Sewing Memory Bears

Hello everyone!! I hope you’re having a wonderful day 🙂

I recently got the opportunity to volunteer with a local hospice center sewing “memory bears.” They’re teddy bears sewn of fabric from the hospice patient’s old clothes, immortalizing it for the family in a more cherishable form. I think that’s just so cool. Right?

I tried out the provided pattern on a test bear but decided early on that I really didn’t like how it went together or the final product. It was only four pieces in total, which seems nice, but it was a pain to cut out, worse to stuff, and ended up looking lumpy (because of my crappy stuffing).

I went looking for a new pattern and, as usual, Pinterest saved me. I chose The Purl Bee’s teddy bear pattern and started cutting out an actual bear. It definitely took more time to sew, but I’m happier with the results.

memory bears

I think I want to change some of the dimensions of the face, because the nose is kinda weirding me out. I think part of the problem is that some of the stuffing came out when I was attaching the head to the body.

And the eyes are a little creepy, but I was really having a hard time with my button stash. I don’t even know how that’s possible considering the number of buttons I have…

Here’s it from the back. It’s got a pocked for holding a card (you can’t really see it because of the lighting/pattern).

memory bears

I’m happy with it but I definitely wanted to improve on the little things. Some of the hand-sewing required is just so nit-picky, and I really should have taken more time.

So … onto bear #2 …

I enlarged the ears and was more careful sewing the head together this time, which I hoped would help make the face look a bit better. It ended up lopsided, but that was totally my fault during sewing, not alterations.

memory bears

The sewing went faster than the first time and I definitely felt more comfortable with the pattern. I started figuring out what seams can be machine-sewn even if they kinda want to be hand-sewn (the foot pads onto the legs) and which ones absolutely cannot be (the head to the body). It was oddly satisfying getting it put together better.

I was also more careful while stuffing, and I think the shape of the face reflects that.

memory bears


These two bears are going back to loving families, but I’m going to have a running gallery of my completed bears for future reference. I want to be able to look back at them, see how I progress, and (most importantly) remember where they’ve gone.

memory bears

I feel that a lot of community service opportunities available through clubs at my school don’t directly affect people in my community the way I want them to. That’s not to say that they aren’t incredibly important, but I prefer projects like this where I can point to something I physically made and say that made someone’s day better.

Do you do any community service/volunteering related to sewing? What do you think of my memory bears?

Thanks for reading 🙂



4 thoughts on “Sewing Memory Bears

  1. Interesting idea Samantha. Its very good of you to volunteer at a hospice – not an easy breezy place to work is it? I enjoyed working with people at the end of their lives though. It always seemed the most decent thing one could do.


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