Petite Marin Turns Daddy's Old Shirts into Children's Fashions

September 21, 2015

Petite MarinPetite Marin is a new local mom-run business that creates children's apparel with a unique twist—they upcycle dad's old clothing to create new eco-friendly childrenswear, keeping old clothes out of the landfill and creating a precious keepsake, too. Send Petite Marin a cherished dress shirt and they will turn it into a child's romper or dress and matching cap or bonnet for sizes 6 months to 2T. All garments are handcrafted here in a California. This November they'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign and taking pre-orders for their unique sustainable children's fashions.

Marin Mommies asked Petite Marin founders Melina and Rachel a few questions about the business and their products and what they love about living in Marin. Learn more about Petite Marin at

Q: Please tell us about you and your background

A: I lived in Mill Valley as a child and attended Old Mill Elementary. I thought it was such a great place to raise a family and always wanted to return with my own children. I moved back shortly before my older daughter started kindergarten and met Rachel when our daughters were in the same class. They became close friends and so did we! Rachel moved here several years ago from the East Coast with her children and husband, an avid biker, who was thrilled to live within biking distance of his job in SF.

Petite MarinQ: What is the story behind Petite Marin? How did you come up with the idea?

A: When Rachel was pregnant with her third child, she made a romper from one of her husband's dress shirts after seeing it in the donation pile. The shirt had a small tear in it, making it unwearable, but the majority of the fabric was still usable. She loved the fact that she was able to salvage the fabric from being wasted (and ending up in a landfill) and that she now had a sweet, one of a kind outfit for her baby. Soon after, Rachel made a dress for my daughter from a shirt that belonged to my husband. I already had a small business selling handmade baby bonnets and dresses and I shared some of my patterns with her. We were smitten with the concept of using dress shirts for children's clothing, so when other friends started asking for pieces of their own, we decided to start Petite Marin together.

Q: What makes your product special?

A: Petite Marin is a unique children's clothing line, offering customers the opportunity to send in a cherished dress shirt to be made into a custom, adorable outfit for their special little one. Our clothes combine cherished memories and baby playfulness all in one outfit. Petite Marin is also a sustainable clothing line. By using dress shirts as our material, we are using fabric that is already in existence, thereby reducing landfill waste and the environmental toll of producing new fabric.

Petite MarinQ: What inspires you and the work you do?

A: We're inspired by children and want future generations to be able to grow and enjoy our world like we do today. Aware that our modern, disposable society is not a model we wish to continue, we are proud that our children's clothing line is made from upcycled garments and reclaimed textiles. We don't want to contribute to the increasing amount of textile waste that is being created and ending up in landfills. Also, current fast-fashion garment manufacturing operations are not something we support. We are proud to work with a small, family-run sew shop in California, where all of are clothes are handmade and workers are paid fair wages.

Q: What do you like best about living and working in Marin?

A: Marin County is such an amazing place. We are continually inspired by our beautiful surroundings and great family-focused community. We love hiking to Stinson, frequenting the farmer's markets and enjoying the temperate climate all year round (Rachel is from Massachusetts and gleefully left her snow shovel behind).

Q: What do you and your families do for fun in the Bay Area?

A: As moms with young children, we are always on the go! We love to load up our cars with bikes, scooters and strollers and take our kids to Blackie's Pasture, where everyone can get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful views. Another favorite spot is Schoonmaker Beach, which is always a fun place to picnic, paddleboard and splash in the water. Rachel also loves to bring her kids to Berkeley and Oakland (her former stomping grounds) for great Thai food and fun parks.

Photos courtesy Petite Marin