New Life for an Old Coat

I'll do almost anything for family, so when my SIL requested a couple of teddy bears to pass along to her grandchildren in memory of her mother, it had to happen!

Vintage coat - the "before" shot

SIL also wondered if I could make a little something to preserve her mother's name embroidered in the lining . . . who would say no to that??? In fact, it sounded like fun!

Visions of upcycling upholstery and home dΓ©cor samples I'd rescued danced in my brain!

The first step was to disassemble the coat. Out came the lining, pockets, shoulder pads, and so forth.

The bottom was double-lined. I think it was to ensure the coat would drape well and slip back into place as its (wearer? occupant?) moved around. Clever.

Seams were opened and the sleeves and collar removed.

Just enough for a couple of bears!

Once the fur was flat I could trace the pattern pieces onto the leather and cut them out.

Snippy, snip - use the tip to avoid cutting the fur

One bear - an "exploded" view.

Reminded me of hieroglyphics for some reason

Two "exploded" bears. They are similar, but not identical.

I lined the bears with muslin to keep the leather from being overly stressed when stitched. Wouldn't want to create perforated, tear-away seams!

I used locking doll joints in the neck, shoulders and hips so the bears can be moved and repositioned.

I also used safety noses and eyes that lock into place. A stitched nose is beautiful, but doesn't work very well on leather. That whole perforation, tear-away thing, ya know?

To preserve the fur, I did the bare (bear? haha) minimum of facial trimming. I also left some springy whiskers by their noses for character.

Fun whiskers

Oh, and the embroidered lining?

It became the genesis of a crazy patch cushion . . .

Collaged and fancy-stitched on this side

. . . with fur on the back.

Pieced the scraps for this side

Nice and plump!

Something from nothing!

The cushion is about 16 inches square. Here, you can see that the bears are sizable, too.

Paw pads = upcycled clothing

Bye, guys! Have a good trip home!

Test fit - they were plastic-wrapped and packed snugly for shipping

The box - and everything in it - made the trip in good shape, and my SIL is now sporting a big, happy smile!

Linking up with:

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  1. Awesome πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

  2. Wow, what treasures. You did an amazing job and they are likely to be soft, cuddly, and enjoyed for years and years!

  3. Great job! Tackling such small pieces of fur in a feat in my opinion, and they all turned out so neat and cosy.

  4. Those bears are beyond precious!! How cute, and what a wonderful way to have a memory.

  5. Wow, what a great treasure you've created, Carole! You have skills, lady! And what a special way to repurpose a keepsake.

  6. So amazing and special! Fur coats are no longer in fashion, yet the materials if cared for properly will last another 50 years in these treasures.

  7. Those are the cutest, sweetest bears I have seen. The pillow is an extra special touch. What treasures.

  8. WOW!!! I don't know if I could work on that project myself, but you made the cutest projects out of that coat! What an heirloom! xoxo

  9. That is so incredibly special. SIL will be blown away!


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