Believe it or not, one mom’s viral hobby started with a simple shirt.
One day last spring, Stephanie Miller caught her husband as he was throwing away a shirt she’d bought him last Christmas.
“I was frustrated at him for wanting to get rid of something so new, but it had shrunk,” Miller told HuffPost. “I kept it and a few of his other shirts in hopes of making something out of them.” (Find out why your clothes shrink in the wash and how to avoid it.)
A few hours later, she emerged with a little blue gingham dress. It was instantly a hit with her daughter, who insisted on wearing it for days and sleeping in it, too.
Now, that dress has sparked a social media storm—and elevated this crafty mom to Internet fame. Miller shares before-and-after photos of her designs on her Instagram, all of which use her husband’s old shirts.
I love the look of rompers but we've had too many accidents standing in front of the toilet because the romper couldn't come off fast enough…and that is why I made her a shirt and short combo instead. I used the original bottom hem of the dress shirt to make the bottom of the shorts and added pockets on this one. I love this look but it wasn't a hit for her and she didn't want to wear it past the pictures, I guess you win some and loose some. 🤷♀️
“The part that’s really fun for me is the limitation of only using the shirt to make the outfits work,” Miller told TODAY Style.
Plus, her dresses might not actually be as hard to make as they look, since Miller reuses the hems and buttons already on the shirts. As for total crafting time? One dress takes about two hours, Miller says. (You can also knock out these cute crafts in just an afternoon.)
But this hobby is more than just a budget and eco-friendly pastime. When Miller gave birth to her first child nearly six years ago, she put aside her passion for painting and dove right into the hectic life of motherhood. It turned out to be a tough transition.
“My whole life was changing,” Miller said. “So to stop painting… it felt like a loss of identity.”
I really love this dress!! This is my favorite dress I've made in a long time. I've been wanting to try out this sleeve and I'm so happy with how it turned out. #bellsleeves #whitedress #wedding #flowergirl #transformation #refashion #remake #mensshirt #girlsdress #sew #sewing #sewingproject #nopattern #inventive #create #mothermakes
But with help from her husband (who surprised her with a $50 sewing machine from Walmart) and craft donations from friends and neighbors, Miller found a new outlet for her creativity. She’s self-taught via YouTube videos and has made everything from stuffed animals and clothes from patterns. Still, these unique designs take the cake.
Another refashion from one of @letsbuyutah's shirts. I let her pick out the shirt she wanted and I think this romper turned out so cute. This was my first time making shorts and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. #littleromper #littleromperbabes #sew #refashion #transform #transformation #diy #red #sewing #sewingproject #diy #mothermakes #newoutfit #mensdressshirttogirlsdress #mensshirt #mensdressshirts #daddysshirt
“I think its important for parents to have an outlet, and to be creative in their own life… and to have things that interest you outside of your own children,” Miller said. “Our kids are so important, but we also need to take care of ourselves sometimes.”
Talk about #momgoals. Catch more of Miller’s designs below, and don’t miss the best advice for moms of all ages.
I have a little tutorial coming of how to make this dress yourself. It is so easy and so cute. Also, I love having these two girls only 12moths apart. They are such great friends and I'm excited to see their friendship grow as they get older. #sewing #sew #diy #diysew #dyisewing #mothermakes #refashion #sewfun #mensshirt #beforeandafter #beforeandafter #doityourself #crafts #quicksew #quicksewingproject
My baby woke up early this morning so I sewed in the early morning hours. She was a good sport letting me try on the dress (only 2 time😂) to cut and fit the sleeves. Once I made her a dress two years ago and kept fitting it on her to adjust the dress, by the time I was done she wouldn't wear it. I decided to not make my kids clothes at that point. Now they ask me to make them dresses and never want to take them off. It is much more rewarding. This shirt was her daddy's shirt that shrunk, @letsbuyutah. #sew #refashion #refashioned #refashionista #sewing #sewingproject #diy #beforeandafter #mothermakes #oldshirt #newdress #dresses #littlegirl #littlegirldress #onehour #onehourprojets #quickneasy #sewforfun #sewfun
I wanted to show you this dramatic transformation of what these dresses started as and what they became. I love how much the color enhanced the look of these dresses. #mensdressshirttogirlsdress #beforeandafter #transform #transformation #sew #dyeclothes #dye #whitetoblue #whitetopink #diy #littlegirldress #mothermakes #girlsdress #newdress
I've loved making dresses for my little girls out of men's shirts because it is pretty fast and the transformation is always drastic. I tried so hard to keep my kids clean all day to preserve their dresses but she some how found nail polish and spotted her dress in blue the last hour of the wedding reception. I tried everything to get the spots out without success so now I'm thinking of tie-dying this dress blue. White is such a hard color for kids. #sewingproject #nopattern #transformation #repurpose #whitedress #flowergirl #littlegirl #littlegirldress #sew #sewing #weddingdress