I have been heavily involved in a new charity group call Angel Gowns Australia, with me volunteering to be one of the seamstresses for the ACT sub-branch. This is something close to my heart, as most of my friends and family would be well aware.
My friend Fiona established the group, after being inspired by a group in the USA, called Angel Gowns by Michelle. Michelle has been generous, passing the patterns on to us for use in Australia. The patterns for these gowns, have passed through many hands, and I am sure the design has benefited from knowledge passed to seamstresses from hospitals and paediatric units. There are minimal internal seams to rub skin, the gowns are rear opening to allow for ease of dressing, and the ribbon closures don’t require pressure (snaps), fiddling (buttons) or the danger of damaging fragile skin (velcro). Big wide dolman style sleeves with no elastic, mean that little arms aren’t caught when being dressed.
After a request from a donator, I was inspired to produce a gown that was masculine, but still special. I had seen an image of a christening gown with a vest during some time I was cruising online, and I thought it was a natty thing to do. The only barrier, was that I had to draft the vest. I am ok at these things, but not confident. When I designed the vest, it isn’t a vest separate to the gown (therefore requiring more handling of bubby than you need), but rather a decorative element on the front. All of the other frippery used on the gowns is much the same, on the front of the dress, where it can be on show for the parents without impacting on the baby.
This pattern, and the matching tutorial, are free to anyone sewing for Angel Gowns, or any other similar charity (although the patterns may need adjustment to match other gown patterns). I only ask that you credit my design in some small way.
If you choose to be involved in a special charity like Angel Gowns, please know that you are providing a special memory to parents and family, suffering the grief that comes with going home with empty arms.