How to Dismantle Clothes for a Memory Bear

Making a memory bear? Here are some tricks and tips we've learned over the years to make dismantling the clothes a little easier.

Taking apart clothes to reuse the fabric can be daunting, especially when you're using particularly worn clothes, or little tiny baby clothes. We can help!

First, examine your freshly laundered clothing and take note of any embellishments, like patches, pictures, lace, ruffles, etc. Are you using these embellishments? If so, take care to remove them with plenty of fabric around them, taking into account the seam allowance needed for your new project.
Plan on how you will dismantle the rest of the clothing to take advantage of the most useable fabric. The back of shirts are usually nice and flat, and minimally stained or worn out, so make excellent pieces to upcycle. Avoid holes, stains and stretched out areas (usually at elbows and knees) whenever possible.
If your clothing is very wrinkly, iron it before cutting into it.
Use sharp fabric scissors and cut as close to seams as possible. Try to remove each section of the clothing whole, rather than chopping it up. If the seam allowance (the area between the fabric edge and the line of stitches) lays flat you can leave it attached to the section of fabric you've removed, but if it's bulky or puckered be sure to remove it to make the fabric easier to work with.

Below you can find more specific information about dismantling baby clothes and adult clothes for upcycling.

BABY CLOTHES for MEMORY BEARS - coming soon!


Adult clothes are fairly simple to dismantle.
Remove button plackets, zippers, cuffs, collars, hems, waistbands, etc.
Focus on removing the largest, flattest pieces first as these will provide the most useable fabric.
Use a seam ripper to unpick the stitches in darts (folds sewn into the fabric).


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