The clothing of our deceased loved ones is often tied to memories of events, big and small. Their clothing says so much about who they were.
When one of our customers was planning the memorial service for her father she called us to rent mannequin dress forms. One to display his favorite shirt when he was outdoors-
And one to display his military uniform.
When she returned the mannequins she told me she received MANY compliments on her display and how touching (literally) it was to have his articles of clothing there.
What she did is part of a new trend in funerals, they are becoming more creative and personal. This mortuary website has a list of ways to personalize a funeral which is nothing like a funeral from 20 years ago.
People want to “tell a story” about their loved ones and having clothing and other cherished possessions of that person as a physical reminder of their personality is a great way to do that.
We’ve had customers rent mannequins to display all kinds of clothing of heir deceased family member. From vintage smoking jackets to Comic Book Super Hero costumes.
It got me thinking about creative things one can do with the clothing of a deceased loved one AFTER the funeral is over. Some people actually buy a dress form to continue to display one favorite outfit of the deceased and they give all the other clothing away.
Here are some other ideas (not involving a mannequin) to keep the memory of the deceased alive through clothing.
1 Paganoonoo.com a design house in California that specializes in upcycled garments sells patterns that make it easy to create innovative garments from shirts. Many widows have made tops and dresses from shirts
2 Make a pillow out of neckties:
Or a pillow from several different articles of clothing
3 A quilt is also very popular. Either one for the bed
4 Or one that you can hang on a wall as artwork
If you aren’t handy enough to make these items yourself, there is a whole cottage industry of crafters who will make it for you. Many of the images on this blog post are KeepSakeThreads.com
5 Teddy Bears are especially popular either for the loss of a child or if a young child has lost a parent. This one was made by Teddy’s Angels.
Patrick Dean, founder and director of the Wisconsin Grief Education Center in Waterford, calls these repurposed items “linking objects.”
He noted when people lose loved ones, it’s challenging to “refigure how the relationship can go forward without the physical presence of a loved one.”
No matter what shape these items take, he said, they allow people to find a way to stay connected with departed loved ones and feel in touch. “They serve as tangible reminders of the person we loved and still do,” he said.
6 A wreath is another way to repurpose articles of clothing
7 And if the deceased was a wine connoisseur, perhaps a wine cozy.
Here are other ideas:
8 Apron or Table Runner
9 Christmas Stocking
Note: Grief experts universally agree you should keep a loved one’s belongings for several months, because grieving people can feel numb for weeks and even months after a death. Not the best state of mind for good decisions.
“When we give things away suddenly and impulsively, we (often) want them back. There is no getting them back. They are gone,” said Heidi Horsley, a Manhattan psychologist and co-founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, an online forum offering grief support.