When Carli Grant was pregnant with her second child, the eager mom just couldn’t help but stock up on baby clothes. But when she found herself spending a little too much, she decided to begin making the clothes herself.
With a new sewing machine and a stack of old clothes nearby, Grant, 25, started crafting outfits for the new baby, Elliot, now 4 months, and her 2-year-old daughter, Amelia. One day, she spotted her husband Josh Grant’s old black and red flannel shirt — the one he wore the day Amelia was born — and decided to turn the top into a dress.
“I made that dress and she was obsessed with it. She chooses it all the time to wear,” Grant says of the “memory dress” she created. “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 her up and he held her and told her how pretty she looked.”
Impressed by his wife’s skills, Josh suggested turning the sweet gesture into a business — “He just wanted to make it for everyone possible,” she says. Josh took photos of Amelia in the memory dress and posted them online. The pictures quickly made their way across the internet and, before the couple knew it, people began reaching out to Grant to make memory clothes for them.
“People loved it — people loved the idea!” she tells PEOPLE. “While I was making it, 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 his clothes. It was so cute!”
The couple created a website and launched Refashioned Memories. Now, Grant says she gets at least three custom orders for memory clothes each day.
“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,” she says, noting that she never expected the simple dress to lead to the business. “I just love making my kids clothes, I was sewing for Elliot before he was born.”
She makes dresses, blankets, pillows and more, Grant tells PEOPLE. She’s even started offering baby rompers.
The mom of two says she’s enjoyed hearing the stories of families who request her services. Some have clothing from lost loved ones, relatives in the army, and simply old items they wish to keep.
Grant says that although Amelia doesn’t quite understand the story behind her new duds, she absolutely adores the dress.
“She keeps calling herself cute. I have a section of her closet of clothes I have made for her, and she runs for that. She loves to wear the clothes I made her, which makes me feel good. She calls herself a princess when she picks out a dress for herself. She just likes to wear dresses now.”