When art teacher Stephanie Miller became a mother, she lost touch with her creative side.
“We were living in a one-bedroom apartment with little space for me to set up my paintings, the oil paints have unhealthy fumes, and it took me too long to set up my paints with a baby to care for,” she told HuffPost. “I was suffering with postpartum depression, and with the lifestyle shock of motherhood, I felt a loss of identity.”
However, she rediscovered her passion for art with the help of a sewing machine ― and found internet fame after turning her husband’s shirts into adorable dresses for her daughters.
Miller has two daughters, ages 3 and 4, as well as 5-year-old and 5-month-old sons. She graduated from BYU with a degree and teaching certificate in fine arts and taught drawing and painting classes, but after giving birth to her first child, she no longer felt fulfilled by her art.
Her husband, Jon, bought her a sewing machine from Walmart to help her find a new creative outlet, and she soon started making stuffed animals. “I was hooked! Sewing helped break my postpartum and honestly made me happy,” said Miller. With the help of YouTube tutorials, she learned to make dresses.
Recently, she started focusing her sewing work on refashioning. “Three months ago, my husband was getting rid of clothes and on top of the pile was a shirt I had just given him for Christmas,” she explained. “I was frustrated at him for wanting to get rid of something so new, but it had shrunk. I kept it and a few of his other shirts in hopes of making something out of them. I follow some other seamstresses on Instagram and saw some of their refashions and thought, ‘I could try that.’”
Miller’s first attempt was a success, and she has since made adorable clothes for herself and her daughters. The mom said her girls love the dresses she makes out of their dad’s shirts. “My 3-year-old calls the dresses I make her ‘Elsa dresses’ and wears hers every week,” she said. “When I’m doing laundry my little girls will pick up their daddy’s shirts and make requests for dresses.”
Miller, who grew up in a family with little money to spare, said her childhood helped inspire her repurposing. “My mom is very creative and taught me to work with what I had,” she said. “The last few years, as I started to get better at sewing, I wanted to make some of the expensive styles I couldn’t afford. And now I love making clothes that are one of a kind; I…