Angel Gowns: How to Upcycle Your Wedding Dress


One day I was going through our guest bedroom closet and I came across this huge box that was taking up so much space. Inside this box is something that I only used once, I am never going to use again, and I have over 500 pictures of it. It’s my wedding dress. And I don’t want it anymore. So, I’ve decided to turn my wedding dress into a couple of angel gowns.

bridge looks into a full length mirror

Yes, I am still very happily married to my husband. I discussed my plans for my wedding dress with him and he is fully on board with my decision. I did manage to barely squeeze into it one last time for a picture with our son as a last memento.

Now I know somewhere out there someone is reading this thinking, “How in the world could she not want to keep her wedding dress?”

One of the reasons I don’t wish to keep my gorgeous wedding dress anymore is because there is a better use for it. My mother and I are taking apart my wedding dress to turn it into angel gowns. Angel gowns are the gowns infants, babies, preemies and stillborns wear when they sadly pass away.

I am sharing this story with you today because October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It’s a day you might not have heard of before, or maybe its a day you observe for your own reasons. Although I haven’t personally experienced these tragedies, I have watched friends and family members suffer.

The last thing that a parent who has just experienced a loss wants to think about is how they will dress their deceased infant. So, I investigated more and discovered that the organizations you send your wedding dress to that turn them into angel gowns are no longer accepting dresses. This is because they don’t have enough seamstresses to turn wedding gowns into angel gowns and they are very behind.

That’s when I decided I had to make these angel gowns myself… with my mother’s help, of course.

cutting the pattern for angel gowns

When all of our angel gowns are finished, we will take them to our closest available NICU for families who need them.

Sewing has always been something I love, but I feel like I don’t have enough time to do it, especially since I became a mother. I remember when I was about 8 and my grandmother taught me how to sew. And while I was growing up, my mother worked in a sewing factory before she went to nursing school. So sewing wasn’t entirely new for me, and I felt like this was a project within my skill set.

Claire making angel gowns

My grandmother passed away over 3 years ago. I remember when it was time for her and my grandfather to move to an assisted living home, she wanted me to have all of her sewing stuff since her arthritis caused her too much pain to sew. So, in a way, my grandmother helped with this project as well because I used some elastic and clasps from her sewing kit to help make these angel gowns. I’m happy to share this experience with both my mother and grandmother and feel it has brought us all closer together.

To make an angel gown, you’ll first need a pattern. I found my pattern here: Bereavement Patterns. I followed the tutorial found here: How to Sew Angel Gowns from Wedding Dresses. And, you can learn more about angel gowns by visiting The Angel Gown® Program.

You can also find a lot of free patterns by Googling or searching Pinterest for “angel gowns” or “infant bereavement patterns”.  

My Completed Angel Gowns

I’m happy to have completed two angel gowns from my wedding dress. Here’s how they turned out:

Would you ever consider upcycling your wedding dress to make angel gowns? Have you found another way to upcycle your wedding dress? Share your experience with us in the comments!

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Angel Gowns: How to Upcycle Your Wedding Dress

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