Angel Gowns For Loss of a Baby Too Soon

angel gowns

For parents who have suffered the unthinkable loss of their newborn, a small measure of peace may come with the gift of a beautiful angel gown made from a donated wedding dress. Each gown is lovingly crafted by hand with so much love to honor the life of a baby taken far too soon.

The nonprofit NICU Helping Hands accepts 15,000 wedding dresses each year, which seamstresses transform into gowns for photo shoots and funeral services. The organization keeps a waitlist of families who have lost their baby and then matches them with nearby seamstresses.

One of those seamstresses is Judi Gaber, a nurse who works with families who have suffered the same unfathomable loss that her own family experienced. The grandmother of six and mother of two says the experience is “so emotional” when she sees the parents whose babies are born too soon, especially when they receive their angel gown.

It is for that reason, that Gaber volunteered to turn wedding dresses into gowns that she hopes will bring some comfort to the bereaved parents she works with. Gaber has helped care for countless families who have had to say goodbye to their tiny infants due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or a traumatic birth injury.

Last year, Gaber spotted an advertisement for the Little Angel Gowns program in a newspaper and knew she had to get involved. The Michigan-based non-profit turns donated wedding gowns into burial clothing for infants who don’t make it home from the hospital. Founder Dawn Lafferty has built an impressive team of women and men who turn wedding dresses into tiny wraps, gowns, headbands and hats for infants too small to wear regular newborn clothes.

The sewing team is comprised of a group of retired and active community members who volunteer their time to the cause. The work is done by a team of highly skilled pattern designers, seamstresses and embroiderers. Lafferty and her team have been creating around 7,000 angel gowns for the past year and a half, which are delivered directly into the hands of grieving families in the hospital.

Each gown takes between 30 and 60 hours to make, but for those who are interested in getting involved, the organization is looking for more seamstresses. It’s also accepting donations of wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses or formal dresses in light shades of pink, blue and purple.

The International Program allows donors to follow their dress as it makes its way to a developing country (Guatemala is currently the country where dresses are going) and virtually meet with the seamstress who is working on the gowns you have donated. You will be able to see the process of making the garments and hear about how it is impacting her life and her community.