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What is a memory bear? What is its purpose?

So I still often get asked 'what is a memory bear?' especially when I meet new people and they ask what I do for work. So it's probably about time that I explained what a memory bear actually is!

What is a memory bear?

Memory bear made from baby clothing

A memory bear, also known as a memory teddy bear or a keepsake bear, is a stuffed animal created using clothing or fabric that holds sentimental value. Typically this is a baby or child's outgrown clothing, items belonging to loved one who has sadly passed away or garments worn during significant events or milestones.

To be honest we haven't come across anything we have been unable to work into a memory bear yet. So now you're thinking what can I actually use to have made into a keepsake, heres some ideas for you.

  • Baby clothing - literally anything!

  • Baby blankets, muslins, swaddles, towels - again anything goes!

  • Child's uniforms - School uniform, sports kits, Rainbows/Brownies/Guides/Scouts/Cubs/Beavers Uniforms, all the uniforms badges included too.

  • Work uniforms - Military uniforms, nurses/doctors uniforms, any uniform goes we've had supermarket uniforms before!

  • Adult clothing - T-shirts, dresses, shirts, ties, handkerchiefs, coats, dressing gowns anything!

  • Sentimental fabrics - Nans old curtains, yep that works!

By repurposing these items into a bear or other animal, the memory bear becomes a cherished keepsake that can bring comfort, solace, and a sense of connection to the person or event being remembered.

Although this post is primarily about memory bears, I feel it's important to recognise that these sentimental keepsakes can take many different forms including memory quilts, blankets and cushions.

What is its purpose?

The purpose of a memory bear or memory keepsake is to preserve and capture memories, to bring comfort and solace. Sending those sentimental items off to be cut up and made into something new isn't for everyone! Parting with those items can be incredible hard for some people, especially following a bereavement. However, for those that do choose to have a keepsake made from those sentimental items of clothing or fabric it can be a deeply meaningful and comforting decision for the following reasons.

  • Memories - A memory bear provides something tangible to preserve and honour those much cherished memories. A memory bear made from clothing or other sentimental fabrics becomes a physical connection to the person or event you want to remember, giving you something you can hold and keep close to you.

  • Emotional connection - A bereavement can be difficult to navigate, and no two people will deal with it in the same way. Grief is a very personal journey. Some people find a memory bear or a keepsake made from clothing which belonged to their loved one, provides a sense of connection, warmth and comfort during times of sadness or loneliness. The same can be said for a parent as they watch their child grow, as parent we all underestimated just how fast time goes. Before we even realise it we've fed them their last bottle, we've changed that last nappy and they no longer want you to read the bedtime story, they're reading it to you! By using their child's outgrown clothing it captures a period of their lives and the memories associated with it whether that be in the outfit they wore coming home from hospital, or the sleepless nights and milk drunk smiles forever etched into your mind.

  • Unique and personal - Memory bears and keepsakes made from clothing or other sentimental fabrics are highly personal and unique, no two are ever completely the same. Although you could have two bears made from the same fabrics, the memories captured in that bear will be different for every owner.

  • Talking point - One of my favourites, a conversation starter. Memory bears, even quilts and blankets can spark a conversation and story telling. When other people see the keepsake they're likely to ask about it, it can serve as an opportunity to share memories and stories. Many people find talking about a loved one who's passed extremely hard, but what we also know is talking about them and sharing those memories can be a massive help. The person may be gone from the physical world, but your memories will always remain, talk about them, share the memories. One thing I have found with my own keepsakes especially the items belonging to my children, is they LOVE to hear about when they were babies. They love to hear my memories and what we done together, just imagine cuddling up with your children under a memory quilt or blanket and the bedtime story being THEIR story from when they were small!

  • Heirlooms - Memory bears and keepsakes often become family heirlooms and are passed down through the family. They hold memories of the person or event it represents, the stories and the history too. Over years the memory bear can serve as a link to the past, creating connections and making sure memories live on.

So there we have it. To wrap it up and give you the short answer to 'What is a memory bear and what is its purpose?'

A memory bear is stuffed bear or animal created using clothing or fabrics which hold sentimental value. Memory bears can bring comfort and peace, allowing you to honour the past, preserve cherished moments, and create a lasting tribute to those who are dear to your heart.

I hope thats answered your question and its made making your decision about whether a memory bear is right for you a little easier. You can browse the collection offered by Bella & Bear Keepsake here.

As always if you have any questions no matter how small please get in touch.




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