TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — There are many ways to remember a deceased loved one, but a seamstress in Tampa, Florida has come up with a unique.
Over the years Jade Sanchez, owner of Sew Sew Amazing Alterations, has stitched everything from sweaters to pants to gowns, but 2022 is becoming the year of the "memory bear."
What’s so heartfelt is that the materials used to make these bears are from the shirts and pants loved one used to wear.
“Their favorite clothing that they always used to wear, maybe something you bought for them,” said Sanchez.“It’s a great way to put them to use definitely, even if you only have one shirt,” said Sanchez.
The first "memory bear" Jade created was for the family of her own boyfriend, Sherrod Hunter, who died suddenly from a heart attack.
Hunter’s favorite shorts were used for the belly of the bear that was given to his sister Fredrita Blanks.
“He literally wore them all the time, now mind you he had clothes for days, but whenever we saw him he had these shorts on,” said Blanks. “So when we got the bears we cried because it was very emotional, but right after the tears, came the laughter.”
Sanchez embroiders a special message to the families on the tummy of every bear.
“These are clothes I used to wear. Whenever you hold it know that I am there, love Sherrod,” is what the bear read.
“When someone passes suddenly you really don’t have the time to say goodbye but this right here, this is our goodbye, this is our goodbye from Rod,” said Blanks.
Sanchez is just so glad she can use her talents to create something that’s so positively Tampa Bay. She’s already made 25 bears in the past month and they are all one of a kind.
“My motto is every stitch is made with love, I love what I do,” said Sanchez.
“I keep it in the car, in my room, the living room, he travels with me,” said Blanks who joked about what her brother would say about the bear.
“He would say, ‘no she didn’t, no she didn’t cut up my shorts,’” said Blanks.