Clothing can carry quite a bit of sentimental value. Though it may seem like a mundane part of daily life, clothing can become priceless heirlooms when those we love are gone. From a favorite sweater to a beloved sports jersey, there are so many potential family heirloom ideas.
Overview: Our Top Picks
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Gifts for the Home Made From Deceased Loved One’s Clothes
- Clothing or Jewelry Gifts Made From a Deceased Loved One’s Clothes
- More Gift Ideas Made From a Deceased Loved One’s Clothes
Going through a loved one’s belongings after they die can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure what to do with clothes you can’t donate. It’s hard to part with sentimental things, and it can be even more difficult when you’re grieving.
Instead of throwing away a loved one’s clothes or keeping them tucked away in storage, why not transform them into something new? There are so many unique memorial ideas, and there is no limit to how you honor someone special. This gift guide features ideas transformed from a deceased loved one’s clothes.
Gifts for the Home Made From Deceased Loved One’s Clothes
Keeping things around the house that remind you of your loved one is the best way to feel their presence every day. These subtle gift ideas make the perfect keepsake gift for anyone who recently experienced a loss.
Pillows are a source of comfort, and they make the perfect memorial craft with a deceased loved one’s clothing. From button-up shirts to t-shirts, it’s easy to stuff your favorite fabric with filling to make a simple pillow you’ll want to hug close for years to come.
You can make your pillow yourself or for a loved one using an easy tutorial like this one from JMB Handmade. Alternatively, you can have one handmade for you using a skilled crafter on Etsy.
2. Shadow box
A shadow box is a frame that has space for holding mementos and belongings. It’s traditionally used in the military, but all types of people have begun creating their own. These are perfect for showcasing pieces of beloved fabric, a favorite t-shirt design, and so on.
With so many memorial quilt ideas, it’s no wonder this idea also makes our list. Quilts are traditionally made out of a variety of fabrics, so this is an excellent way to honor your loved one’s memory.
Choose some of their coolest t-shirts, work uniforms, sports jerseys, or mix-and-match to make something entirely unique. Not comfortable making the quilt yourself? There are many crafty sellers on Etsy who have the skills to create something custom just for you.
4. Table runner
A table runner is a long cloth draped over a table during holiday meals or day to day as decor. A table runner featuring a loved one’s neckties, favorite shirts, or scraps of their clothing is the perfect tribute to their legacy. It’s also sure to bring memories to life during the holiday season.
5. Fabric wreath
Lastly, decorate for any season with a fabric wreath made from a loved one’s clothes. It’s as simple as using a wreath mold and twisting your favorite fabric together, and gluing or pinning it to the mold, as explained in this Blair’s Blessings tutorial.
Bring the DIY fabric wreath out during the holiday season, or leave it up all year long for a special tribute. This is a fun craft everyone can join in on, especially kids.
Clothing or Jewelry Gifts Made From a Deceased Loved One’s Clothes
If you’d like to carry your loved one’s memory with you, the clothing and jewelry gift ideas below are a great choice. Having a constant reminder that your loved one is with you every day can bring feelings of peace and comfort.
A scarf is easy to create yourself with a few favorite fabrics, and you can show off some of your loved one’s more unique patterns and styles. These make a great addition to your winter wardrobe, and having their presence close can be healing.
Not comfortable sewing? The Tinker Lab blog has a variety of no-sew scarf ideas. Transform a loved one’s old t-shirts into a stylish fashion statement you’ll love for years to come.
7. Fabric keychain
You don’t have to wear a piece of your loved one’s clothing to keep their memory near. Instead, create a fabric keychain using one of their favorite shirts.
This is a subtle yet powerful way to honor their memory, and they’ll become a part of your daily routine. Etsy has a variety of inexpensive keepsake memorial ideas to choose from, or you can make your own.
8. T-shirt bag
You can never have too many tote bags, and these make a daily staple for any student, worker, or traveler. Create your own t-shirt bag with your loved one’s favorite shirts, bringing a part of their legacy with you on your daily errands. Make your own using this simple no-sew tutorial.
While memorial headbands are a newer concept, they’ll likely catch on, because they are so beautiful and simple. You can easily braid t-shirt fabrics into a gorgeous hair accessory.
Perfect for tying hair back in the summer, you’ll feel your loved one close to you always. Slick and Natty has a tutorial for three ways to make your own headbands from t-shirts on YouTube.
10. Braided bracelet
Similar to headbands, shirts can also be twisted and braided into bracelets. These are a colorful addition to any personal style, and they’re an ever-present reminder of your loved one’s memory around your wrist. An inexpensive (or free) memorial jewelry idea, this is a great choice and easy to create on your own.
More Gift Ideas Made From a Deceased Loved One’s Clothes
Aside from houseware and jewelry, you can also create memorial gifts. These are keepsakes designed to last a lifetime, and they’re great for passing through generations as a reminder of family members passed.
11. Memory bear
A memory bear is a teddy bear created with clothing and sometimes other belongings with sentimental value. They’re typically made in remembrance of a deceased loved one, and they’re intended to be passed through generations.
Not only are these bears adorable and comforting, but they’re a testament to someone’s legacy. There are many providers of memory bears, but one of the most trusted and well-known is Reminkie Bears which has created memorial bears for over 20 years.
12. Book cover
For someone who loves reading, a fabric book cover is a great way to keep your favorite reads safe on the go, especially if your books are stuffed in a backpack, purse, or suitcase. The Driven by Decor blog has a simple no-sew method for using any fabric to make your own book covers.
Alternatively, create a book sleeve. This fabric pocket keeps books safe during travel, and it’s easy to DIY with simple sewing skills. Check out these free sewing patterns from Create and Craft.
13. Christmas ornament
Christmas is a time for remembrance and honoring those you love. A Christmas ornament is easy to make out of any fabric, and you can create a shape that’s meaningful to you and your family.
Turn a favorite shirt or sweater into an initial, star, cross, circle, angel, or Christmas tree shape to make something memorable to hang on the tree every year. Etsy has many memorial crafters who will create these for you using your loved one’s clothing.
For someone always in the kitchen creating something new, an apron makes a wonderful keepsake gift idea.
It’s easy to make your own fabric apron using a deceased loved one’s clothes, and this is an heirloom you’ll want to pass down with your secret family recipes. The Craftsy blog has a simple guide to making a basic apron with any fabric.
Last but not least, potholders are another meaningful yet straightforward memorial gift idea. This is a craft so easy you can do it yourself. Whether these are used daily or only on special occasions, they’re a reminder that those you love are never really gone.
Honor Your Loved One’s Memory with a Keepsake
These memorial gift ideas prove that it’s easy to honor those you love with a bit of creativity. While you’ll likely get rid of some clothes and belongings when a loved one passes, it’s worth holding onto the things that have the most sentimental value to you. Favorite clothing staples can make up a huge part of who someone was and your memory of them.
Honor a deceased loved one’s memory with these gift ideas made from their clothes. If none of these ideas are right for you, there are many other creative ways to hold those you love close. From memorial diamonds to unique urns, there are so many ways to cherish your loved one’s memory no matter where your path takes you.