September 22, 2018
Arts & Entertainment
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  • Melissa Holman recycles old clothing into keepsakes, making stockings, pillows and quilts.
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    Melissa Holman recycles old clothing into keepsakes, making stockings, pillows and quilts.

“Sweet Melissa” Makes Stiches In Time For Her Customers

Sharon Mager
View Bio
August 21, 2018

Melissa Holman, a registered nurse and stay-at-home mom, has always enjoyed sewing. It has been a hobby since she was a little girl, but a few years ago, after making Christmas stockings out of her children’s old clothing as a keepsake, others began to take notice of her talent.

“Neighbors came by and said, ‘They’re so cute, you should sell those!’” Holman said.

Encouraged, she set up an Etsy account online and folks began ordering custom pillows, stockings and other keepsakes. People send her their old clothes, which she stitches together and returns. She began with stockings and pillows.

“One woman asked if I would consider making a quilt out of baby clothes. I wanted to do a quilt,” she said, but she hadn’t really tried it yet. Holman made a deal with the woman, who was in the military. “I told her to send me the clothes and I would make the quilt for free [knowing it was a first].”

Holman began posting pictures of her finished projects. “From there, it blossomed and people reached out to me,” she said.

People send her baby clothes or favorite items from someone who has passed away — perhaps a grandparent’s favorite shirt. Some just send her clothes of their own that they can’t wear but don’t want to part with. She’s even used pet sweaters.

“When someone has passed, this gives them something comfortable to wrap their arms around,” she said.

She’s also worked with photos. “I recently made some pillows for family members who lost their dog. I printed a photo of their pet and turned it into a pillow for the kids to snuggle with,” she said. Sometimes she uses pictures she prints onto the fabric as blocks on a quilt.

Holman said she learned the basics from her mother and self-taught herself the rest.

“Growing up, my great-grandmother was a seamstress for the Washington Ballet. I’d hang out in her sewing room and pick up needles with a big magnet. When I was 8, my mom was teaching me to make Barbie clothes. I made scrunchies in high school, and in college, I made my nursing scrubs.

“I always had a sewing machine,” she added. “It’s a traditional, off-the-shelf machine with not a lot of bells and whistles.”

Her two children, 5-year-old Jack and 4-year-old Grant, enjoy lending a helping hand with the sewing, pushing the fabric along and doing other little chores.

“They sit on my lap and like to push my foot down like an accelerator on a car,” she said.

Holman and her husband, Bill, have lived in Magothy Beach since 2008. Though she works with customers throughout the United States, she especially enjoys getting local customers. “I enjoy delivering the quilt in person,” she said.

Holman can be contacted at

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