From Memory to Heirloom

What is Commemorative Repurposing?

Color-block dress made from t-shirts.

I had a number of t-shirts from events that I volunteered at, 5Ks, etc. But I don’t wear t-shirts. So I cut a number of them up and created this dress. I used less than 30% of my t-shirt “stash” so I’m sure there are other garments waiting to be made!

Commemorative repurposing is creating an heirloom from an object that holds emotional value. I take garments or other objects from life’s rites-of passage and create a legacy piece (or multiple pieces) that has emotional poignancy.

Think of the memorabilia surrounding a Christening, first day of school, extracurricular activities, graduation, weddings, first grandchild, etc. They’re sitting in a box. Let’s take them out and create something for another rite-of-passage or even everyday use.

Create an heirloom!

For example:

  • A mother’s wedding dress could be incorporated into her daughter’s wedding dress or become a satchel, garter belt or other item for the bride. Multiple satchels can be made from one dress for multiple daughters. Wedding dresses have so much poignant possibility: Christening outfit, skirt for a bassinet, part of a renewal-vows outfit. There is so much potential!
  • Ornaments from life passages (baby’s first tooth, haircut, etc, or a grad’s school memorabilia, or newlywed’s items, etc).
  • Jewelry made from the beading on a prom or wedding gown.
  • Mothers’ quilts from baby blankets, first outfits, etc. (similar to mothers’ rings)

Let’s capture priceless memories and create a legacy with your special outfit!

Let’s take a new look at that stored outfit and imagine how we can incorporate it into future memories.

(Images are repurposed items, but not necessarily from commemorative outfits.)

Black lace top

The original short, lace sleeves from this top were used on the t-shirt dress. This neckline was lowered, and lace was added, as well as long sleeves from yet another t-shirt!


Navy Cardigan Dress

This was originally a navy cardigan and fabric that I had from another project. I changed out the sleeves, removed a collar, added binding on the neckline, and added the ruffle skirt.

Royal blue top with white lace

Originally a blue cardigan, I added lace (and a white panel on the back), as well as taking the welt pockets to lengthen the sleeves. I love buttons, so they’re often a design detail.