Burial gowns are a beautiful way to help family members dress their loved ones. Choosing what they would like to wear in death can help ease their grief and bring comfort. It is also a good opportunity to continue caring for them in death, just as they did in life.

Whether you are planning for an open casket funeral or cremation, it’s worth considering what you want your loved one to wear as part of the service. It can make a great difference to those attending the funeral or memorial services, and is often an expression of their personality.

The funeral director making the arrangements will be able to advise you on what clothing is appropriate for your loved one. They will be able to recommend a company that makes burial garments or a local sewing group that can sew them for you. Alternatively, you can buy them yourself from a wide variety of retail stores.

Most burial clothes are designed to look like day wear or nightwear and may have false shirt fronts and other details to resemble the deceased. Some are even scented, which can help to calm and comfort mourners. Many are made of natural fibres such as calico or bamboo. Others, especially those for children, are designed with padded shoulders and long sleeves to help protect them from the cold or against any marks that might be left by medical equipment or clothing.

There are also a range of natural burial dresses and shrouds suitable for woodland and green funerals. Some of them are also available in a choice of sizes, so they can fit newborns as well as adults. For infants, there are also baby burial gowns and wraps that can be worn with a matching bonnet.

Some items of clothing are unsuitable for a funeral or cremation, because they can damage the casket or the embalming fluid. It’s worth checking ahead with the funeral directors if you wish to use clothing that isn’t normally used for a funeral, such as jeans or a favourite pyjama.

You may also wish to remove any jewellery or mementos before a funeral or cremation. However, it is often possible to keep some items for display in the casket, such as a favourite watch or necklace.

One funeral home offers a collection of burial attire, including a selection of burial gowns and wraps for babies, which can be worn with the baby’s own bib and blanket. Its founder, Lesley Basile, has seen this kind of dressing up help mourning families, particularly in cases where the deceased was very young or died suddenly. She also believes that it’s a way to allow people to express their personality in a way that they cannot when they are grieving.