Back when I was a performer, we had a guard mom who was also a seamstress. And while altering uniforms, applying sequins and spangles (yes, it was that long ago) and mending flags, she had a great idea – create miniature versions of our show uniforms, put them on adorable teddy bears and sell them to parents to give as gifts to their kids.
It grew into a yearly tradition that my mom continued once the original parent’s daughter graduated, and the collection of bears I had by the end of my senior year (one for each fall and winter season) were some of my most treasured guard possessions.
When I returned to the activity last year as a director, I knew I HAD to figure out how to do the same thing for my own performers. But with my limited sewing abilities (and I mean limited, I have to get the manual out every time my sewing machine makes an appearance) I was worried I wouldn’t have time to make 12 of them. So I decided to just make them for my three Seniors and give them as gifts on Senior Night.
Initially, I tried to find patterns for bear or doll clothing that would fit the size bears I found at my local craft store, but to no avail.
So I moved on to Plan B, find a shirt and pants already made, take them apart and use them as my pattern. The shirt was easy enough to find, but I couldn’t find the pants anywhere. So I made my own pattern, by laying the bear down on a piece of paper and tracing around the legs, leaving a huge seam allowance in case they didn’t fit the first time. And after some trial and error, it worked! I opted to leave the sleeves off the top to make the sewing easier, and it took trips to several fabric stores to find the right colors, but I was able to make three, miniature fall show uniform clad bears in only a few hours!
My Bear Uniforms!
And at our first ever Senior Night Reception, they were a huge hit! My Seniors and the rest of the girls (not to mention band students and parents) loved them. The girls even carried them when they were announced and walked the field with their parents that night at the football game.
I’ve decided to leave them as a “seniors only” tradition for now, and continue to make them myself. It think it means much more to them that I made them myself for each of them as an appreciation of the years, time, and dedication they’ve put into the group. Even though I made these myself, anyone with a slightly craft parent, friend, or family member could ask them to do the sewing and just provide the fabric and bears.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Julie Baldwin resides in Tipp City, Ohio with her two children (one of whom is a Freshman in her guard) and spends her days as a high school English teacher. After sending an email volunteering to chaperone or help collect paperwork, fate intervened and she became the color guard director at Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City, Ohio, in 2009. After a 15 year absence from the activity, one of the best parts of that first season was discovering the Color Guard Educators site.