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Remembering Loved ones through sewing


This article is dedicated to the ever loving an enduring lasting memory of Alfreda 'Betty' Lawrence 4 November 1933 to April 19th 2020. My Nan.

I HATE covid 19. But love always wins.

You know who I love? Nana.  My Nan, Betty, was taken from us a little too early during 2020.  The official cause of death was coronavirus.  And yes, I deliberately spell it without a capital letter.  You see, it does not deserve it. And, I refuse to acknowledge it.

Before covid 19, my Nan suffered with the final stages of dementia.  Whatever has happened, C19 not withstanding, there was plenty of life in the old gal yet.

Though I feel robbed of time, I am left with many HAPPY memories.

She was a seamstress and a half!

Her mother before her (at age 2, I dubbed her Morenanna - there's Nana, but MORE!), was a wicked upholsteress.  She even fitted out Jumbo Jets.

My Nan, Betty, home worked for a while offering seamstress services.  She was an amazing dress maker.  Back in the day when their first home cost £5000 and they lived off of tomato sandwiches in order to make the monthly payments on their first oven on the 'never never', She stitched her way to financial security.

Sewing helped to pay for this and much more throughout her life.

She was also an avid cross stitcher, until arthritis made it impossible.  One of the last things she stitched was a sampler blanket for my daughter with Mr Men on it.  I remember we 'had words' because she asked my opinion whether she should make the edges of the blanket tassled, or bound with ribbon.

She wanted to bind it.

I liked tassels.

I remember thinking: why the heck ask if you know what you're gonna do anyway?!

The blanket is beautiful, and it is bound.  As if it would be anything else!  And we shall treasure it.

Now she has gone ...

I am struggling with the notion of her personal items and remembering her.

My grandad (nicknamed GG) has been teaching us bridge.  'Nanny was 40 when she learned and even at the end could hold and win a game of bridge!' he says.

Last weeks lesson rolled around, I was distracted in the highest degree by the smell of Nan's bridge scoring pad.  I sat there, frozen.  Transported by the aroma of her.  Still in memory; desperately trying to convince myself I could 'channel' her bridge prowess during lesson 4!

The smell made me think. I wonder how I can capture this smell for myself, and for others.


It struck me that I could personalise dolly to look like nan and clothe her in miniature using nan's own garments for authenticity.

So that is my plan.

Using the pattern for dolly and her outfits to replicate for our loved ones a memory of Nan.

How can you do the same?

It is always hard - THE HARDEST to lose someone.  But we cling on to their 'things'. Rightly so.  They are a comfort.  But what happens when the time inevitably comes to clean out?

Here are a few ideas:

Ask their nearest and dearest, when the time is appropriate, if they would mind parting with a few items of clothing that represent the loved one no longer with us.

Make memory cushions from garments dedicated to your lost loved one.  This is a simple project.

How about personalising a dolly?  Make dolly look like your loved one and make clothes and outfits from their own clothing.

That is what I shall be doing.  One shirt or blouse will be enough for all the family to have a dolly.

For me, the fact that she is sewn is the link to my stitchy heritage and will be made sat at Nan's Horn Table, on her machine.

I hope she is watching over me hoping I never miss a stitch, xox

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