When my father died going through his personal affairs was a huge process. Not only was there a lot of stuff, but it all reminded me of him. I often felt cranky and upset. We packed up some of his favorite clothes to keep. A woman in my bereavement group had mentioned that she had a quilt made out of her mother’s clothes. She said it was a huge comfort for her. I decided that would be a nice idea to do with dad’s clothes, at some point.
After a few years we made a feeble attempt at finding a quilter. More years passed, without the quilts. Finally, sometime around the 12-year anniversary of his death I decided it was time to get the quilts. His clothes had been sitting virtually untouched in a bedroom closet, getting older and more fragile with each passing year.
A few internet searches later, I found someone in Virginia who specialized in Memory Quilts. I picked a size and placed the order. Next we picked which clothes we wanted for our quilts. We dumped the clothes onto the floor and started pawing through the pile. We ended up with four bags, one for each of us and one of items shared between me and my brother.
The quilter let us pick background colors. We left the patterns up to the quilter. She updated us on the progress. A few months later, the quilts arrived!
Here’s my mother’s quilt.
And my brother’s quilt with the nice, sunny background.
I thought I would feel sad and cranky going through his clothes to pick them for the quilts, but it ended up being cathartic. I even learned a couple things, like my father still had his wedding shirt from 1970! Who knew he was so sentimental! My mother, naturally, selected this one for her quilt. Interestingly enough, even though the wedding shirt was only in my mother’s pile, the quilter somehow intuited its importance and managed to sneak a little piece into every quilt.
I love the quilt. It’s a huge relief to and comfort for me to have transformed his clothes into something useful, protective, and nice to look at.