"I call them my little butterflies. They flew in just long enough to steal a part of my heart, and then flew away to Heaven."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Angel (Burial) Gown

When the decision was made to begin Grandma's Promise, I knew in my heart that although the ministry would include many items needed for preemies (hats, booties, quilts, etc.) that on a personal level, my desire was to 'hopefully' concentrate on angel (burial) outfits.  Actually, I want to make more than simply the angel clothing, but an entire angel ensemble.  (I will explain more about that in a future post.)

Why is this so important to me?  It may be hard for you to understand unless you have experienced something similar, but when our Meghan and Morgan passed away there was an unexplainable appreciation and peace when the hospital wires and tubes were finally removed from their precious bodies, they were gently bathed, and the NICU nurses dressed them in donated, hand-made clothing that was small enough to fit their tiny one pound bodies.  Did the clothing take away any of our pain, grief and sorrow from having lost them?  No, but there was a measure of comfort in being able to hold, touch and kiss them, dressed in their precious tiny outfits. 

It was obvious that the NICU nurses did not have a huge selection of clothing to choose from that would fit such tiny babies.  Our little Meghan passed first and was dressed in a beautiful lavender crocheted gown, hat and booties.  Five hours later, when our little Morgan passed away, it became obvious that they didn't have an outfit that was undeniably "boyish".  Morgan was dressed in a long white cotton gown covered in white lace and ribbons.  The matching hat was actually a bonnet with lace around the edges and there were no booties.  Please don't misunderstand my heart.....I am SO thankful for his outfit, so appreciative of the time that was taken by a complete stranger to create an item that was small enough to truly fit, yet, at that moment, I also realized that there was an obvious need for more tiny outfits AND there was a need for "boy" clothing as well as "girl" clothing.  Just think, you can't just run out to the Mall and purchase baby clothing to fit a 1 lb. preemie either.

Hopefully, now you are able to understand my desire to make "angel" clothing.  On a personal level, I KNOW how thankful we were to see the babies dressed in outfits and I want to help other families who will sadly experience the same loss. 

So....I have the heartfelt desire....now I just need the talent! :)  Unfortunately, I'm not the seamstress of the family.  I quilt and use a sewing machine for crafts, but that's about it.  My own mother is the true seamstress who can turn a simple piece of fabric into a work of art.  There's just one problem...my mother lives 11 hours away.  :)

Now I will bravely share with you my first attempt of making an angel outfit to fit a 1 lb. little boy.  It's not perfect by a long shot....but it's finished. :)


I should probably explain that when making any outfit intended for burial clothing, the ENTIRE outfit must be open down the back.  You can use ribbon ties, snaps, buttons, etc., to close it in back.  Clothing CANNOT be used if it opens in front.  This simply means that unless you use a pattern that was specifically designed for a preemie baby burial outfit, you will need to "play around" and possibly design your own (which to some extent is what I did this time).

I needed something very simple to start with, but if you are a seamstress and know how to really sew, there is a lovely, more elaborate preemie burial gown pattern FREE online at:

http://www.threadsoflove.org/BurialGown

The above link is a pattern that you can print out and has 3 size choices.  Size A (1 - 3 lb. preemie), Size B (3 - 5 lb. preemie) and Size C (6 - 9 lb.)

My sewing skill level is not ready to attempt the above mentioned gown....so back to my simple attempt. :)

First I purchased a cotton fabric that is white with a light blue flocked dot.  Using the basic design of the gown that was provided for our little Morgan as inspiration, I drew off the pieces and worked up the courage to actually cut the fabric.



Once the pieces were cut out, I had to lay it out on the table to get a clear understanding of what seams were needed (remember...I'm taking this slow because I don't know what I'm doing!) :)


Seeing the pieces like this, I realized that I needed "something" to make it look "boyish".  I called my mother and asked for her advice.  She lovingly reminded me that my sewing machine had embroidery capabilities and suggested I embroidery a small design that would be suitable for a little boy on the front chest area.  (If you don't have an embroidery sewing machine...using a small applique you can find at any fabric shop would also do the trick.) 

I chose a small 1 inch sailboat design....


Step one:  Sew all four shoulder seams....


Step two:  Hem sleeves and around neck....


Step three:  Side seams.....


Step four:  Hem back opening, turn up and hem bottom of gown with a seam wide enough to insert ribbon....


Step five:  Finish by threading ribbon in bottom hem, apply your choice of closures up the back of gown (ribbons, snaps, buttons, soft velcro, etc.)


Making this gown was fairly simply EXCEPT for sewing around the neckline....that was HARD because it was such a little opening to work with and around!  I've got to figure out an easier way to do that. :) 

I hope that by sharing my own feeble attempts of sewing, many of you that may not consider yourselves seamstresses either, will feel encouraged to give it a try.  I know it's not perfect, but it is filled with love.  Each moment spent cutting the fabric, sewing, (ripping out and re-doing seams), and even taking the photos to share with you was completed with prayers for the family of the angel baby boy who will one day wear this.  My heart's wish would be that all babies would live and thrive and there would be no need for outfits like this.  But until that day, I hope to bring some measure of comfort to the grieving families who suffer the same loss as we have experienced.

In my next post, I hope to share my ideas for an entire "Angel Ensemble".

Blessings,
Theresa (Grandma)

102 comments:

  1. You did a wonderful job Theresa. Thanks for making this gown.
    Bev
    http://www.bevscountrycottage.com

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  2. Hi, thanks for the tutorial and the nice pattern, may I suggest making a facing piece for the neck area, that's what I did and it helped some with other similiar patterns with tiny neck lines. If youcan, please email me the pattern pieces, I can't get them from the web site any longer, I make preemie clothing and knitted preemie hats and booties for donation to hospitals across the U.S. I am a retired nurse and sew and knit when I am up to it, I am disabled and have gooid and bad months. Your gown is beautiful, thank you and God Bless you for your compassion. Laura, I am at lslack10@Gmail.com. Thank you, Laura

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  3. I have just started making burial gowns also for our hospital. I like this style for the little boys and wondered if you had a way of emailing the pattern pieces to me also? If so, my email is Pmeek21@yahoo.com. Thanks!

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  4. I would love the patterns also. I lost a grandchild when he was born at 23 weeks. We had such a hard time trying to find a burial outfit and I've made it a priority to start sewing them and take them to hospitals also for someone who is in our same situation. My email address is davphyl@gmail.com.

    Thank you so much.

    Phyllis

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  5. Theresa, I have been the mother that lost her 4 week old daughter, many many years ago and know how difficult this is. My youngest daughter is now a hospice nurse and where she works donates money to pay for burials of children that have not been claimed by their parents. I want to help by making the gowns you made and would appreciate it if you could possibly email the pattern you used also. God bless you.
    Debbie shawdeborah@att.net

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  6. HI there, I was wondering if it would be possible to get the pattern sent to me also, id be so very grateful as all the pattern I have scene are crotched, I can crochet but sewing them would be so much quicker and I could help so many more families at such a difficult time, kind regards Heidi
    dede_c6@hotmail.co.uk

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  7. Hello from Kansas, have been wanting to start this and cannot find a pattern. love yours. I am a simple sewer and would love to try yours. Can you share? my e-mail is kelly@havilandtelco.com. Thank You.

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  8. Hello, I work in a NICU and would love to make these for our babies. The only patterns I find are either knitted or crocheted (I do neither) or a little more complicated than this. Your pattern is exactly what I have been looking for. Would you be willing to send me a copy? Thank you so much. nmm3204@att.net Marie

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  9. Hello, I have been hunting for pattern just like this to sew, so many are knit or crochet. Would it be at all possible to have a copy of your pattern sent? My email is: onesong12@gmail.com. Many thanks in advance!

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  10. Theresa, Thank you so much for the great tutorial and for sharing this darling little gown. I've been sewing for many years, and want to say you've done a fantastic job! May God bless your kind heart. Also, I love this pattern! I'm making gowns to donate too, and would so love to have the pattern. Would you be so kind as to email me at snyderhillfarm@yahoo.com? I'd like to purchase it from you.

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  11. Theresa, thank you for the great tutorial. I have just started a group on facebook, Angel Babies(https://www.facebook.com/groups/609497359144074/) and we are making gowns from wedding dresses...It would be awesome to have this pattern as well, if you would please send it to me it would go around to many infants who never make it home...and would be so appreciated....please contact me on the group page if you would be willing to share your wonderful pattern...thank you so much!

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  12. Thank you so much for the step by step instructions!! I am new to sewing and am looking for something to do with my wedding dress from last year. I would love to have the pattern as well if you're willing to email it to me. chosen175 at aol dot com. Thanks so much!

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  13. Would love this pattern, I also sew angel gowns. Could you please send me this pattern. Thank you. helenscheller@yahoo.com

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  14. Hello Theresa. I have had a wedding gown sitting in a box for 35yrs not know what to do with it until I found a organisation that makes Angel Gowns. Being a dressmaker in my early days I will be remaking it myself. Looking through website for something suitable for a baby boy I came across this. Wondered if you would care to share the pattern my email is: foster.pam646@gmail.com Kind regards Pam

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  15. would love to have the pattern too, plz & thank you

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    Replies
    1. email is pangbornkl@yahoo.com

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    2. Would you please be able to supply our group with the pattern for the simple gown with raglan sleeves via email?
      Thank you for your kindness.
      Grace and Peggy

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    3. Grace & Peggy, just email me your email address at: grandmaspromise@yahoo.com
      and I will be happy to email the pattern to you.
      Thank, Theresa

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    4. Theresa, I have been trying to find a pattern like this to make for the tiny angel babies. I would greatly appreciate it if you would e-mail me the pattern at marrenem@hotmail.com

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  16. could I please have this pattern. It is simple and beautiful. Thank you, Jan @ jans_home_@yahoo.com

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  17. I would love to have a copy of our pattern for the simple burial gown. It is exactly what I have been looking for. My email is - dburton626@yahoo.com. Thank you very muc

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  18. I have been searching for the pattern for the gown you made to no avail. I would appreciate it if you would e-mail it to me. I make gowns and other items for several bereavement groups. Thank you. marrenem@hotmail.com

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  19. I would like to have pattern for Simple gown with raglan sleeve. I sew with a group in Gatlinburg. Thanks Nancy Rogers

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    Replies
    1. Nancy, I need your email address to send the pattern. You can post it here or send a private message to grandmaspromise@yahoo.com

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    2. Hello there Theresa, I too am just learning to make burial gowns for the group I am a volunteer for. I crochet and knit for them but would live to try my hand at the gowns. Would it please be possible for you to email me a copy of your pattern. My email address is jan.lohrman@gmail.com

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  20. Hi, would you be able to send me a pattern? amyverkilen@gmail.com thank you so much

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  21. I love the fact that you came up with a simple pattern that is appropriate for a boy. Could you please send it to me? Thanks. rowleysportscompound@comcastnet

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  22. I would like the raglan sleeve pattern...very nice for little boys. I work with a group in Ottawa, Canada. Thank you for sharing. flo.gauthier73@gmail.com

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  23. Hi, I would love to have the pattern for the raglan sleeve gown. I plan on making the gowns to donate for fetal demise babies. my email is lynnmiller@epbfi.com

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  24. I would love to have the pattern for your gown so I can make some of these also~ My twin grandbabies were born at 23 wks ~Patrick weighed 1.7 oz and Paige was 1.5 oz~ Paige passed away at 6 days old and Patrick had 9 surgeries and was in NICU 6 months ~ he is now an energetic 4 yr old who has all of us wrapped around his finger and he also has a little brother that will be 3 in June ~ My email is barbwells@usa.net I so appreciate this !!!!

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  25. Hello, Could I also please request a copy of this pattern geoff_annie@hotmail.com Thanks!

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  26. I would love to have this pattern also. Please send to kkelviejr@gmail.com

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  27. Regarding your problem sewing around the neckline, try using double fold 1/4" bias tape in color to match. I do this with my fetal loss gowns and it's much faster and leaves a more professional look.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Priscilla. I did eventually figure that out and have a huge supply in all colors just for the collars. It certainly makes things much easier and as you mentioned looks much better also.

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  28. I would love a copy of this pattern! mndnco@msn.com
    Thank you!

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  29. I would love a copy of this pattern! mndnco@msn.com
    Thank you!

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  30. Please send a copy of this pattern to scrapunzel@hotmail.com. Thank you!

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  31. I love this gown! Thank you for sewing these. My niece was born at 25 weeks, and she passed away a few hours after birth. It has meant so much for us that she was given tiny clothes to wear. I am in the process of making angel baby layettes to pay it forward. Could I possibly get a copy of this pattern? It's so great for a boy. I have boys myself and have felt the frustration that comes from a much smaller selection. Thank you!
    threelittleprinces@gmail.com

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  32. Hi Theresa! Wow you certainly have a following. What you do is incredible. My friend is a care coordinator for the March of Dimes at our local hospital and she knows that I sew and has asked if I would do Angel Gowns for her preemies. I would love this ministry as a way to give back as my preemie lived and is an anesthetist in the same hospital. May I please use your pattern? My e-mail is gnetta@msn.com. Thanks so much!

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  33. I would love a copy of this pattern if you are able :~)
    Thank you so much, Sandi
    info@frontrangeangelgowns.com

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  34. What a wonderful way to help a family during such a hard time. I crocheted and knitted several burial gowns and took them to my local hospital some time ago. I was given a tour of the NICU and saw several tiny, tiny babies. I felt such sadness and such honor to be able to help in my small way. I am also interested in sewing some gowns. The link above did not work for me but here is a link that did for the same organization and they do have a similar pattern that Theresa has shown here. Maybe this will help for those of you looking for a pattern. http://www.threadsoflove.org/?page_id=80
    Thank you, Pam

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  35. Reminder: I always share this pattern by email as long as you share an email address for me to send it to. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you I would appreciate a copy... a retired nurse with a need to be involved. Again thanks E e.evans7890@gmail.com

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  36. I would love the pattern for the gown above. I am a grandma of an angel and I have a friend whose daughter is pregnant and her baby has a blocked urethra and therefore there is no amniotic fluid and the doctors say that after her baby is born the baby will receive angel wings. I would love to be able to make this gown for them. Thank you. email: grecinger@aol.com

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  37. I would love a copy of this pattern if you are able .
    Thank you so much, Apostle Holley~ drpatriciaholley@gmail.com

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  38. I would love a copy of this pattern as I am the grandmother of two angel babies also. I was able to make both a burial gown but not without much frustration and several attempts. I, too, would like to reach out to grieving parents by providing them with appropriate sized clothing that honors their sweet babies. combsg1@gmail.com

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  39. My cousin is in need of one of these I promised to figure it out. If you could be so kind I'd Love to use your pattern to make her one .. Thank you so very much in advance.
    Sending Many Blessings to you All !!!
    Shay S. Shayzfone@gmail.com

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  40. Theresa, Please send a copy of your pattern for this beautiful outfit. My twin grandsons will be born sleeping on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015 and We will need outfits for them. Thank you..
    veeleekay@gmail.com

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  41. Theresa, Please send a copy of your pattern for this beautiful outfit. My twin grandsons will be born sleeping on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015 and We will need outfits for them. Thank you..
    veeleekay@gmail.com

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  42. I would love this pattern...mlp9398@gmail.com

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  43. please email me the pattern also. briannerae1611@gmail.com Thank you!!

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  44. Theresa, woud you please send me your pattern?
    Thank you,
    Mary
    marythompson2222@gmail.com

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  45. Theresa,please could you send me this pattern,i sew micro and prem clothes for hospitals in need,maria.mail.co.uk@hotmail.co.uk thank you so much

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  46. I would love a copy of this pattern. Thank you.
    tatanka_countess@hotmail.com

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  47. I just started making gowns for babies born too soon and would love a copy of this pattern. Thank you!
    sixbrixt@gmtel.net

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  48. I would love a copy of this pattern. I have blankets and hats ready to mail and just need to include some gowns. Thanks so much! preijonen@aol.com

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  49. Can you please send me the pattern. I sew burial gowns in Chicago. Shep815@comcast.net

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  50. Please send your pattern to me.
    Maggie8862@gmail.com

    I would like to make these in memory of my mother. It would have made her smile.

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  51. could you please send your pattern to me? I'm sewing burial gowns out of wedding dresses. lisaplammer@gmail.com

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  52. I would also appreciate the pattern. I have a box of wedding dresses waiting.....

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  53. Hi, I wonder if I could possibly request a copy of the pattern as well please?
    My daughter works arranging funerals and has to care for the tiny angels that were born too early. I want to help the parents by offering free clothes to dress their angels in, as there are very few available for the really tiny ones.
    I can knit and sew the baskets and angel pockets, but wanted to make some gowns by sewing as I have plenty of beautiful fabric and satin binding. I have been searching everywhere for a pattern like yours, with a raglan sleeve. My email is barbarathornley@live.com Thanks, Barbara, Manchester UK

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  54. I sew angel gowns for hospitals in NC and would love to use this pattern. If you are still sharing it, I would appreciate having a copy. My email is dandreacchi1@gmail.com. Thanks very much!!!

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  55. I am a recently retired disabled nurse. I started my 40 year career in the NICU and would now like to give back. I knit and crochet preemie hats and pouches, but would love to branch out into sewing some gowns. If you're still sending out your pattern, my email addy is madamebfly@gmail.com. Thank you in advance !

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  56. Hello. If you are still sharing this pattern, I would love to have a copy of it. It is perfect for the angel gowns for boys. My email is crobbins2@cox.net

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  57. Theresa,
    Would you please send me a copy of your angel pattern. I need to make one for a preemie boy. I know this will help to ease their grief. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful pattern. My e-mail is lammerslm@gmail.com

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  58. Marsha PattersonJune 5, 2016 at 5:38 PM

    Our church wants to make these but I cannot get the pattern on line. Could I please have a copy?
    Marsha
    marapatt_27@yahoo.com

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  59. Hi Theresa
    A beautiful design and a beautiful thing you are doing. May i have the pattern please. My wedding dress is waiting to be used for this very pattern to donate to local hospitals. Many thanks :) xxx
    csala1973@yahoo.co.uk

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  60. HI,
    I was wondering if you could please send me the pattern? I would love to making theses for the local hospitals and some people in Facebook groups I am in. My email address is omanmegan@gmail.com

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  61. Hello! As the mom of 12 angel babies,and three beautiful rainbows,I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart! I wish that the idea had been more prolific when we endured our losses,but I'm now trying to remedy that,locally. Could you please send me the pattern you use? I greatly appreciate it! Marshpodin@gmail.com

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  62. I will love a copy of the pattern my email is welovecolor@yahoo.ocm

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  63. Would love a copy of your beautiful pattern.Thank you so much in advance! cjbogart@mediacombb.net

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  64. May I please have a copy of your beautiful pattern to sew Angel gowns from my wedding dress. Sincere thanks
    mandylou1362@gmail.com

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  65. I would love it if you would send me the pattern. I make angel gowns but have been bothered that there was not a pattern for the tiny ones. I've been looking online, and yours is the best pattern I've found. Thanks. alemapwebb@gmail.com
    Pam

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  66. I see that for several years people have asked for a pattern. I have a similar pattern, though not preemie size, but it could be adapted. It is a master pattern by Kwik Sew, that I made my kids' clothes from as far back as 1975. Here is what I found when I googled it: https://www.amazon.com/Kwik-Sews-Sewing-Kerstin-Martensson/dp/091321213X
    It has raglan sleeve tops that can be made long enough for a kimono. I've also used a peasant style dress for my granddaughter's Christening gown (Pinterest) which might work also. I've wanted to find a way to use old wedding gowns and hopefully, the combination of this idea, and Pinterest and Kwik Sew will reveal a pattern for us all. Thanks to all of you for your compassion and being part of the world that makes a positive loving difference.

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  67. Could I please have this gown pattern. My email address is peacebypiececreations@yahoo.com

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  68. I would love this pattern. You did a fabulous job. My email is sewitseams1953@yahoo.com. Thank you. Janet Schwarz

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  69. I would love this pattern to make gown to donate to those you have lost. send to maggiedhn@yahoo.com Thank you.

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  70. Could you please send me this pattern. I belong to a group that makes preemie items. Send to: grumpybud52@gmail.com. Thanks so much.

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  71. Could I please have this gown pattern. I make tiny outfits for a few preemie groups in the U.K. My e mail address is berylsgirl@sky.com Many Thanks Sue Ford.

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  72. could I please have a gown pattern also I have started doing burial gowns for my local hospital thanks lynette my email is lynette1st@gmail.com

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  73. could I please have a gown pattern also I have started doing burial gowns for my local hospital thanks lynette my email is lynette1st@gmail.com

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  74. I would love the raglan pattern, too. I am making bereavement clothing for 3 hospitals and it is different than the ones i have. pattiwalsh@suddenlink.net

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  75. I, among many, have been looking for a pattern like this. I would appreciate if you could send me the instructions and pattern for making this gown. Thank you in advance. My email address is: m.brostoff@hotmail.com

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  76. Hi,I love to have a copy of your pattern and instructions too.
    Thank you. My email is:shazzaone3@gmail.com

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  77. May I also have a copy of this gown pattern? It is just what I've been looking for!! I knit and crochet gowns, but would love to sew some. This looks like a simple enough pattern for me! thank you so much.
    bencamcol1@myactv.net

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  78. Thank you, I too am a grandma who has lost tiny babe....I also felt touched by the love that we received at that time...the clothing was also a blessing...I have designed a very small knitted booties...That I also made for our sweet babe...I would like any of your gown patterns...Rosiestamper@yahoo.com... I also would like to send you some booties if you would like...This size fits 20--24 wks..Let me know if you would like some..Rose Marie Swensen

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  79. My family is in the process of opening a bereavement room for the NICU at our local hospital. We hope to provide gowns for the families to choose for their babies. This gown pattern would be perfect! We could use the pattern for all 3 sizes but especially size A. Will you please e-mail the patterns to me at KatCoral@aol.com? Thank you so much! Katie

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  80. I would love to have the pattern.. mpcreations@live.com

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  81. Could you please send me a copy of the pattern for angel babies? My first great-grandchild was a trisomy 18 baby. I understand the heartache of the families going through similar circumstances. I already donated my 50 year old wedding gown and veil to someone else but I want to help ease the pain for othersale. It would give me comfort to do this. Thank you. My email is jthrowencdav@outlook.com

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  82. I would love a copy of your pattern please murphymaggie1@gmail.com

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  83. I too would love a copy of the 3 sizes. My local hospital has expressed a need. Thank you! God bless. Ldlorick@sc.rr.com

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  84. I too would love a copy of your pattern. My daughter works in the NICU at Florida Hospital and they are in need of these.
    my email is echaffee@mac.com

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  85. I would like to have a copy of your pattern. I am in a women's church group that is interested in making these. Email address is dwimberley5@gmail.com

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  86. Thank you! This looks perfect for my grandson who just passed away last night. I'd like to sew something up for his burial. Could I please request the pattern? My email address is: duncjunk@snowcapped.net

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  87. Would love a pattern copy marychamplin1204@gmail.com. thank you

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  88. What a lovely idea. I would really appreciate the pattern for this please. My email is greenpastures@live.co.uk
    Thank you.

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  89. Could I please have a copy of your pattern? Please send to klinechristy@aol.com
    THANK YOU

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  90. I also would like your pattern please. I work in the Anesthesia Dept of of local Medical Center. And what got me interested in this was our First Grandchild. She was 39 weeks gestatio and had no indication of problems. Our Daughter's last appt was devastating. No heart beat...and our precious baby girl was stillborn after induction. As you, we were heartbroken. The Hospital dressed her in a nice sleeper. Broke y heart to bury her in that, but none of felt "up too" going shopping at that point. I first heard of "Angel Gowns" on a Sewing with Nancy episode. And I began. Prepared my Wedding Gown and took it apart seam by seam. I have made a few gorgeous gowns at this point, and plan to continue. We don't have a local chapter of this type, yet, but after I retire, we just might!I am always on the lookout for patterns. I have made up some of my own too. And many for those interested can be found on Pinterest.com. I have started a whole board on there of these along with poems to include with the clothing, hats, booties, burial pouches, blankets, etc. Tons of info on Pinterest! Since I started I have friends and relatives donating their gowns as well. Thank you for starting this blog. I will be following it religiously. Cindy

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  91. I have been sewing for Forever Loved Angel Gowns (Toronto, Ontario) for some two years now - Would love to get this pattern Please - to echahley@gmail.com
    Thank you so much. Looking forward to making these. Regards Dee

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  92. I would love to have your pattern. A local hospital has requested boy angel gowns for full term babies and these will work well. Thank you for your help. Please send a copy to b.c.cummins@gmail.com

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  93. Would love to have the pattern as well. Thank you my email is tmk73164@yahoo.com

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