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Mom makes dress for daughter using shirt dad wore on day she was born

The sweet, homemade project turned into a full-fledged business.
by Lindsay Lowe / / Source: TODAY
A mom’s sweet homemade dress for her daughter turned into a business.
One mom repurposed her husband's old shirts into baby clothes -- and it inspired an idea for a business.Refashioned Memories

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Carli Grant, a New Hampshire mother of three, started sewing less than a year ago when she was pregnant with her now 4-month old son, Elliot. When her husband, Josh Grant, teased her about how much money she was spending on fabric, she decided to search through their donation pile and repurpose some of his old shirts instead.

“He had so many button-downs," Carli, 25, told TODAY Parents. "Many of them were pink and purple, and I just pictured (our daughter), Amelia, in them."

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
Amelia's pink dress was made from one of her dad's old button-down shirts. Courtesy Carli Grant

So she first created a summery sundress for the 2-year-old using a striped, rose-colored top of Josh's.

"He wore that when we were dating, and I just thought it was adorable," Carli recalled.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
This is the cute pink dress that started it all. Courtesy Carli Grant

She was so thrilled with the cute frock that it inspired her next piece. When she discovered the old, red plaid button-down that Josh wore the day Amelia was born, Carli knew she wanted to transform it into another unique outfit for her daughter.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
Carli Grant says she teared up as she sewed this special dress for Amelia. Refashioned Memories

"He had that shirt he wore when he first held her in the donation pile, and I couldn’t believe it," Carli said. "Like, how could he donate this? So I took that, and that was my next project."

Little did she expect, creating the garment was a touching moment for the mom.

“I was crying as I sewed it, so I knew I had done something way more meaningful than anything I had sewed her before,” Carli said.

Josh was blown away by the beautiful dress — and he realized his wife could be onto something big.

“Once he saw (the dress) and connected the dots, that’s when it clicked,” Carli said. “He was like, ‘You need to do this for other people.’”

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
With her business, Refashioned Memories, Carli Grant transforms old T-shirts into cute tank tops. Refashioned Memories

Soon after, the couple decided to launch Refashioned Memories, a company that transforms people’s special clothing into meaningful momentos.

The business started with Carli creating adorable outfits for babies and older kids, like the dresses she made for Amelia. As word spread about the organization online, Refashioned Memories rolled out other products, including custom pillows and blankets.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
Amelia models the Secret Garden Dress, which retails full price for $60. Refashioned Memories

Customers can send in any type of sentimental fabric — whether it’s a button-down, a sweatshirt or an old sports jersey — and Carli will refashion it into a custom-made keepsake.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
After receiving many requests, Carli started making pillows out of shirts.Refashioned Memories

Husband Josh handles the marketing and the website, while Carli interacts with customers and creates the orders.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
Carli can make these little rompers from any T-shirt or button-down.Refashioned Memories

Carli also now makes bows, pacifier clips and rompers.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
Could this be any more adorable? Refashioned Memories

One of Carli’s favorite things about the business is hearing the stories behind each project. Some people have asked her to create keepsakes to commemorate loved ones who have passed away. Others have requested custom blankets to comfort kids with parents deployed overseas.

And there are countless other sweet family stories.

“I had a really cute one of a stepdaughter making a dress for her to wear at her stepdad’s softball game to cheer him on,” Carli told TODAY Parents.

Mom makes repurposed baby clothes from dad's old shirts.
Carli can make matching bows from any leftover fabric. Refashioned Memories

Right now, Carli is a one-woman band, sewing each order at her home in southern New Hampshire. She’s juggling the new business with a part-time office job, as well as caring for Amelia, Elliot and her 7-year-old stepson, Ryan.

Carli said the work hasn't been "too crazy” so far because she’s doing what she loves.

“I can just bust out these orders because it’s what I do to relax anyway,” she said. “I would set aside time to sew every day even if I didn’t have this website — so now I’m just filling this time with orders instead of (making) a million new clothes for my kids.”

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