Items made from old uniforms to benefit band program


The last thing Richard Branaman wanted to see was the old Brownstown Central High School Band of Braves uniforms being hauled off to a landfill.

With support from the community, the band received new uniforms last year. Several people then asked about having an old uniform since they were no longer being worn.

Branaman proposed turning them into unique handmade keepsakes, including blankets, teddy bears and pillows.

“I received my inspiration from a flier I received from an outside company offering to make pillows out of the old uniforms,” he said. “I thought, ‘This could be a solution to my ‘What am I going to do with the old band uniforms?’ problem.'”

The band boosters initially had reservations about the process, cost and interest in the project.

They, however, changed their tune when Branaman learned a BCHS graduate, Veronica Sons, made those types of items.

“We thought it would be ideal if we could find someone local who would have a personal connection to the project,” he said.

“It was dumb luck that I discovered Veronica,” he said. “Her mother, Kim Schneider, and I were talking when I received word that I was going to have to find a new storage space for the old uniforms. I mentioned the pillow idea to Kim, and she said, ‘You should call my daughter, Veronica. She does all kinds of creative sewing projects.'”

Branaman set up a meeting with Sons, and the project took off.

“She had all these ideas,” Branaman said. “I gave her all of the uniform parts she could carry to get started making some samples, which brings us to today.”

In the past month, the boosters have drummed up business to keep Sons busy. She went from two orders to six after a flier was shared on the Brownstown Band Boosters Facebook page by Susan Raisor.

“I was just making them as I went, but then after (Raisor) placed the second order, I went ahead and started cutting them out so they are prepped, so once somebody orders them, all I’ve got to do is sew it because I’ve got them all prepped and cut out,” Sons said.

Sons first made a quilt and then some teddy bears.

“I did the quilt first because I wanted to see how many pieces I could use, but then I started with the teddy bears,” she said. “They don’t take much material, but they are more fun to play with. It’s kind of like you’re making a teddy bear and dressing it.”

The throw blanket, which is 40-by-50 inches, takes the most time to make.

There are two types of teddy bears, available in 10 or 17 inches tall, and three styles of pillows, two that are 17-by-17 inches and one that is 12-by-14 inches. The bears both have BC logos on them, while the pillow styles are Braves, arrow and teepee.

“It’s just fun,” Sons said of making the items. “You get so many different creativities. The more I make them, it’s just like you get all of these more ideas. The one pillow that’s so popular, we’re already making a second idea for it because it’s already almost sold out.”

Sons is honored to be a part of the project because proceeds benefit a program at her alma mater. Plus, she gets to use a skill she learned in third grade.

“I had started sewing when I was in third grade for 4-H. I started making clothing. For 4-H, you would model it and all of that fun stuff,” she said, noting she attended the 4-H sewing workshops and also learned from her great-aunt.

Later on, she worked at a bridal store doing alterations. Even though she now works full time at The Peoples Bank, she does alterations on the side.

She started making teddy bears out of clothing when someone asked her if she could do that with baby clothes. Then she added quilts and pillows.

That worked out perfectly when Branaman asked her to help with the band fundraiser.

“I was excited right away because for one, I like doing the little things, like making the teddy bears. Little things like that are fun,” she said. “It’s just little side money. I work full time, and this is just my relaxing after work. It gives me a hobby to do.”

The items are great for current and former band members and anyone else who supports Brownstown, as they are all in school colors — red, black and white — and include logos.

“We thought some might like a keepsake item and others might just like something to show support for Brownstown,” Raisor said.

An order form can be obtained from a current band member, on the Brownstown Band Boosters Facebook page or by contacting Raisor at 812-896-2069 or [email protected].

Branaman said the fundraiser provides several benefits for the band.

“First off, it will eventually free up storage space,” he said. “Next, It provides us with a way of being good stewards with property and equipment that past generations have worked hard to earn. It is good for the environment because it will not end up in a landfill somewhere. It offers a keepsake to the Brownstown Central alumni as well as our community.”

When the band and the band boosters started a new uniform drive, they started from scratch, and there had never been any money put aside for the day that the old uniforms would have to be replaced. Now, there is such a fund, Branaman said.

“All of the proceeds from the sale of these items will go into that account, drawing interest until the next band director has a need to replace his uniforms,” he said.

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The Brownstown Central Band Boosters fundraiser involves selling unique handmade keepsakes sewn from old band uniforms.

A 40-by-50-inch throw blanket is $60, two styles of 17-inch-tall teddy bears are $35 apiece, two styles of 10-inch-tall teddy bears are $30 apiece, two styles of 17-by-17-inch pillows are $35 apiece and a 12-by-14-inch pillow is $30.

An order form can be obtained from a current band member, on the Brownstown Band Boosters Facebook page or by contacting Susan Raisor at 812-896-2069 or [email protected].

Completed forms and payment (cash or check) may be given to any current band member or mailed to 500 N. Elm St., Brownstown, IN 47220. If paying with PayPal (, text or email a copy of the completed order form to Raisor. Checks should be made payable to Brownstown Central Band Boosters.

Delivery will take approximately two weeks.


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