Utah woman makes dresses for her daughters out of husband's old shirts

“The creative challenge is such an outlet for me and makes me really happy.”

— -- This man’s trash is his wife’s treasure.

Stephanie Miller of Salt Lake City makes beautiful dresses for her daughters out of her husband’s old shirts.

She was inspired to repurpose the shirts after her husband, Jon Miller, was discarding one that shrank in the laundry.

Once she was done making the first dress, Miller said her daughter absolutely loved it which inspired her continue with the clever hobby.

“I think she wore it for three days straight,” the proud mom recalled of her 3-year-old daughter. “My girls really love them. I let them pick which shirt they want and then I make a style out of them. I invent the patterns myself. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make an outfit out of such limited resources. It challenges my creativity.”

“It totally got me out of a slump,” she said. “Just having an outlet besides being a mom I think is so important. It’s so important for us to have hobbies and dreams and aspirations outside of our children. It’s important for them to see their parents follow their dreams because it gives them liberty to follow their own dreams. It also lets them know they’re not the center of the universe.”

Miller said after the birth of her first son she was battling postpartum depression as she was transitioning to “mom life” from previously being an artist and teacher. Her husband is the one who bought her the sewing machine to use as a creative outlet she could use in the small space.

“All of a sudden I was home all the time and I wasn’t making art anymore,” she said. “We lived in this little basement apartment with no ventilation and the oil paint wasn’t good for the baby and I had this loss of identity. He bought this $50 sewing machine from Walmart and now it’s my main hobby. I paint still but not as often as I sew. He’s happy that I’m happy doing it and likes that things are getting repurposed.”

Miller said it’s important for parents to have something outside of just raising their children “to pull energy from and feel accomplished.”

“I just enjoy creating. I enjoy making them,” she said of her daughter’s dresses. “The creative challenge is such an outlet for me and makes me really happy.”