A person’s final appearance is their last visual impression, and so it’s important to pay special attention to their clothing. It’s customary to dress a deceased loved one in clothes they would have worn in their everyday life, but there are also a variety of other options for funeral attire that are designed to help preserve the body and to give your loved ones an appearance that is natural, peaceful and dignified. For example, some funeral gowns are made of soft materials that resemble smart night wear and pyjamas. These are often used for men and women, and they’re available in a range of colors. They may feature religious motifs, such as the Sacred Heart for Catholic funerals, and they can also be tailored for different religious faiths. Other burial gowns are made of cotton or bamboo fibres, and they’re ideal for green funerals where a casket is placed in a woodland grave. They can be decorated with false shirt fronts or other embellishments to make them resemble day clothes and evening wear. Other outfits are designed to be easy for a funeral director to dress a person in. These are often made of a simple material, and they may be trimmed with lace or embroidery to give them a more refined look. They may be tailored for men and women, and they can also come in a variety of sizes. These outfits can also be decorated with a range of embellishments to suit different cultural traditions. Another option for a deceased loved one is to have their funeral dress made of silk. This is an expensive option but it’s a great way to ensure your loved one has the best possible appearance at their funeral and to give them a dignified appearance that will help to set them apart from other mourners. There are a number of places where you can buy and sew your own burial clothes. A search on the internet will reveal many companies that offer a wide range of styles, including a range of materials, and some even have a tutorial video so you can learn how to sew them. You can also make a donation to a local children’s hospital or NICU, which will usually accept homemade clothing for newborn babies and tiny preemies. A traditional dress or a kimono is a suitable option if the deceased had a specific cultural background that they wanted to honour, while for younger people, it’s common to dress them in clothes that are more casual than a suit or a formal dress. For infants, a white baby outfit is usually the best choice. It symbolises purity and peace, and it can be paired with a pair of shoes and understated jewelry to create a dignified and peaceful appearance.
When you’ve finally had your last dance with your wedding dress, it’s time to give it new life. Instead of keeping it tucked away in a closet, you can donate it to a charity and help someone who will wear it as their own special day comes around. There are plenty of charities that accept dresses, including thrift stores, community centers, and nonprofit organizations. Zola says some specialize in reselling gowns while others use the proceeds to support specific causes such as breast cancer, environmental protection, military wives, and abuse survivors. Adorned in Grace resells donated dresses, with the profits going toward programs that prevent and help rehabilitate women affected by sexual trafficking. Brides for a Cause sells dresses to raise money for various women-focused initiatives, including supporting survivors of domestic violence and helping children in crisis. The Brides Project, also in Ann Arbor, Michigan, outfits adult and child cancer patients with wedding dresses at no cost. The nonprofit’s goal is to make sure every woman has a beautiful dress on her big day, regardless of financial hardships. Operation Wedding Gown provides free wedding dresses to military and first responder brides who have been impacted by financial hardship. The organization runs two events each year, during which brides can find the dress of their dreams while raising funds to assist with future needs. Another charity that makes use of donated gowns is Texas-based NICU Helping Hands, which gives families who have lost an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit custom made gowns to wear for final photos and funerals. If you want to keep your gown but don’t see yourself wearing it again, consider dyeing it a different color to turn it into formalwear for other special occasions. You can even hem it into a minidress or cocktail dress. One more option is to frame your dress, a great way to preserve it for generations. There are companies that can help you do this, and they will also provide acid-free boxes to protect your dress and prevent any stains from aging over time. You can also pass your dress on to your daughters, granddaughters, or nieces. It will always be a sentimental piece to them, and they can repurpose it to fit their style. You can also have it framed as a keepsake, or use the fabric to create home decor items or cherished crafts like baptism dresses for your kids. Depending on the charity you choose, your dress may need to be professionally cleaned before it can be accepted. Be sure to check with each organization’s guidelines before donating. Some have put restrictions on accepting dresses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s best to do your research in advance.
As a former paramedic and coroner investigator in Scott and Dakota counties, Patty Hauer witnessed many infant deaths. She noticed that the youngest of the dead were often buried in old ratty blankets, and she wanted to help give those babies a death with dignity. So she began making gowns out of donated wedding dresses. Her group, called Angel Dresses, turns the dresses into the final outfits for newborns who die during or shortly after birth. The outfits, which are provided to the family at no cost, include a special gown, a knitted hat and a blanket, and a small keepsake angel trinket. They are meant for family photos and memorial services. The group’s goal is that no grieving parent will ever have to go through the lost and found tub at a hospital to find clothes for their baby. The gowns are so comforting to parents who are experiencing such a heartbreaking loss, she says. Several women from the community have joined forces with her to sew gowns for babies who are born too soon. They all meet once a month in the basement of All Saints Lutheran Church in Darwin, Minn. They make the outfits for infants who died during or shortly after birth, and they deliver them to hospitals, bereavement groups and funeral homes. The outfits also can be sent to families for their own use. In late 2019, a retired nurse named Edith Lee saw a Huffington Post article about a group in Indiana that makes gowns for babies who die during or shortly after birth. Her heart melted and she knew she had to help. She recruited two other retired nurses to join her and formed a local chapter, W.L.J. Angel Gowns, which now has 44 seamstresses across South Jersey. Each of them has her own story and reason to sew. For example, Deb Rego of Sewickley has lots of donated wedding dresses in her basement, and she loves reimagining them. “It’s a labor of love,” she says. “You get to take that beautiful dress and turn it into a gown for someone who never got the chance to wear it.” PVHMC’s state-of-the-art 53-bed level 3 NICU treats sick and premature infants from Pomona Valley, Chino Hills, Corona, Claremont, Eastvale, Diamond Bar, San Bernardino County and beyond. The NICU extends its deepest gratitude to Angel Gowns for their incredible work and dedication. Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact the Angel Dresses Facebook page. The page is packed with thank-you notes from the hospitals and people who have received the outfits. It’s also full of pictures of tiny outfits, including gowns, bonnets and sashes decorated with lace, beads, appliques, sequins and ribbons. The seamstresses are always in need of material, thread, gallon zip-lock bags and the like. They say the more they work together, the happier they are. They keep a plastic baby model by their sewing machine to remind them why they do what they do.
Children grieve differently from adults, and they may not be ready to attend a funeral or ceremony when they experience the loss of a loved one. It is important to listen to their feelings and respect their choice to not attend a service. If they decide they want to go but are worried or upset, there are ways to make them feel more comfortable. Sitting down with them and explaining what a funeral is and what happens during the service can help them understand the process. It is also helpful to involve them in the planning process if they are interested. This could be as simple as helping them select a casket or urn for their family member or even creating a memorial website. Providing a safe place for your child to spend time during the ceremony can also help them feel more comfortable. If possible, designate a room or corner of the venue for kids to play, color, or do crafts. If you’re having a service in your home or at the cemetery, ask some friends or relatives to help create and manage a children’s space. This can give the children a place to go when they need to take a break from the emotional energy that is present. If your child is a little older and will be attending the funeral service with you, consider inviting them to write messages or draw pictures that can be placed in (or beside) the casket. This can be a way to honor them and make them feel connected to the deceased in a way that is meaningful to them. You might also ask them to find some of their favorite photos of the person and bring those for a slideshow or other presentation during the ceremony. It is important to remember that your child will be experiencing their first encounter with death and mortality which can be confusing and upsetting. It is normal for them to cry and laugh during this time, so don’t be surprised if they show a wide range of emotions. It is also a good opportunity to discuss human biology and religion with them if they are interested. Many parents have found that involving their baby or toddler in the funeral services has helped them understand and accept what happened. This can be as simple as asking them to pick out a teddy bear or doll to carry with them during the ceremony or as elaborate as designing their casket or urn to include a special blanket, toys, or sports team memorabilia. Sometimes children will need to leave the funeral early if they become overwhelmed. If this occurs, it is a good idea to scout out the location beforehand and have an alternative spot that you can bring them to so they can stay safe until they are ready to rejoin the ceremony. Having a trusted friend or family member nearby to keep watch over them is also useful, as they can be needed elsewhere in the building at certain times (to view the casket or if someone wants to speak). This can be especially helpful if you will be making an announcement or speaking in front of other attendees.
For a brand-new human, nothing’s cuter than a soft, cozy outfit. But, while ruffles and fancy embellishments may be tempting, your baby’s skin will be best served by simple pieces that are easy to dress and take care of—especially during those first few months when they’re still getting used to wearing clothing. That’s why we recommend stocking up on essentials like stretchy jumpsuits that snap down the front and tops with envelope necks, which are easier to get over the delicate head. Plus, if you stick to clothes made from natural materials (like cotton) you’ll keep your baby cool and comfortable in the heat and avoid fabrics that have been treated with harsh chemicals, which can be absorbed through the skin. Babies grow fast, so it’s a good idea to buy multiples of each item. This helps ensure you have enough on hand for both day to day activities and special occasions, as well as makes it easier to rotate out old clothes when they no longer fit. Keeping a bin or two on hand for this purpose will also help reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills. Don’t forget a hat, too; it’s an important way to protect newborns from the sun and keep their heads warm in cooler weather. If you’re looking for baby clothing that’s both comfortable and stylish, look no further than the parent-approved line Little Me. Their 100 percent cotton collection for newborns includes neutral bodysuits with lap shoulders, footie pajamas that snap down the front from head to toe and comfy sleeper gowns that have peek-a-paw cuffs to prevent self-scratching. Another option is the edgy fashion-forward brand Kyte. The company offers a wide selection of prints—from skulls and stars to unicorns and flowers—in addition to solid options that are great for mixing and matching. We love the brand’s organic knit cotton dresses, rompers and pants that will keep your baby comfortable in the heat and wash easily and beautifully. When it comes to cold weather gear, The North Face is a classic brand that offers plenty of options. From thermal buntings to rain bibs and snow suits that will protect your baby from the elements, there’s something for every season. If you’re shopping on a budget, it’s a good idea to stick with neutral colors that can be mixed and matched for a more varied wardrobe. It’s a smart move that will save you money in the long run and reduce the number of clothes your baby outgrows before they’re ready to be passed on. Plus, the right pieces of baby clothing will allow your little one to transition seamlessly from summer to fall and winter without having to buy new clothes in between.
When someone dies, the clothing they’re dressed in is often a big part of their funeral and memorial services. Some people choose to dress their loved ones in clothes that were special to them while they were alive – think pajamas and slippers, a nightgown, or a negligee. Others choose to dress their loved ones in a special outfit that captures their personality, style, or preference. Many families also consider their religious beliefs, which may have some specific requirements regarding attire for a deceased person’s final resting place. For example, some religions require that the body of a deceased woman be draped with a white gown after death. Others require that the body of a Muslim person be wrapped in a white shroud. These religious guidelines can influence the clothing that you’ll want to have ready for your loved one’s funeral service, which is why it’s important to know these rules ahead of time. Regardless of the religion or burial grounds you choose for your loved one, you’ll want to choose a burial garment that’s biodegradable and made of natural materials. Clothes for green and natural burials must be made from untreated, organic fabrics such as cotton or wool, and they can’t contain synthetic materials like elastic waistbands, nylon threads, plastic linings, or metal buttons. There are a number of companies that specialize in creating clothes that are suitable for green and natural burials, and they’ll work with you to ensure your outfit meets the requirements of your chosen cemetery or funeral home. A lot of people will want to dress their loved ones in their favorite outfits, but this can be difficult for older people whose clothes may no longer fit due to weight loss or rigor mortis. For this reason, it’s common to use burial gowns that are designed specifically for the body – they look like dressing gowns or robes and have easily adjustable fabric. For infants, some charities and companies offer handmade funeral garments that are crocheted or knitted in a variety of sizes to accommodate tiny babies. These are usually shaped like Baptismal or Christening dresses and come in both boys’ and girls’ styles. Many of these outfits are adorned with embroidery or lace, and they’re available for newborns as well as micro-premature infants who died before reaching full gestational age. Some families choose to include shoes with their loved ones’ burial outfits – but not everyone does this, especially when it comes to viewing or open casket funerals. Putting shoes on a deceased person can be tricky because of rigor mortis, so if you want your loved ones to have their feet showing, you’ll need to prepare a pair for them ahead of time. Many people want to have their loved ones’ hands free when they’re buried, so having them wear socks is more than fine for most situations. It’s also fine to leave the feet bare, and some people prefer this for their loved ones who are being cremated.
When it comes to the final journey, many people want to make sure their loved ones are dressed with care and dignity. This is especially true when it comes to the deceased’s clothing for their casket or visitation services. Burial gowns are special garments designed to look like normal clothing, while also helping to preserve the body and keep it comfortable. When choosing clothes for a loved one who has passed away, there are several factors to consider, such as their personality and style, religious beliefs, and cultural background. In addition, personal items that were significant to the deceased can be incorporated into their outfit. This can include jewelry, such as wedding or engagement rings, and books or other reading materials. For women, a simple black dress is typically the chosen choice for burial attire. This elegant garment exudes a sense of solemnity and beauty that can be paired with closed-toe shoes and minimal jewelry to create an incredibly moving and respectful appearance. Many families choose to wear their loved one’s favorite jewelry as well, in order to carry with them a piece of their lifelong love and connection to that person. A wide variety of burial gowns are available for purchase from funeral homes, as well as online retailers. Some of these gowns are made from a light and soft material that helps to preserve the body while keeping it warm. They are often adorned with lace, embroidery, or other delicate details to add a more thoughtful and refined touch. Some cultures and religions require the deceased to be buried in traditional cultural attire, such as a kimono, kilt, or other type of national dress. In these cases, a funeral director can help ensure that the chosen clothing follows all required guidelines. Other families prefer to dress their loved ones in more casual attire, such as jeans or a polo shirt. This can be a lovely way to honor the deceased’s desire for a more relaxed approach to their funeral or memorial service. There are even burial garments designed specifically for infants who die before reaching full gestational age. These tiny garments resemble Baptismal or Christening dresses and are available for both boys and girls, as well as micro-preemies who cannot be born alive. For many families, these gowns can be a source of comfort and relief in a very difficult time. Whatever type of attire is selected, it’s important to keep in mind that a person’s choice of clothes will help set the tone for the rest of their journey. It’s always a good idea to ask for help from family members and friends when choosing clothes that will honor your loved one. Ultimately, choosing the right clothes is an incredibly intimate and special experience. With careful consideration of the different factors that can influence this decision, you can select attire that will be a fitting and dignified tribute to your loved one.
There’s no doubt that a lot of wedding dresses end up in the back of closets or drawers after a big day. But that doesn’t mean they should be thrown out. Instead, consider donating your dress to a charity that needs it. That way, another bride can wear it on her big day and you won’t be stuck with a gown that never gets worn. Luckily, there are many places to donate wedding dresses. From local thrift shops to large organizations, there are many ways that your dress can find a new home. Just make sure that your gown is still in good condition when you donate it. A wedding dress is made of delicate material and even one small stain can ruin it completely. If your dress has visible stains or holes, it will not be of much use to the charity that receives it. One option is to donate your dress to a nonprofit organization such as Brides Across America. This charity outfits military and first responder brides for free. The nonprofit holds yearly bridal events where hundreds of donated dresses, tuxes and accessories are showcased. This organization also accepts donations of wedding rings and jewelry. If you’re interested in donating your wedding gown to a local charity, check with the organization in advance to see their dress acceptance criteria and schedule. Some charities have a limit on how old your dress can be and require that it be dry cleaned before distributing it. Other charities may charge a fee for cleaning and handling. A common place to donate your wedding dress is at a Goodwill store. The organization resells the dresses at budget-friendly prices, and the proceeds go toward their various charitable programs. Most Goodwill locations have online donation forms, and some offer pick-up services. You can also donate your wedding dress to a Salvation Army location. The SA sells its donated items at its stores nationwide, and the proceeds fund their charitable programs. Some SA locations offer pickup services for larger clothing and household items. If you want to keep your wedding dress as a memento but can’t bear the thought of letting it go, try framing it. There are businesses that work with brides to frame their wedding gowns, and the result is a beautiful piece of art that can be displayed in your home. If you’re not ready to give up on your gown, but you’re tired of it taking up space in your closet, consider giving it a second life as a pillow or baptism dress for a little one. These companies will alter or hem the dress to fit your needs, and they can even add a baby’s name to the dress. This is a great way to preserve your dress and still be able to show it off on your sofa or bedroom wall. In addition, the fabric can be used to create other home decor or cherished keepsakes such as Christmas tree ornaments.
Across the country, volunteer seamstresses are transforming donated wedding dresses into beautiful infant burial gowns known as angel gowns. The gowns are offered to hospitals, birthing centers and funeral homes free of charge to families who have lost their little one far too soon. Judi Gibson, a registered nurse at Riley Children’s Health in Indianapolis, was inspired by the program after reading a newspaper article about it. She started recruiting local seamstresses to help her make the tiny outfits for babies who didn’t survive their time in the hospital’s NICU. Gibson enlisted Shirley Travelstead to help, but the need became too much for just one person to handle. That’s when Edith Mangiaracina stepped in. Mangiaracina, who now lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has been sewing angel gowns for more than 20 years. She has made the garments for hospitals in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, as well as in California, Oregon, Texas, and Minnesota. She also has a team of women in her area who knit tiny hats to go with the dresses. Many people donate their wedding dresses to Mangiaracina after they get married, and she has a large collection of them. She said she can turn a dress into anywhere from 10 to 20 angel gowns. She also creates sleep sacks and overalls, depending on the family’s needs. In addition to her own work, Mangiaracina said she’s helped with the creation of other angel gown programs in other states. In our region, more than 1,600 angel gowns have been distributed to 43 hospitals in seven hospitals, including St. Peter’s, Bellevue Woman’s Center, Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, Albany Medical Center and Saratoga Hospital. Angel Gowns-Capital Region NY is entirely run by volunteers, and each of the gowns are handmade by a seamstress or family member. Brandy Spurgeon of Glenville, New York, received a gown from the organization after her daughter was delivered via C-section in January 2012. Her little girl was born at 32 weeks, and she had a spontaneous catastrophic uterine rupture that caused her death. Spurgeon still receives a gown each week in memory of her daughter, and she credits the service with helping her heal. She said the process is therapeutic and helps her feel closer to her daughter. When a grieving family chooses a gown for their baby, it becomes a symbol of love and a way to remember them. The gowns are used for photos, remembrance ceremonies and to comfort families. Each gown is made with so much love to honor each child who was taken too soon, and it’s a gift that will be remembered forever. If you’d like to help, contact us at the address below. We can either send the gowns directly to a location in need, or return them for you to donate yourself. The most needed items include fabric ribbon (she uses about 4 feet per gown), thread and seam rippers. You can also support her through the organization’s Facebook page.
Whether your child was born at term, stillborn, or died in utero, a funeral is an important part of the grieving process. It provides an opportunity to say goodbye, share memories and pay respects. However, planning a child funeral is very different to planning a normal funeral. It is usually a smaller service and can be held at home, the crematorium or in the church. It is normal for children to have lots of questions about the funeral ceremony. This is because they are trying to understand what is happening and how it will affect them. Make sure you answer their questions calmly and honestly. It is also a good idea to take them to the place where the funeral will be held before it starts so they know what to expect. If you would like them to attend, arrange for a friend or family member to be with them throughout the funeral and burial services. This person can be there to explain what will happen, answer their questions and provide them with activities if they start to become bored. It is important that this person is someone the child trusts and feels comfortable around. Many people choose to include special items such as a favorite teddy bear or baby toy in their child’s coffin. You could also ask a sibling to write a letter or story for their baby brother or sister. Some families also ask friends or family members to read a poem, song, story or reflection at the funeral. This can be a comforting and moving experience for everyone present. During the service, you might like to decorate the casket or urn with flowers and other personal items. You might also like to have your child’s photograph displayed. This can help others remember your child and can be a very emotional moment for the entire family. After the service, you might like to keep some of the flowers as a keepsake. You can either give them to other friends and family members or have them donated to local hospitals. Alternatively, you could have a few of the blooms pressed into a book to keep as a memento. When planning a child funeral, it is important to take your time and be as creative as possible. This will help your family feel less overwhelmed and allow you to focus on the memories you shared with your child. It is also important to be mindful of the language you use when talking about your child. It is not helpful to talk about your child in a depressing manner and you should avoid using words such as “death” and “grave”. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your relationship with your child and how much they will be missed. Many parents find that their child’s death brings up lots of emotions and feelings, including sadness and guilt. If you are finding it difficult to cope, please do not hesitate to seek support. If you are unsure about how to handle certain situations, it is a good idea to discuss them with your bereavement counsellor.