Sunday, June 24, 2018
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‘Upcycling’ old baby clothes—all for love

Sew in Love repurposes outgrown infant wear, while telling the story of your baby’s development
/ 05:04 AM August 30, 2017

Jacqueline Tan has established a business that tells her clients’ stories. —PHOTOS BY ARNOLD ALMACEN

There are many ways to deal with clothes that babies have outgrown. They can easily be resold, donated, or passed on.

But there will always be one or two pieces from your little one’s stash that are just too precious to let go.

This is the dilemma that Jacqueline Tan, party events planner and mother of two, faced with her eldest daughter Simone.


“I’ve decluttered already but there are just pieces I want to keep but can’t think of anything to do with them,” she said. “Then I saw a photo of a onesie turned into a teddy bear. I tried it on one of my favorite onesies of my daughter. I hand-sewed it based on the pattern I found on the internet. That’s when it hit me to start offering it to other moms.”

Her friends, who loved the idea, soon asked her to do it for them. She sought the help of her mother-in-law, Alma Tan, a capable seamstress, and began the Sew In Love Huggables line.

The creations have expanded to include more animals such as elephants, penguins, horses, owls, dinosaurs and giraffes. They can also make other creatures based on client request.

The menagerie continues to grow. Each huggable is unique because Tan adjusts the design of the products according to the print and material of the fabric they receive.

A frou-frou dress can create a most magical unicorn.

Most huggables look old and worn. It is because Sew in Love is not in the business of repurposing old clothes to make it appear new. They upcycle baby clothes to tell a story.

One such story is that of a friend who sent Tan a welcome blanket of a baby who passed away.

“I never imagined it would extend to parents with babies who have gone already,” said Tan. “My friend wanted to pass that huggable to the siblings as something concrete to make them remember their brother and somehow feel the love through the huggable. From then on, I know there’s a more special purpose to our venture. We not only make huggables for cuddles, we help other parents heal.”


Owl Huggable is made of two fabrics, one from a blanket and another from a onesie.

Tan said that the design dictates the materials that need to be used. A romper can create a small huggable but, for other designs like unicorn, owl, or fox, at least two kinds are recommended for better design.

It takes two weeks, including shipping, to create one huggable. Tan encourages people to send her more than one piece of clothing. Difference in fabric and print can produce a more interesting creation.

The price of each huggable—which depends on the animal chosen and the size—ranges from P400 to P700.

Creativity to share

Jansen Santoyo’s (age 8) artwork on a dress. Tan does the layout for the dress.

Tan said she has expanded the Sew in Love line to include print doodles of young Picassos on clothes. This started because her daughter Simone is a talented painter.

The proud mom wanted to show off her 10-year-old daughter’s artworks without having to carry the canvas. It was an instant hit.

Initially, supportive friends thought she was selling her daughter’s artworks through clothes. They got more interested when they found out that what she wanted was for them to send in their children’s doodles so the kids could wear it. Parents can even go for a matching look if they desire.

The process begins when she receives the doodles. Tan suggests where the best placement for each artwork is. The area where it is typically printed is at the top, bottom, or the entire front panel of the dress or shirt. They use the sublimation method of printing.

Cotton poplin fabric is used on the dresses, which always come with liners because Tan’s mom-in-law insists that children should feel comfortable wearing the clothes.

Prices for the dress range from 1,000 to P1,800 depending on the size of the garment and print.

For inquiries, visit the Facebook page@sewinlovehuggables.

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TAGS: clothes, Upcycling
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