Memory Pillows: Two More


Today I want to share two more Memory Pillows that I made with you (see the last three here).  I was calling them Memorial Pillows, but that sounded too somber.  Granted, these pillows were made in memory of my friend’s father-in-law who passed away recently, using some of his old clothing.  However, you could also use this idea to remember times past or friends and loved ones who are still living, so “memory” seems more appropriate than “memorial”.

Memory Pillows

Memory Pillows

Like the last three pillows I made, these were made at the request of my friend Mary.  She gave me several articles of clothing that had belonged to her father-in-law to make pillows from as well as some pillow forms.  The things that I loved about this project were that she gave me complete creative freedom on the design and no real time limit.  She also helped me continue to make projects by contributing to my “fabric fund” in return.  Thanks, Mary!

Memory Pillows

Memory Pillows

This first pillow was made from two suit coats (the front) and a flannel button down shirt (the back).  I got kind of hung up on this one because I was trying to come up with some crazy-creative closure in the back using the cuffs of the shirt, etc., etc., but I just couldn’t get there.  I really wanted to practice putting some zippers in, so I used one that I had lying around and tried zigzagging over the seams that joined the back panels for strength and visual interest.  On the front, I used some of the buttons from the jackets and sewed some on with the thread in a plus shape, and some with the thread in an “x”.  I’m not sure if that really came through, but that was the goal.

 Memory Pillows

I also attempted to use the sleeve plackets as a design detail, but that didn’t turn out so well since the plackets ended up in the corners.  Kind of cool, but not exactly what I was going for.

Memory Pillows

Overall, though, I like how this came out and the clean back with the zipper.  It’s probably lucky that I chose the zipper since one of my test layouts for the back made my husband think I was making boxer shorts.  Sometimes I miss these things that are obvious to others…

(My most egregious example to date is the pattern placement on my first attempt at a bathing suit.  An appropriate name for that suit would be:  Unfortunate Arrows.)

The second pillow is made from a cashmere sweater and a suit jacket.

Memory Pillows

Memory Pillows

It took a little trial and error, but I finally got the pieces the right size for my plus shape on the front.  On the back, I tried to alternate the edges that the bits of cuff showed up on.  I think it was a bit more successful than the sleeve plackets on the other pillow.  It’s more visible, anyway.  I also used a zipper that I had on hand on this pillow.

Memory Pillows

These were fun and interesting projects.  There are so many ways you can use fabric and clothing to preserve memory.  Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:

  • applique a piece of your bridesmaid dress on a baby blanket for your friend’s/sibling’s baby
  • make a quilt with your child’s baby clothes to remember and preserve some of their things from when they were little
  • make a t-shirt quilt so you don’t have to store all those t-shirts in your drawer
  • use clothing from a deceased grandparent to make a baby blanket
  • add pieces of clothing to your next quilting project

None of these ideas are original to me, but I’ve seen all of them in person or online and they are very special.  You can use these ideas as a way to remember those who have passed on, a certain time of life, or to celebrate.  Let your imagination be your guide!


About Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

I love sewing and taking pictures! Pattern and Branch is my sewing blog with periodic photography posts (and occasional other side wanderings). It's a journal of my creative practice that I hope will add to the wider community and serve as a personal record to help me remember the details of my projects (because sometimes I need help with that). Welcome to this space! Join in the conversation!

4 responses »

  1. This is such a sweet idea. My Aunt Needy (Waneta), is an accomplished quilter, years ago she made each of her sister’s a pillow from my Grandpa’s neck ties. She also gave each of us grandchildren a pot holder made from quilt scraps belonging to my great grandmother. I love recycling old clothes of those we know into something new and special. Bravo Lisa!


  2. You have me thinking here!!!! I may ask you to do something for my girls sometime-maybe with my wedding dress? I never got it cleaned/boxed and I’m pretty sure they will NEVER wear it 😉

    Sent from my iPhone



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