I like to believe that sewing is a love language. It’s also chaos and order. It’s bond, community, freedom and creativity, mental health and wellness.  Examples of sewing as a love language are a grandmother sewing for her grandkids or a mother sewing for her kids. Any person sewing something for themselves it’s a love language, because making something that fits your body, perfectly, it’s a love language. Sometimes, it doesn’t even need to be something for yourself. Sewing for the pleasure of sewing is a great mood booster thus helping people cope anxiety and their mental health journey. However, I came across a different story. One that focuses on kindness, selflessness, grief, hope and babies. This is the story of Angel Gowns of Texas.

Diane Powers reached out to me in my search for sewing stories. She is the volunteer who leads Angel Gowns for Texas and she has been doing so for about four years. She started sewing when she took a home economics class in middle school and hasn’t stopped ever since. She used to make all her daughter’s Halloween costumes and does home décor. She loves creating custom items. She was so kind to share with me the story behind Angel Gowns for Texas and this is what she had to say:

“We take donated wedding dresses and sew them into angel gowns and wraps for babies that don’t make it home from the hospital. Our ministry of about twenty ladies, serves hospitals in the Dallas Fort Worth area. We operate our group out of a donated space in a local church. We meet once a month to sew, share and help each other. The babies that pass, will never attend a prom or wedding, therefore, our created look is formal to honor that child who passed from this world. All our gowns are fully lined so there is nothing rough that would touch the baby. We recently celebrated our third year and our foundress, Genita Selby. Genita had sewn with two other groups before starting her own in 2019. When covid hit, the ladies took the advantage of staying home to sew, so we were able to build our inventory to meet the need of the hospitals. We are currently serving 14 hospitals and groups who need our angel gowns for their burial clothing. In 2021, Genita moved to North Carolina and I was asked to take over the ministry. When a baby dies, there is much the parent’s don’t get control over. We supply the hospitals with two gowns and wraps in all sizes, so the parents get to select one that touches their heart. We refill the gowns as needed from the hospitals and we are able to meet that need within a 24 hour period. Our bracelet makers take the pearl beads off the wedding dress and string them into a bracelet for the mom as a keepsake. She then adds a large bead in various colors to represent the mom and our signature angel charm. All of the nurses that we deal with say it’s very comforting for the staff too, as they grieve along with the mothers the loss of the baby.

The nurses tell us that they deliver thousands of babies throughout their career, but they always remember the ones they lost. The parents who experience this tremendous loss, are comforted in the fact that their precious baby will be treated with dignity and respect with a small gesture of an Angel Gown.

Diane Powers

Members of this group were also kind to share their experiences:

As you can see, making angel gowns not only impacts the parents, but the ladies who sew them as well. We can conclude love, comfort and healing are biproducts of the wonderful practice of sewing, affirming the belief that sewing it’s a love language. 

Until next time!

Karla Menéndez

*Angel Gowns for Texas currently has a waiting list for wedding dress donations, and they are likely not going to open for donations for at least a year since they are able to make 10-15 gowns per wedding dress. *

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