Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman Turns Wedding Dresses into 'Angel Gowns' for Babies that Have Passed Away


A Utah woman is dedicating her time to making tiny, handsewn gowns out of wedding dresses for babies who have passed away.

A baby’s death is possibly one of the greatest pains a parent can endure.

There is nothing to ease the pain, no words to soothe a hurt so deep it will never fully heal.

But Pat Carter, a seamstress from Utah, is doing what she can to make a family’s worst day the tiniest bit better.

Surrounded by beautiful silk gowns, lace and thread, Carter spends much of her time sewing “angel gowns.”

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The gowns come from wedding dresses, most of then donated by Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City.

Carter disassembles the dresses and repurposes them into tiny, breathtaking gowns fit for a newborn baby.

“I make a gown maybe every day, or every two days,” Carter told KUTV.

Carter has donated 600 gowns to Utah hospitals over the years, and has made approximately 1,300.

She is careful not to waste any material, deciding how each piece can be of good use.

“I want to use up every scrap that I can,” Carter said.

“Just hand-sewing all those little appliqués from the wedding gowns takes a lot of time,” Carter said.

Carter’s heart breaks for families grieving the death of their baby.

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“I just can’t imagine anything so sad,” she said.

Carter includes a letter with each gown, words of encouragement that acknowledge the family’s heartache.

“Little statements that maybe make the mother feel a tiny bit better — if that’s at all possible,” she said.

Carter is refocusing her sewing efforts by partnering with the organization Angel Gowns by Diane.

The organization also makes gowns from wedding dresses, “turning something from someone’s brightest day to help another on their darkest,” the website reads.

While Carter uses donated dresses for her work, she does spend a lot of her own money on shipping costs and to purchase extra lace or sewing materials she may need.

She was pleasantly surprised and humbled to accept a $500 dollar check from Mountain America Credit Union to help with her endeavors, as part of the organization’s Pay it Forward program.

Carter has plans to continue making gowns and is willing to sew one for any family in need.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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