Big-hearted volunteers are needed to transform wedding dresses in to tiny gowns for grieving families
- Written by Michelle Smith – 9th May 2018
SEW: Angel Gowns volunteers Amanda Hunter and Jude Atkinson transform wedding dresses in to tiny gowns for families. Picture: Lachlan Bence
Angel Gowns volunteers transform elements of a couple’s happiest day in to a package of love for families going through one of the toughest times of their lives.
They convert donated wedding dresses in to tiny gowns for babies who have passed away. The gowns are given free to grieving families in a pack that also contains a hand-made blanket, nappy, booties, beanie and a beaded keepsake for the family.
Amanda Hunter is one of Angel Gowns’ Ballarat area reps and began sewing the gowns about two years ago.
“As they are now, I saw that Angel Gowns had a volunteer drive on Facebook and decided it was something I wanted to do. My youngest daughter lost three babies so I thought if I could give something back I would do it,” she said.
Although starting with only basic sewing skills, Ms Hunter quickly learned how to fashion the gowns from wedding and deb dresses.
”The gowns take hours and hours of work from starting with a dress to the final product,” she said.
“We deconstruct the dress, cut it up and then we follow our own pattern so by the time you get to the end it takes days and days. Once you cut the dress you iron it and there’s so many little different things you didn’t think you would have to do.”
Angel Gowns has 156 volunteers across Australia but need more to keep up with demand and meet their mission statement to give parents the opportunity to dress their loved ones in a specially crafted outfit and make their final day as special as the parents wish for their little angel.
The group’s operations manager Julie Lumsden said the number of gowns that could be made from each dress varied from about six to more than 50 depending on the size and intricacy of the original dress.
The gowns and rompers are designed in various sizes to cater for tiny premature or stillborn babies through to one-year-olds.
Hospitals and funeral homes across the country, including Ballarat, stock Angel Gown packages which are given free to bereaved families. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can visit angelgowns.org.au.