of the process was trying to decide on the fabric arrangement. A red plaid, a pink and gray paisley, an ivory with navy blue toile, and a bright white with red cardinals. Other than the plaid/cardinals, none of it really worked. After some thought, I decided to tie them together by using the plaid in the same place on each one - head panel, inside arms, and foot pads. Then the rest of the pieces could be of the different fabrics, and each bear would be trimmed with lace from the neckline of the "head" nightgown. Each bear got a red ribbon to finish.

She picked them up the other weekend - another coffee/chat on the patio, this time rainy and chilly - and she carried them off to Delaware. They'll be distributed to her husband's various siblings and relatives once it's safer to gather as a family, but judging from the photo she sent, he seems pretty happy with them, and maybe his family should be worried about getting them from him at all.


Unknown said...

Dear Karen
The bears are lovely - the thought you put into them is evident.

Anonymous said...

Adorable story and indeed your mindfulness and attention to detail pays dividends.