Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Memory of The Smallest of Us






1/2 lb size silk gown with vintage trim


*Note: this entry is continually updated. For new photographs please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Since the death of my youngest daughter I have been making these tiny gowns, hats and blankets for St. Peter's Hospital labor and delivery department. My daughter was not born there, but it is where my husband and I go for our baby loss support group. The hospital relies on donations from the community for the memory boxes and little clothes the nurses give to bereaved parents.

AdiaRose was born at Albany Medical Center. The nurses who took care of us in the recovery room were so kind, and they knew just what to do: to take pictures and to make little footprints.  They gave us a memory box and a knitted hat and a handmade dress for AdiaRose to wear.  Our nurse told us that other mothers who had lost their babies made the little clothes in small sizes, and they had them ready for anyone in need. It hit me then that our daughter would not have had the dignity of clothes that fit if it hadn't been for these mothers and the nurses who care so much about their patients.


Forget-Me-Nots
I wanted so badly to make her something to wear in the week between her birth and her funereal, but all I managed was a pink silk swaddle to wrap her in, underneath the cozy warm baby blanket I had made for her in anticipation of her November due date.  The shock, the grief, the preparations for her memorial service and celebration of life, left me drained and unable to wrap my mind around constructing a garment. So she was buried in the only clothes we had that she ever wore, that lovely baby blue eyelet gown and little knit hat.

The little gowns, hats and blankets shown here are my effort to repay the kindness of the women who made those clothes. I don't know their names, but I am forever grateful for the gift they gave to us: that they had been thinking of us before we ever even needed them. Everything was waiting. Our daughter was dressed as beautifully a princess. The comfort that honor gave us can't be put into words.

These are just a few of the sets I have made. They range in size from 1/2 lb to 1-3lb sizes. The tiny hat and blanket are for even smaller babies. I also make little buntings for these babies. I like using vintage tatting, lace and trims to give the little outfits an heirloom feel.  Since I don't know how to knit I make the hats out of stockinette and baby rib knit fabric, with pompoms made from embroidery floss. I use new and vintage fabrics for the dresses and blankets- whatever I can find that is cozy and beautiful.

For a 3-5lb size gown, I use beautiful salvaged  hand embroidery from vintage pillowcases to make the border on the bottom of the gown. I love the care of hand embroidery, and the sense of history these give to the gowns. Worn by babies who are leaving us all too soon, they can at least take these things from this world.

I make these gowns and blankets and hats with love in every stitch, and with a prayer that they give some small comfort to grieving parents and honor their babies, and with a wish that no one will ever have a need for them.



Vintage eyelet, handkerchief linen and 
trim, hand embroidered heart, 3/4lb size gown.






Embroidered heart on rosebud blanket.


Linen gown with vintage trim, vintage flannel blanket, hat with 
vintage hand crochet lace, 1-3lb size.


Stockinette, hand crochet vintage lace, and embroidery floss.



Forget-me-not heart on linen gown.



Forget-me-not heart on linen, appliqued on 
vintage flannel blanket.





Baby rib knit hat with vintage lace and embroidery 
floss pom-pom, 1/2 lb size.



Vintage cotton lawn gown trimmed with vintage lace, vintage flannel 
blanket and baby rib cotton hat, 1/2 lb size.




Forget-me-not heart on blanket.




Tiny hat and blanket with vintage trim and applique 
and an embroidery floss pom-pom.




 Embroidered heart detail on bunting.



Bunting made with vintage trim, blanket stitching and embroidered heart.




 Gown, hat and flannel patchwork quilt for 1/2lb baby.


Gown, hat and flannel blanket for 1/2lb baby. Vintage 
trims and hand embroidered hearts.


Little hat detail.




1/2 lb size gown with angel wing sleeves





Cashmere bunting with hood, cross over front and 
angel wing sleeves, 1-3lb size




Hood detail- adjustable drawstring



Sleeve detail-blanket stitch edge




Tri-fold hooded bunting 1/2-3/4lb size, 
designed for delicate babies




Tri-fold bunting open- center flap folds down for dressing, folds back up to 
cover baby and keep feet secure, sides fold in, short side first then long side. 
Designed for delicate babies.

Keira from Wonder, Worry, Heartbreak and Hope: Our Journey Through Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome posted a wonderful tutorial on how to make her modified version of the tri-fold bunting wrap, which she made for her daughter Adelaide. Please check it out here:

http://ourtttsjourney.blogspot.com/2013/12/adelaides-angel-wrap.html



Bunting detail



For the tiniest babies of all, teeny hats and blankets and cozy buntings are made.

Peace be with you,
Jen




1/2 lb size set- angora, flannel, and vintage trim

flower and sleeve detail

angora hat detail

hand embroidered heart on blanket


3/4 lb size gown and hat, angora with vintage trim

sleeve detail


front detail





Patch work quilt made with new and vintage fabrics...





...backed with white flannel, which can be folded back so 
the white shows for photographs.

corner detail, patchwork quilt

Hats and bonnet made of cotton, angora and cashmere...




...angora bonnet with embroidery..

...cute little angora cupcake hat...




Bunting detail: hand embroidered forget-me-not, vintage trim


Angora angel wing kimono with vintage crocheted lace, 3/4 lb size gown


Kimono detail





Japanese furoshiki quilt






I am currently trying my (very inexpert but sincere) hand at little quilts. The center squares are Japanese furoshiki, and the borders are 1930's vintage reprint fabrics. Furoshiki are traditionally used in Japan to wrap precious gifts. The reverse side is white flannel, that can be turned back around the baby's face for photographing. 



Pink and yellow furoshiki quilt...




...with white flannel reverse for photographing the baby...




...and hand embroidered heart detail.





Cashmere knit bunting with vintage trim...


...bunting detail with antique shell button.


3-5lb size angel wing gown, hand embroidered top, 
vintage hand embroidered pillowcase skirt.


Tiny angora bonnet, cashmere and vintage
rosebud knit with hand embroidered heart.


13-15 week size gown, tiny hand tatted silk by Alana Tatter,
vintage trim and hand embroidered forget-me-not.



13-15 week size cashmere blanket with  hand embroidered heart lined 
with flannel and angora hat.
These sets include a pillow for support and an inner swaddle cloth 

of flannel for absorbency.
In yellow...


...blue...



...and green.




Cashmere bunny ear hat and kimono jacket trimmed 
with vintage ribbon, lace and buttons...


over a linen dress with matching lace.....



...22-24 week size( about 1lb and over)






16-18 week size gown
tiny hand tatted silk by Alana Tatter





16-18 week size cashmere and flannel bunting blanket 
with pointed angora hood, support pillow, 
and inner swaddle




16-18 week cashmere and flannel blanket bunting with 
support pillow, inner swaddle and hat






19-21 week size gown, hat and quilt made with 
new and vintage trims and fabrics.





16-18 week size gown, hand sewn and embroidered 
with vintage trim and tatting.





16-18 week size flannel lined cashmere bunting 
with inner swaddle, support pillow and hat.







Cashmere bonnet, hand embroidered, silk satin ribbon tie.



Miscarriage mementos, 5"x5" baby blankets of cashmere backed 
with vintage flannel and hand trimmed with embroidery floss...........





...tiny hats made of stockinette. About thumb size...



25-29 week kimono and gown...




...made of cashmere and silk and cashmere knits...







...vintage trims and hand embroidery...






....vintage trims...




19-21 weeks size gown and hat with vintage trims...



...hand embroidered heart...



...and 12x12 " quilt made of vintage reprint fabrics.




25-29 week size set with hand embroidered gown with vintage trim,
 hat, and blanket of Japanese cotton double knit-very soft-lined with 
white flannel. Hand trimmed, with vintage fabric butterfly patch.




13-15 week size cashmere bunting with hat, support pillow and 
inner swaddle of vintage flannel, all bundled up...






...and open. Inner swaddle unfolded is the size of the bunting, with fringed and zig-zagged 
edges for no hard seams.



25-29 week size gown, all cotton, vintage trims.....


 

...with hand embroidered heart.


12-15 week size bunting sets (bunting, support pillow, inner swaddle, and hat) made of upcycled cashmere.




12-15 week size hat....


...heart detail on bunting.


16-18 week size bunting detail

16-18 week size bunting set



19-21 week size gown

19-21 week size blanket, swaddle and support pillow set

19-21 week size gown

19-21 size blanket set detail

25-29 week size gown, hat, and furoshiki quilt...

...furoshiki quilt detail



13-15 week size bunting set...




...embroidery detail.


Tiny hat and blanket, keepsake.




13-15 week size gown. Hand sewn and 
trimmed. Vintage cotton lace. Silk tatting
at neckline by Alana Tatter.



13-15 week size set with adjustable bonnet.

19 comments:

  1. These clothes take my breath away. As does the holiness of your intention...

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  2. Hi Roberta, Thank you :) Love, Jen

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  3. So sweet, beautiful and special Jen. xo A

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  4. I love what you are doing! Your gowns are lovely! Do you share your pattern? We recently lost one of our twins, she will be born with her surviving sister in the next month or so. I would like to make something similar to these for her and would love if you would be willing to share your pattern with me. I sent an email to the address on your profile but it may go to your junk folder. God bless you for what you are doing for other families!

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  5. Hi Keira- I am so very sorry for your loss. I do share patterns, and I will check my e-mail for your message. With love, Jen

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  6. Do you share the pattern of the gown with angel wings?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carol- yes I do share my patterns. They aren't anything fancy, and are very easy to construct. You can e-mail me at jennysdresserdrawer@yahoo.com with the sizes you need and I'll send you files with patterns and instructions. Love, Jen

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  7. Jen, These are positively beautiful and elegant and breath-taking. What a tremendous gift. I have a small group of dedicated volunteers making clothes for families facing perinatal loss and I would love to be able to pass on these patterns. Please let me know if I can send a message to get your patterns. Thank you so so very much!

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  8. Hi Christelle- how wonderful to have a whole group! If you wouldn't mind sharing how you coordinated your efforts that would be really helpful!

    I absolutely share patterns, do you need particular sizes, or the whole spectrum? You can e-mail me at jennysdresserdrawer@yahoo.com and I'll send you the files via e-mail. Love, Jen

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  9. I am posting patterns as I go and posting them in Dropbox. Anyone in search of patterns can contact me at jennysdresserdrawer@yahoo.com and I will send them an invite to share the file.
    Love, Jen

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  10. I have been making bereavement gowns for a few years but always use the same pattern that I sort of developed and after seeing your beautiful dresses I would like to try some of your patterns if could.

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  11. Hi Anna- If you e-mail me at: jennysdresserdrawer@yahoo.com
    ...I will send you an invitation to Drop Box, which is a file sharing website. You will be able to download and print the patterns and also check back for newer things as I upload the larger sized patterns. Thank you! Jen

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  12. Hi, I just sent you an e-mail asking for the patterns. If you don't get it, you can e-mail me at MacMacMoo @ gmail.com

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  13. Hi Jen-- Your preemie gowns are beautiful! I just started a local chapter of Threads of Love and already have requests from a regional hospital to make items for their Bereavement Program. I do have patterns with a traditional kimono sleeve but would love to use your angel wing patterns if I may. I'm sending you an email. Please reply and let me know how I might access them. Many Thanks!

    Marie

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  14. These are beautiful. I am looking for something to bury my Angel in. She was born sleeping Saturday 6/14/14. Can you please email me? I would like to know if you have any for purchase. Thank you!

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    1. Dear Faran,
      I am so very, very sorry for the loss of your Baby Daughter. I do not have any garments on hand, I usually take them right to the hospital. If you e-mail me at jennysdresserdrawer@yahoo.com with your Baby Girl's age and weight and when you would need your layette by I would be glad to try to help you out though.
      Again I am so sorry for your loss.
      With love to you and your family,
      Jen

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  15. Hi Jen, i have been making NICU and burial gowns for a number of years with the same pattern is it possible to get a copy of your gorgeous patterns please ? xx

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  16. Hi Moodieum- if we haven't already connected please e-mail me at jennysdresserdrawer@yahoo.com so I can send you a link for the patterns! Love, Jen

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  17. Hi Jen, I looked back here today and saw so many beautiful sets and blankets I had not seen in my visits before. Your work is so, so beautiful and so important. I have been collecting fabrics and hope to try some of your patterns soon. XO

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