embroidered trim, fabric butterflies, fabric roses, handmade, memories, pillows, repurposing, sewing
A few months back a young lady from a local hospice came to our Quilt Guild and spoke to us about making something out of an item belonging to clients who had passed on. Our finished product would be given to the loved who had provided the item.
The program was called Threads of Grace and she brought an example of what had been made by someone else. The items provided could be a favorite dress, shirt, robe, blanket, handkerchief, tie, gown, or pajamas, etc. She asked for volunteers to sign up and she would give us a call when she had an item.
My call came a couple of months later and she gave me a soft yellow knit robe from an elderly lady. The lady’s adult granddaughter brought it in along with a picture.
The hardest part to me was the deconstruction of the garment, not only physically but mentally. What if I got it apart and couldn’t make anything out of it? How do I make it represent the personality of the person who passed? A lot of thought went into this and at times I didn’t know if I could do it!
The robe had a small inset satin embroidered collar, zipped up the front, and small scalloped trim on the pockets and sleeves. After a few days or weeks of studying this, I decided to make a small pillow with the grandmother’s picture on it and use some of the embellishments to add to it.
For those of you who sew, you know knit is not the easiest fabric to sew on, so the first thing I had to do after deconstruction was stabilize the fabric. I used a fusible featherweight Pellon and adhered it with an iron on the wrong side of the fabric before I put the scissors to it.I then decided what size pillow I wanted and cut out the front and back of the pillow.
The next step was to transfer the picture to fabric using my scanner, printer and Printed Treasures fabric sheets for inkjet printers to create the cloth picture. Then I sewed the trim to the picture and the picture to the front of the pillow.
I knew I wanted to use the embroidered collar in some way, so here is what I envisioned.
The next thing was to decide what else I needed to add and what to use.
I love fabric roses and had made several for another project. The knit fabric, being hard to control because of curling and raveling, gave me the idea to use the hem of the garment. I cut it off about an inch above the hem and ran a gathering stitch through it. That way I had no raw edges on the petals of the roses.
I used the zipper pull to create the antennae of the butterfly and tacked it on with thread and a little Fabri-tac glue leaving the ends loose. I attached the wings and the body of the butterfly so that it appeared 3-D. Once all of that had been done, I sewed the back to the front and stuffed the pillow. Whip stitched the opening and I was finished.
It gave me great joy and pleasure to make this for someone. I know when my Daddy died, I got all of his ties and made pillows for my mother, my sister and my niece. I never made one for myself and still have a few ties left. Someday.