Janea Davers has a passion; to help others keep the memory of their loved ones alive. Davers creates teddy bears from clothing items of loved ones. “This gives the family member something to remember that person with. It’s no longer just a shirt or other piece of clothing tucked away in the attic or in a closet,” Davers said.
Davers’ grandmother started making the bears about six years ago and has crafted well over 100 bears since then. “She made 30 or so bears from shirts of my great grandpa,” she said. “And then other people started asking her to make them for them as well.”
“I started making the bears about three months ago and since then I’ve made over 50. I’m currently working on some now for a family,” Davers added. “People just enjoy them. It means something now. It’s not just so and so’s shirt anymore.”
The original pattern for the bears came in the form of a decal for a circus bear. Davers’ grandmother then had the pattern reduced down to make the memory bears. While shirts are the most common item used to create the cuddly creations, she said any article of clothing can be used as well as baby blankets and other cloth items.
The bears don’t just have to be to remember someone who is no longer with us. “They can be made for a child out a favorite blanket that is worn out or maybe a favorite piece of clothing that’s been outgrown. The possibilities are endless,” said Davers. “They are great cuddle buddies and are also great for kids who have family that live out of state. Even though they don’t get to see that person on a regular basis, they have something they can hold when they miss them or are thinking about them.”
Each bear takes roughly one shirt. “One large shirt will make one bear but we can use smaller shirts too. The bear will just be a little smaller,” she said. The pattern often has to be slighted adjusted for each bear Davers makes.
Once the clothing articles for the shirts are taken to her, Davers said it doesn’t take long to cut out, stitch, and stuff the bears. “If I don’t have any interruptions, I can get one finished typically in about four hours but since I work another job and go to school, I usually don’t have much uninterrupted time.”
After Davers has cut out, sewn and stuffed the bears, she adds button eyes and a ribbon bow around its neck. “I always try to match the ribbon to the bear. I try to find something that suits the person the bear was made to remember and that coordinates with the fabric.”
Each bear costs $20 and if multiple bears are ordered the price is reduced. “You can get four bears for $60,” said Davers. For more information on memory bears or to place an order for one, contact Davers at 812-486-5147 or find her group, Memory Teddy Bears” on Facebook.