Friday, March 16, 2012

Latest donations - super cute diaper and kimono sets

Tomorrow is a training session for new volunteers for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, the organization that I am affiliated with as an infant bereavement photographer.  I really wanted to have a stack of outfits on hand for the new photographers so that they'd feel a little more prepared to go do their first sessions.  I have been utterly amazed and humbled by the donations that have come pouring in, the countless hours of work and materials that have gone in to making this possible.  My sewing day regulars really stepped things up a notch and we had an insanely productive session earlier this month, plus several brought me gowns they'd finished on their own.  I also received some large donations from other groups of women that have been working on things for a few months, and the timing couldn't have been better.  I cannot say thank you enough - words are inadequate for how my heart feels.  Every time I look at the daunting needs and feel like I just can't do it all, my little legion of guardian angels gets busy and nudges all sorts of helpers into action.  I am blessed!

In no particular order, because Blogger is being frustrating this morning, here you go:

These darling little double sided flannel kimonos were made by a local women's group.  I don't have a pattern for them yet, but will work on it, because they're a great size for 20-23 week babies.  The hat and diaper makes an absolutely adorable set!  They have just the ties on the outside that you can see.

I have been mulling over various fabrics, and we've actually been experimenting with quite a variety on our larger gowns lately, and I am inclined to look for a thin microfleece to try this pattern on.  I did a photosession recently for a baby that had weepy skin (a very common problem with angels), and the hospital had a fleece outfit for him that contained the moisture very well.  Regular thickness fleece would probably be too bulky for the tiny size gowns, hence the microfleece idea.  A simple decorative blanket stitch around the edges would finish it off nicely.
 In addition to the kimono sets, this group made DOZENS of tiny diapers, hats, blankets, and also some of the keepsake boxes used by SHARE parent for hand and foot molds.
 Absolutely wonderful stuff!  It was clear that much careful effort and time went in to this, and I am grateful!

 My March sewing day worker bees.  We have a diverse and very fun group of regulars.  My abs hurt from laughing so much by the end of the day.  Good stuff :).

 We had a huge epiphany this month.  In the past we have used little clear snaps as the closure device on the back of the gowns.  They are a pain in the rear to manage - glue in place first, then hand stitch.  I have old lady eyes that have a terrible time seeing the teeny little hole in the middle of a clear snap to stitch, and it has been very labor intensive.  In the past, I tried sticky dot velcro, but it gummed up my sewing machine to stitch them in place.  I snagged a package of regular non-sticky velcro a few days before sewing day, and we cut each strip in half vertically, then 3/4" long pieces of that.  Two velcro fasteners on the back of each is about 10,000 times easier and faster than dealing with the snaps.  Why didn't I think of this earlier?  I don't know.  I'm a creature of habit.  Like I said before, we've been experimenting with different fabrics as well.  Sateen type fabrics can be tricky, and one in particular we were working with was very difficult to iron.  It looks fantastic at the end, but was time consuming to get it to that point.  A drapy polyester fabric proved to need serging around the edges to keep the fraying in check, but was otherwise not bad to work with and the final product was very nice and doesn't wrinkle.  The basic message is to feel free to experiment.  Just choose fabrics that are not see through or stiff/scratchy.

This isn't even all of the gowns I have at the moment!  I have another dozen that need a final pressing, but I was running out of space in the closet, so I'll reserve them for after Saturday.  AMAZING!

If you're not aware already, the pattern and step by step illustrated instructions for this basic tea towel gown is available on the main Angel Babies site.  Click on the "Patterns" tab.  I need to go in and modify a few things on the instructions, but am waiting for my webmaster to get home from his church mission in a few weeks because I invariably mess things up when I try to do it on my own :).

This absolutely gorgeous gown was hand smocked by a woman in Wyoming.  Every single person I showed it to immediately oooooohed and aaaahed.  Beautiful craftsmanship.  I am waiting for the perfect angel to give it to.

 These darling little kimonos were made by the daughter of the talented smocker.  The single button size is the original pattern size, and then she experimented with some other lengths.  I appreciate having different lengths on hand for different sizes of babies.  This pattern has a very clever little hole built in to it for the sash to pull through.

 Last but not least, a couple of very talented ladies up in Idaho are on their way to me as I type this with this amazing collection of Diaper Shirt outfits.  I nearly died of cuteness overload when I saw the wonderful details in the hats, and the coordinating sets.  Great stuff!
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!  The families that receive carefully handmade items are so grateful.  Keep up the good work!  (And I will try to keep up with posting things more often here - I have a couple pattern posts I need to put up.)


  1. I love how they all turned out! Beautiful matching outfits! What a treasure trove for your collection that will bless many families! Awesome job, ladies!!

  2. Oh Heidi! I just got wonderful goosebumps all over when I looked at your photos of beautiful gowns, kimonos, dresses, and all - that you and your "gang" have created for precious angel babies. I have seen that look of gratitude on parent's faces as they receive one of your gowns so I know how grateful these families are. Please know how grateful I am as well for all of your donated time and efforts. You and all of your helpers are amazing! Thank you so, so much!

  3. Oh Heidi, they are amazing! What a wonderfully talented and generous people. Thank you for all you do for Angel families.

  4. Looking forward to seeing patterns for those little kimonos. What awesome additions to your "stash".

  5. Heidi...i would LOVE a pattern for the flannels whenever you get them!!!!

  6. I am from BBC and thats how I found your blog. This post brought tears to my eyes! What a blessing you are in the lives of so many families. I lost a son at 19 weeks almost 2 1/2 years ago. I live in a very small community where the hospital didn't have any idea what to do for me and my son. I would have loved this adorable little outfit to dress him in. I didn't even have a blanket to wrap him in. I have started making little blankets and have donated them to my local hospital. You are such a great inspiration!!

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  8. You are like finding a pot of GOLD! My sweet sister-in-law just experienced this and it has inspired me to get involved! I live in a small town in southern Utah and would LOVE to come learn from you! I would like do organize something similar in our area to get people involved in making clothing etc for sweet angels like my nephew Oliver. Please contact me and lets make a plan for me to come up and learn from you on fabrics to patterns to contacts and needs for this. What you are doing is such a beautiful way to honor your daughter, im sure she is proud! My emailis and my name is Wendy Crane. I look forward to hearing from you.

  9. I love these diaper shirt outfits. Absolutely gorgeous for little tiny angel babies. I wonder if there is a pattern to sew some, since I don't crochet.

  10. Hi, my name is jenni and I live in Sydney Australia. I recently became a granny to an angel baby called Gabriel. He was born at 21 weeks to my son and daughter in law. I would love to give back to the wonderful angel helpers who clothed Gabriel with their beautiful handmade gown, nappy, booties and hat. They also sent replicas home with Gabriel's mum and dad so that they did not leave empty handed. I would love to make some kimonos once you get the pattern as well as nappies. I am also looking for patterns for hats and booties that are small enough for the angels. I already knit booties for preemies.
    Also, thank you for all you all do to help in these most difficult times.

  11. Jenni, I am sorry to hear of your loss! Here is a great link to my friend Stacy's page that she updates frequently with lots of patterns, including the kimono pattern:

  12. Heidi, I just saw my dress! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for saving that beautiful dress just for Stella. It has been a blessing in our lives. I treasure it more than words can tell.

  13. Do you have the patterns for the kimonos for the 20-24 week babies? Would love to have it for our ministry. Our email is

  14. Do you have the patterns for the kimonos and diaper covers please. I would like to make some for my local nicu where my friend and her baby are. Baby Bonnie was born 12 1/2 weeks early at 2lb 9oz. Its been touch and go but she's a fighter