Another Time Bear
Specializing in Teddy Bears created from recycled fur coats
and other keepsake clothing
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October 23. 2008

Fur coats find a second life as huggable collectibles

By Bonnie Russell TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
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Another Time Bears are made by Cindy Wilder. She uses old fur coats and stoles to create the special bears, and even incorporates coat lining and monograms into their accessories. (SUBMITTED PHOTOS BY CINDY WILDER)

WORCESTER —
Cindy Wilder offers those who can’t bear to part with grandma’s fur stole, but don’t know what to do with it, the option of having it made into a teddy bear.

Ms. Wilder of Worcester has created a line of bears that she calls Another Time Bear. She makes the bears from old worn, torn fur coats that she finds at flea markets. The bears are made 100 percent from the coats except for the eyes and nose.

“I started making teddy bears when I was about 8 years old and have been doing them ever since, off and on through the years. I’ve been doing them from the fur coats for about six years. I actually started off with flannel shirts,” Ms. Wilder said.

The first bears that Ms. Wilder crafted as an adult were made for a family in New York in memory of their son, using his flannel shirts for material.

The memory bear idea caught on, and Ms. Wilder crafted 15 bears out of flannel shirts for a woman to give to her children and grandchildren as a memory of their father and grandfather that they could hold in their hands.

“She had pictures of him with different shirts on with each child and grandchild she was giving them to. They received the bear and a picture of themselves with their grandfather wearing the shirt the bear was made from,” Ms. Wilder said.

Someone asked Ms. Wilder to fashion a bear from a stole, and that gave birth to the name of her business, Another Time Bear.

“I created bears from coats from another time. The memories took you back in time, to another time. I guess that is when I named it,” she said.

Speaking of names, Ms. Wilder gives a moniker to each bear she makes to sell at shows, but that is the last step. First, the fur is cut and placed in plastic bags until it is ready to be sewn. While there is some machine stitching involved, most of the sewing is done by hand, she explained.

Once the bear is complete, a tag is attached with its name and a brief history of the fur coat that was used to make it.

Ms. Wilder keeps a running list of names that she gathers from various sources and then applies them to the new bears. This is no small feat, as she makes about 75 bears a year to sell at shows.

“Most of my bears are boys, but every now and then I have a girl. I try to do unusual names,” she said.

“I only name the bears that I sell at shows. When I do orders for people out of their coats, I don’t name them,” she added.

Ms. Wilder takes orders for custom bears from people who provide their own coats. Prices vary depending on the bear, although she describes them as very reasonable.

“I make bears because I enjoy it, not only to make money. The bears have always been a true love of mine. They are timeless. Everyone has a memory of a teddy bear at some point in their life. And you’re never too old for one. I just enjoy the bears and enjoy the smile they bring to the faces of those who purchase them,” she said.

Ms. Wilder said she also likes creating such an individual memory from something that might otherwise just hang in the back of a closet.

“The stole, for example, will sit for years in the back of a closet. It was Grandma’s and you just can’t part with it. But once a person is ready to make it into a teddy bear, it is such a wonderful keepsake. It’s great when there is a monogram or initials on the lining. I incorporate that into the tie on the bear. And the pockets … well those are the pads on the feet. Sometimes they are made from velvet, some are actually leather, but the majority are either felt or the same satin as the lining. And if you’re lucky enough to get a button still on the coat, it goes on the tie.”

For more information, call Ms. Wilder at (508) 853-8336.


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