Including a Departed Loved One in a Stitch People Portrait

Many of us have lost loved ones who are dear to us. So, when creating a Stitch People family portrait for your own family or as a gift, what are we to do when faced with these losses? Perhaps you have three children, but one of them passed away within hours of birth and though they are not with you, physically, they still feel very much like a part of the family. Perhaps Grandma recently lost her husband and still feels the sting of his absence. Or maybe the passing of a beloved, trusty dog has left a hole in the family.

Indeed, it would feel wrong to exclude these dear members of the family from a family portrait. But it wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate to fully include them, either. Here are some ideas for you to incorporate their spirit into your Stitch People portrait.


Balloon or Kite

This is a beautiful option – especially for a child who has passed away. A member of the family can hold a balloon or kite that represents the lost child. It can be pink, blue, or the child’s favorite color.



I love flowers and plants because of all that they represent. Life, color, rebirth. This is another wonderful way to commemorate a loved one. A flower can either be held in the hands of someone this loved one was particularly close to, or growing from the “bottom” of the portrait, where their feet would otherwise be standing.



This simple token can be placed next to the deceased’s spouse or parent, as a symbol of the love that is still held for them within the family. Again, this heart can be pink or blue to represent a child’s gender, or a traditional red. Another option is to choose a color significant to the passing, should it have been meaningful to that individual. For example, a red/white/blue heart, or yellow heart for a military passing, or if the loved one passed away from cancer, choose a color for the heart related to their battle with a specific type: teal represents ovarian cancer, pink represents breast cancer, and light blue represents prostate cancer, etc.

Personal Item

Another meaningful way to represent a loved one who has passed is to incorporate an item that might have been meaningful to them. A family member could hold the favorite toy of, or collar of a family dog who has recently passed. Grandma could be stitched along with Grandpa’s favorite golf club or tennis racket in hand. Or a child’s favorite soccer ball could sit reverently at the foot of Mom or Dad.

Accessories such as these can be found on the accessories page of Do-It-Yourself Stitch People.

To download and print these patterns, click here!

Have a wonderful day!


Have you created a portrait and commemorated someone who has passed away? How did you do it? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below!

4 thoughts on “Including a Departed Loved One in a Stitch People Portrait”

  1. Cynthia A. Smith

    I love Stitch People…I am in the process of creating two pieces for my 7 year old granddaughters birthday…one with her and her kitten and another with her other cat who is deceased…I am very excited because I think that she with love it

  2. I’m finally starting to put my family portrait together, and I’m SO HAPPY to have come across this blog…We lost our 14 yr old German Shep in late May, and seeing as how I had her before I had my 12 yr old SON lol, it seemed odd to leave her out. I’ve really been struggling on whether or not to include her, but after seeing this post, I’m DEFINITELY going to represent her somehow… my son & I were talking & I think I’m going to incorporate a light gray pawprint or something. THANK YOU for this thoughtful idea!!

  3. I made a portrait for a rather large family and included 2 grandparents and 2 kids who had passed. I simply put a gold line over their heads like a halo so I could include them without it overwhelming the others.

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