Stylin': Little Grey Line makes custom memories

CorrespondentJune 11, 2014 

To Jessica Johnson Moore’s husband, the old button-down shirts that no longer fit after he lost weight were little more than Goodwill material. But to Moore, the shirts still had value.

“To him, each piece had lost its initial usefulness, but to me they had not lost their memory,” she says. “Though laundered countless times, they still smelled like him. I could close my eyes and picture him in each shirt; the fabric and patterns held significant memories in my mind. I wanted to figure out a way to give them new life.”

So the architect who trained and taught at N.C. State turned her eye for design from buildings to fashion, and repurposed the cast-off shirts into dresses for the couple’s young daughter.

“It was amazing how fast the learning curve was for me once I jumped in and got started,” she says. “I found there were many similarities between the process of making architecture and the process of making garments.”

Pretty soon, Moore’s dresses sparked interest from others and her business, Little Grey Line, was born. Now Moore takes orders via her website,, for custom children’s dresses and tunics fashioned from men’s shirts.

Moore creates garments in one of 17 styles offered on her site, and includes an image of the original shirt on the tag to preserve the memory of the garment’s former life. For many, these orders are a way to remember a loved one or commemorate a special moment.

“One woman who ordered a dress wanted to surprise her husband,” says Moore, recalling a past customer. “His beloved grandfather had recently passed away, and she sent me one of his shirts and I transformed it for their daughter.”

In the past year, Moore’s business has really started to grow, and she’s gotten attention at events such as the recent Redress Eco-Fashion Show and fashionSPARK 2013. Right now, Moore plans to continue her custom services, but she hopes to expand the line in the future.

“I love the custom aspect of Little Grey Line – that each dress is sentimental, in some way, to the person for whom I am making it,” she says. “I always plan to maintain this service, as it is the foundation of Little Grey Line, but I also hope, as my children get a little older and I am able to carve out more time to design and sew, that I will be able to produce stock dresses and get those out into the retail market.”

Bobbi Brown class

Rogelio Reyna, director of artistry and education-Latin America for Bobbi Brown cosmetics, will give individual makeup lessons at Belk Crabtree from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Reyna will share tips and techniques she learned working alongside famed makeup artist Brown backstage at New York Fashion Week. To reserve an appointment, call 919-782-7010.

Vineyard Vines opening

Preppy retailer Vineyard Vines opens its first Triangle location this week in North Hills. The store will celebrate with a grand opening party Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. with live music, food, gifts with purchase and an appearance by brothers Shep and Ian Murray, co-founders and CEOs of the company. Twenty percent of sales during the event will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The new store is at 4350 Lassiter at North Hills Ave., Raleigh; 919-785-9304.

Eyewear trunk show

The latest fashionable frames from l.a. Eyeworks will be at Dr. Ira S. Tucker and Associates for a trunk show Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m. The show also will include frames from the Fiction by l.a. Eyeworks collection, and attendees who arrive before 4 p.m. will be entered to win a gift basket. RSVP is required; to reserve a space, email The practice is at 570 New Waverly Place, Suite 110, Cary; 919-858-7555.

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