A Mom Made A Dress For Her Daughter, But When This Dad Saw The Outfit He Was Overcome With Emotion

In 2017, Carli Grant was a mom of two kids, with a third on the way. It was around this time that she started learning to sew. Putting her new-found skills to use, her husband, Josh, gave her the idea to up-cycle old clothes into outfits for their kids. But when he saw what she had made, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

Times can be tough when you’re a young mom with small kids to feed and clothe. Carli already had a stepson, Ryan, and her own daughter, Amelia, to think about. And with a baby on the way, she began to think about outfits for the newborn’s wardrobe.

Noticing that perhaps too much money had been spent on baby clothes already, Carli decided to take a different approach. She started to learn how to sew, with the idea that she would make the baby’s clothes herself. As frugal a plan as it was, her husband noticed something that the young mom hadn’t realized.

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When Josh began joking with Carli about how much money she had spent on fabric, the expectant mom’s focus changed. In fact she decided to have a rummage through the pile of clothes that were intended for the thrift store. Was there anything she could repurpose? With enough practice behind her, she was confident she could put their old clothes to good use.

In the pile, Carli found a rose-colored, striped top that her husband no longer wanted. The 25-year-old seamstress recognized it immediately. As she recalled to the Today show in August 2018, “[Josh] wore that when we were dating. I just thought it was adorable.” And she thought it would be a cute addition to two-year-old Amelia’s wardrobe.

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So Carli used the skills she had taught herself and got sewing. What she produced was a cute pink sun dress that Amelia did indeed looked adorable wearing. It inspired the mom-of-three to continue with her up-cycling. Indeed, the next shirt of her husband’s that she transformed held an extra-special significance.

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When Carli looked through the pile of garments ready for the charity shop, she noticed a shirt she would never forget. In fact, the seamstress could scarcely believe that her husband wanted to give it away. Whatever Josh wished to do with the shirt, however, it wasn’t one that the mom-of-three was ready to part with yet.

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The shirt in question was red and black plaid, with a button-down collar. Carli immediately knew it was the one her husband had worn on the day their daughter was born. She told Today, “He had that shirt he wore when he first held [Amelia] in the donation pile. I couldn’t believe it. Like, how could he donate this? So I took [it], and that was my next project.”

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What the young mom hadn’t realized was just how much the project would mean to her. Indeed, she was overcome with emotion as she worked on it. As Carli recalled, “I was crying as I sewed it, so I knew I had done something way more meaningful than anything I had [made my daughter] before.”

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And as it turns out, Amelia loved the dress. As Carli explained to People magazine in August 2018, “I made that dress and she was obsessed with it. She chooses [to wear it] all the time. But there was somebody else who was just as impressed with the busy mom’s needlework skills. When Josh saw what his wife had done, his mind was blown.

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As Carli recalled, “When Josh came home I said, ‘Do you recognize this?’ When he realized, his eyes just got huge. He was like, ‘That is adorable!’ He picked [Amelia] up and he held her and told her how pretty she looked.” It got him to thinking about ways his wife could utilize her new-found talent.

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It occurred to Josh that people own items of clothing that hold a certain sentimental value. And yet when those garments have passed their best, they can be difficult to let go of. But as Carli explained to Today, “Once he saw [the dress] and connected the dots, that’s when it clicked. He was like, ‘You need to do this for other people.’”

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Josh came up with the idea to start a new venture. He was impressed not only his wife’s sewing ability, but also with the creativity of turning old clothes into something new. Indeed, he even suggested that Carli start a business providing a service doing just that. “He just wanted to make it possible for everyone,” Carli explained to People magazine.

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Together, Carli and Josh founded Refashioned Memories. The idea was to modify clothing that holds sentimental value into purposeful keepsakes. Instead of tossing out unwanted garments, new life could be breathed into them. That way, the special memories they signify would live on for longer.

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Josh posted photos of his daughter wearing her special dress online. With the images liked and shared across the internet, it wasn’t long before people started contacting the couple with requests for their own repurposed keepsakes. It was an exciting proposition for the young mom-of-three.

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“People loved the idea,” Carli recalled to People magazine. “While I was making [Amelia’s dress] I had so much glee. To see it on her when I had finally finished, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t stop smiling. To see her in it, I wanted to make her whole wardrobe out of [my husband’s] clothes. It was so cute!”

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At first Carli would create outfits for infants and young children, similar to the dresses the seamstress knocked up for her own daughter. But soon she began offering tank tops, boys’ shirts and accessories such as bows, blankets, pillow cases and pacifier clips. The talented seamstress even designed a baby romper out of a t-shirt.

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Carli was quickly inundated with orders. She told People magazine, “It was back-to-back emails. Like, ‘I love this idea! Could you make this for me?’ It’s insane the amount of custom orders.” But more than the interest she has received in her new business, Carli loves to hear the tales behind the clothes she refashions.

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“The stories pull on your heartstrings every time,” Carli explained to Yahoo! in August 2018. “An uncle who has passed and using his work shirt; a dad who’s in the military and his four-year-old daughter snuggles his shirt every night; a stepdad’s sports jersey to cheer him on the sidelines. The stories are my favorite part of this whole business.”

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Carli works on the clothing at home in New Hampshire, while juggling Amelia, Ryan and Elliot, who’s now four months old, with a part-time office job. Nonetheless, she loves it. She told Today, “I can just bust out these orders because it’s what I do to relax anyway. [And] I would set time aside to sew every day even if I didn’t have the 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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