Comfort Objects

Comfort+Objects

Many people have personal objects that bring them comfort, ranging from a childhood stuffed animal or blanket to a book or piece of jewelry. Inanimate objects have the power to bring people comfort. Items of significance or items that belonged to people significant to us can make us feel safe, comforted, and happy. They can also remind us of the occasion or person that made the connection between the object and ourselves possible. Lots of children have an object that they use to find comfort in, and although they often outgrow that need for the object, the object still holds importance to them in some way. 

Having a comfort object is beneficial for many people, not only children. They can serve as something to help people through hard times and grief, something that reminds people of past experiences, and much more. Some people think that keeping a stuffed animal or other comfort objects is abnormal and doesn’t have the capability of helping people, but the adults that have comfort objects are proof that this assumption is false. 

Many people wonder what they should do once their comfort object begins to deteriorate. They are often confronted by the fear that they may have to throw away their object because it can no longer withstand frequent use. Tina Rhodes became a viral sensation after she started creating videos of her restoring people’s comfort stuffed animals and blankets. People send her their damaged objects in the mail, she then creates a restoration plan, cleans them, completes the necessary repairs, then she sends them back to their owner looking as new and clean as possible. The outcome can be very meaningful and beneficial to the comfort object’s owners. 

Attempting to Restore a Comfort Object: 

This is the blanket I am going to repair, it is my little sister’s baby blanket. 

    … 

I start off by assessing the damage: there is one large tear, and multiple holes ranging in size. The tears and holes are also accompanied by some stains from multiple years of use. Because the blanket is quite old, the fabric has become thin and fragile, so I must be very gentle with it. 

    … 

After doing a quick assessment, I am ready to begin the cleaning and repair process. 

 1.) Cleaning The Blanket:

  • The blanket has some small, deep stains that require spot treatment. For these stains, I am going to be using ‘SPRAY ‘n WASH’, a stain remover that works on dried-in stains. 
  • After applying the ‘SPRAY ‘n WASH’ and letting it sit for about 5 minutes, I put the blanket in the washing machine. I make sure not to use bleach because the fabric is too fragile. I also put the washing machine on the low spin, low soil, cold water quick wash setting to avoid causing more damage.  
  • After the blanket has been fully washed, I put it in the dryer on low heat until it is completely dry. 

           

 2.) Removing The Old Stuffing and Putting New Stuffing In: 

  • **This step is optional**
  • I did not do this step because although the stuffing was old, it was still in semi-good condition
  • If you were to replace the stuffing you would have to; partially remove a seam making a hole big enough to remove the stuffing, remove the old stuffing, re-stuff the object until it is at your desired fullness/fluffiness, and finally close up the hole.

  3.) Repairing Any Tears, Holes, or Rips: 

  • The repair process depends on the type of damage done to the object. 
  • To repair the large tear present on the blanket I used a technique called the invisible stitch. This type of stitching allowed me to hand sew the tear without the tread showing or any frayed ends sticking out. 
  • Here is a link to a youtube video explaining how to do the invisible stitch: 

  • To repair the larger holes I had to use patches. To apply the patches I cut out a small piece of scrap fabric, then I used the invisible stitch technique to attach the piece of fabric. 

  • For the smaller holes all I had to do was take a small amount of thread and stitch them shut. 

4.) Add The Finishing Touches:

  • Depending on what you’re repairing there are many different finishing touches you could apply, including; replacing buttons, replacing plastic eyes/noses (on stuffed animals), ironing it to make it look more presentable, etc.
  • As a finishing touch, I ironed the blanket to make it look good as new
  • Then I gave it back to my little sister…

citations:

  • Hanson, K. (2021, April 3). Woman gives new life to old stuffed animals in viral videos. TODAY.Com.https://www.today.com/parents/woman-gives-new-life-old-stuffed-animals-viral-videos-t213697
  • Moore, L. (2018, December 20). ‘My Best Source of Comfort’: Adults With Stuffed Animals Describe All the Feels. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/reader-center/adults-with-stuffed-animals.html