Each year, that pile of sports jerseys grows inside the homes of many active families. With last names usually monogrammed on the back, what is one to do with this growing mountain of sports apparel?
One inventive Edina mom, Amy Murphy, took this problem into her own hands, literally. “All of these beautiful hockey jerseys, what was I supposed to do with them?” Murphy says, “I thought about making quilts out of them, but there was a glaring problem. I didn’t know how to sew!”
Not knowing how to sew didn’t stop Murphy. She enrolled in classes at the Linden Tree, a specialty fabric store in Minneapolis, and began making pillows. “I made pillows out of hockey jerseys and soccer ball pillows out of soccer jerseys. Pretty soon I ran out of places to put pillows,” Murphy says.
That’s when she noticed her children and their friends all carrying around string bags, and her next project was born. “I taught myself how to make the string bags using jerseys, adding the personalization of the child’s name centered on the back of the bag,” Murphy says.
“I tested them on my daughter’s hockey team during a tournament. We hung them in the locker room, and I was so surprised at how much the girls loved them!” says Murphy. “They loved having their jerseys as bags. I had no idea they would be such a hit. I was just trying to do something with all that sports apparel.”
Word of mouth began to spread, and Murphy found herself being commissioned to create more bags.
“My daughter loves her bag,” says Bonnie McGrath of Edina. “She uses it when we travel, at the pool, really anytime.”
“Love the jersey bag,” says Cindy Voss, also of Edina. “My daughter uses it for just about everything, including using it for her hammock. It is very versatile, sporty and stylish.”
Murphy, buoyed by the reaction, broadened her scope and had original Edina-branded material created to line the bags. “That way, the bags could be uniquely mine,” says Murphy.
She found a woman to create the unique fabric, which then led Murphy to other creations. She’s begun to make Edina-branded scarves, purses, key chains and tote bags. “My hope is to expand this to not only Edina, but to make fabric unique to each community, so all kids around the Twin Cities can use these items,” she says.
A pile of jerseys led to her business, now called AMYM Designs.
Asked why she continues to do the work entailed in sewing these items, Murphy says, “I think I always wanted to learn how to sew, but was intimidated. Now I have these fun and creative ways to express myself. I get excited to see what I can create next. Plus, there is something special about holding a kid’s jersey in my hands—with all the memories sewn into the thread—and turn it into something else they can use. I love that.” Murphy says, “This was all very organic, but I love it, I am going to keep reaching out and braving new trails with it.”
For more information or to commission an item, contact [email protected].