anne mikolay 2018My dad was a creature of habit, and a stylish one at that. A throwback to a more refined generation, Dad often wore a shirt and tie even at home. He had a collection of “dress” t-shirts in varying shades of blue for the summer months, and flannel shirts, also in shades of blue, for the winter. Dressing like a gentleman was important to Dad. It was part of who he was.

Dad passed away in December of last year. When faced with cleaning out his closet and donating his clothes, I stumbled. How could I give away Dad’s signature fashion, his blue t-shirts and flannel shirts he so carefully laundered and folded week after week? Logic dictated these were things, dad’s possessions; these items were not Daddy. Nevertheless, each one held a bittersweet memory. My heart took control and shoved logic aside; I gathered Dad’s clothes into an old suitcase and took them home with me.

In my grief, giving Dad’s things away and never laying eyes upon them again undeniably confirmed Dad was truly gone, and I would never lay eyes upon him again. But what good came of anything locked in a suitcase? How could I keep the memories alive and share them with family members? I thought of stitching a blanket or pillows from Dad’s clothing, but I’m definitely not  a seamstress. A google search led me to the perfect solution, The Patchwork Bear Company.

patchwork bearThe Patchwork Bear, the original clothing keepsake company, uses your clothing of sentimental value to create tangible mementos of departed loved ones or special moments in your life. If you want to be “hugged” by a lost loved one, The Patchwork Bear can stitch a beautiful quilt from fabric you provide. If you want to preserve a wedding or christening memory, or the joy you felt while raising your children, The Patchwork Bear will use your wedding dress or your babies’ clothing to create a tangible memory for you to pass down from generation to generation. If you want to figuratively hold a departed loved one close from time-to-time, The Patchwork Bear will stitch their signature Teddy Bear for you, or a puppy dog, or a bunny, all from your cherished clothing. I wanted to preserve, remember, and share my memories of Dad; The Patchwork Bear helped me do just that.

The Patchwork Bear, located in Princeton, New Jersey, has been in business for fourteen years. Jennifer Cura, a former architect, started the company in 2005 after the birth of her third child. The company grew from Jennifer’s desire to find meaningful, flexible, creative work.

“It started with handmade quilts with matching teddy bears,” Jennifer said, “and over the years, evolved into making keepsakes from clothing. We make memory bears, bunnies, quilts and bags, and are always looking for new ways to upcycle clothing. We were named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2017 and have been spotted with celebs like Jennifer Garner and Jessica Alba.”

Jennifer is quick to point out The Patchwork Bear is in sync with the current decluttering trend promoted in author Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and the “Tidying Up” television series. “We can take a pile of clothes and consolidate it into a lovely little keepsake,” Jennifer says, “rather than taking up space in your closet - sentimental upcycling!”

What better way to “spark joy” and preserve your memories? The “sentimental upcycling” process is simple: Log onto thepatchworkbear.com, choose your keepsake, and pay via credit card or paypal. Shortly thereafter, you will receive an email with an order form and instructions for mailing your clothing. Three to four weeks later, you will receive a carefully packaged and lovingly stitched memento of your cherished loved one. It’s that easy!

The Patchwork Bear more than fulfills their motto, “Recycled, Remade, Remembered.” This clothing keepsake company is more than an efficient business. It is a preserver of memories, a provider of comfort, a guardian of sentiment. Whether you are hoping to honor a departed loved one or to preserve a cherished memory, do not hesitate to contact The Patchwork Bear. I was tremendously pleased with my Patchwork teddy bear made from my dad’s blue t-shirts (see photo) and just this morning placed an order for a patchwork pup. Currently, the company is offering a 20% discount with the code EASTER 2019 (expires 3/31/19; all clothes must be received in their studio no later than 4/1/19 to guarantee Easter delivery).

Let your heart take control. Contact The Patchwork Bear!