Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creating a Keepsake

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
My task? Take David's mother's mink stole and create two keepsake teddy bears from it for his sisters.

I have to admit this was a daunting request. First, there would be no replacing the materials if I made a serious mistake. And second, I wanted to honor David's mother by doing a good job on this project. Finally, the fur was beginning to deteriorate and I was worried it just wouldn't stay sewn together!

But, I launched into the project. First, I "deconstructed" the entire piece, which was actually pretty interesting. Seeing how it had been tailored to begin with taught me some things. Once I had exposed the fur itself, I realized that there wasn't enough fur with a stable skin under it to make two full bears, so I decided to use the fur for the back of the bear, and the satin lining for the front. There was also some brown velvet under the collar I could harvest and use. Finally, we decided to use the May Department Store tag in the stole for one of the bears (Mrs. Calhoun had worked at the store herself), and use the monogram sewn in the lining for the other.

I had to do most of the sewing by hand... the pelts just would not have withstood the sewing machine. I ended up with bits of mink EVERYWHERE! I used the velvet on the nose, a couple of vintage buttons for the eyes and added a bow around the bear's neck.

I think it came out quite nicely, and I know David's sisters are pleased with the keepsake. I think I'll use the rest of the satin and velvet to make some smaller bears for some of the sisters-in-law.

Next up? David's mother's chenille bathrobe.... I wonder what I can make out of that?


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