Babies who have passed away are often referred to as “angel babies”
No parent should ever have to suffer the anguish of having to bury their own child, and it is especially heartbreaking if they have suffered an infant loss.
During this emotionally distressing time, the last thing on grieving parents’ minds would be to look for a burial outfit for their precious little one.
So by hand crafting beautiful little angel gowns that have been repurposed from preloved wedding dresses, Angel Gowns Singapore hope to offer some comfort to bereaved families who have lost their babies due to miscarriage, stillbirth or other complications.
Support for grieving families in Singapore
When Andrea Toh, mother of four, left her fulltime job to become a Work At Home Mother who runs her own software business, this gave her more flexibility to balance her career, family and voluntary work.
So when someone shared a website about angel gowns in The Sewing Network, a local sewing group she was a part of, and asked whether they were available in Singapore, Andrea thought it was a very meaningful cause and made a few calls through friends and got in touch with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
“I asked if they would be interested in a cause like this and they were just as excited as I was about the idea and agreed to join us and be the first hospital to receive these gowns”, she tells us.
The very first batch of beautiful little angel gowns! (Image by Angel Gowns Singapore)
After getting a good response from other members of The Sewing Network, they all came together in August to form the Angel Gowns Singapore group with the mission to create lovingly beautifully handcrafted angel gowns from pre-owned wedding gowns, for babies who sadly do not make it home from the hospital.
“Although we live in an affluent society, it remains inevitable that lives are lost due to complications and unforeseen circumstances. Regardless of the period in gestation, a baby’s life is celebrated by a Mother and Father upon conception. When this life is lost, the family is overwhelmed by grief and devastation”, Andrea explains.
She also understands that it is probably heart breaking for the bereaved family to have to go shopping for a baby outfit their little one will be wearing on the day they say their final goodbye — and often, retail clothing may not be the right fit for the tiny bodies of babies born prematurely.
“Angel Gowns Singapore is here to provide support for these families, to let them know that there is someone out there who cares that a little life was lost. Although these lives have not set foot on earth, they have already left foot prints in our hearts”, she says.
Angel Gowns Singapore turn preloved wedding dresses into beautiful angel gowns for babies (Image by Angel Gowns Singapore)
Hand crafted gowns for angel babies
Formed in August 2016, Angel Gowns Singapore hold meet ups with some of their volunteer sewists on the third Wednesday of every month.
During these meet ups, they will guide the volunteers on how to sew the gowns so that they can bring it back with them to be completed at home.
Andrea shares with us that, “They have all brought back a gown each and the angel gowns are so pretty — looking at them makes you happy and sad at the same time. We are glad the wedding gowns have been re-purposed but at the same time we hope the angel gowns are not used up so quickly.
Some of the donated wedding gowns also come from women who have suffered a miscarriage or an infant loss themselves, so they feel a deep connection to this cause.
They even have a volunteer sewist who had lost her 21-year-old daughter about a month ago and although she has a sewing machine at home, she prefers to individually hand sew the angel gowns, as this takes her longer to complete them and so it helps to occupy her mind.
After all the angel gowns have been made, they will then get packed and donated to hospitals in Singapore.
Go to the next page to find out how you can help support Angel Gowns Singapore
This was the second Angel Gowns Singapore volunteers meet up in September 2016 (Image by Angel Gowns Singapore)
The women behind the angel gowns
Besides Andrea, who is the group’s sewist, helps to manage the cash donations, and is in charge of ensuring the angel gowns are washed and properly packed before being gifted to hospitals, there are also six other women in the organising team who all come from different backgrounds and contribute in different areas:
Rosalind is a mother of one son, who sadly lost her infant daughter four years ago. She is very passionate about Angel Gowns Singapore and the main coordinator. She opens up her home for the group’s monthly meet ups and is in charge of deconstructing the gowns and sending them out to the volunteer sewists who work from home.
Ida is a mother of one and is the Designer & Sewist who runs her own sewing business and also designed the Angel Gowns Singapore logos and charm cards.
Rachel is another Designer & Sewist who not only put together the sewing instructions manual but also helps with the designing and photo editing.
Donated wedding dresses have to be deconstructed and the patterns set before being turned into angel gowns (Image by Angel Gowns Singapore)
Jacinta who is a grandmother of three, is in charge of contacting all the volunteers and is a Sewist who helps to train those who attend the meet ups.
June, a new mum, is the Publicity personnel who manages the group’s Instagram account and also contacts bridal studios and explores ways to help with publicity. So far she has helped to collect 20 gowns for this worthy cause.
Lourabella is a wedding gown designer and the group’s Expert Sewist who takes on the most expensive and complicated gowns that have been donated. She is also their contact to get any wedding materials needed to supplement the gowns they receive.
The group is also joined by some other volunteers during their meet ups to help deconstruct wedding gowns and set patterns for them each to bring back home to sew some angel gowns on their own.
How you can help
If you are touched by this worthy cause here are a few ways you can do your part to help with the angel gowns magic:
Wedding gown donations
To create the precious angel gowns, you can donate your preloved wedding gown and other materials such as:
1. Wedding Gowns
2. White tea ceremony or dinner dresses
4. White Bias Tapes
5. Pearl Buttons
6. White Ribbons (width < 0.5″)
Location for donations in kind (by drop-off or courier):
North – 5 min from Sembawang MRT
East (1) – Bedok MRT
East (2) – Tampines Ave 8
Kindly email or send a message to Angel Gowns Singapore on Facebook to confirm the drop off date and time.
(Please note that due to limited manpower and financial resources, they are unable to pick up your donations personally or bear courier charges)
For donations in kind by mail, please send to:
Angel Gowns Singapore
My Mail Box 883823
Angel Gowns Singapore needs your support to help make angel gowns accessible to families across Singapore
While donations in kind provides the canvas for their work, there are additional costs involved in creating and distributing Angel Gowns to families across Singapore.
Your generous donation will allow the group to purchase the following items:
1. Postage for volunteer sewists who can only help from home
2. Sewing basics such as sewing and buttons, ribbon, interfacing, etc.
3. Packaging and angel charms for the Angel Gowns
4. Printing package cards, bag toppers, etc
For monetary donations, please email [email protected] for the bank account details and send them the following information:
1. Your name
2. Your contact number
3. Date of donation
4. Amount to be donated
To find out more about Angel Gowns Singapore or get in touch with them, visit their official Facebook page here, or follow them on Instagram here.