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Cut Loose lead seamstress Anita Stech knows that tying a bib around a senior's neck is a demoralizing, but necessary act.

For the final years of her father's life, she stepped back from wrapping a bib around his neck before meals. The cloth drape was a tough reminder of her once-capable dad's now-limited life.

Years later, she found a way to restore the dignity.

With the help of scissors and stitching, Stech and her team of Cut Loose seamstresses transform gently used shirts into adult cover ups, skirts, bags and other clothing.

No two items are the same. And best of all, the new cover ups and clothing pieces are made with reused materials, causing virtually no harm to the environment.

Caregivers who worked in care facilities and with clients who have disabilities recognized their value instantly. One nursing home bought them for residents in their memory care unit. A family friend bought a cover-up for her young neighbor with cerebral palsy. A woman whose brother recently suffered a stroke bought one for him to wear throughout his recovery.

Other buyers have praised the cover-ups as the perfect, practical gift for their older friends.

The cover-ups are designed to be practical – they're reversible, lined and able to withstand industrial dryers – but the real value derives from being able to provide a sense of dignity for the wearer.

Before unveiling the first cover up samples, Stech knew to try them out on her 101-year-old Aunt Gertie, who knew that the entrepreneurial spirit ran throughout the family. Gertie had helped Stech's mother run a millinery shop in Duluth in the 1950s, making her mom one of the city's first female business owners.

In Gertie's simple assisted living apartment, Stech stood back to watch her aunt look down at the bib’s flowery pattern and smile.

Much better, she thought. Much better.

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Sewing first for herself and then her three daughters, Anita Stech has outfitted her family with every type of clothing. She comes from a family of seamstresses – her grandmothers and aunts sewed for their families and professionally.

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