Donated wedding dresses bringing comfort in a time of great loss

Elizabeth McFadden.Elizabeth McFadden.
Elizabeth McFadden.
A Buncrana seamstress is hoping to bring some comfort to bereaved parents in their darkest hours by creating angel wraps and dresses from donated wedding gowns.

The loss of a baby in pregnancy or shortly after, is beyond devastating.

In their time of grief, the parents of these little boys and girls taken too soon may not possess, or even have thought about, a special outfit to dress them in as they lay them to rest.

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Tiny angel dresses and wraps are usually crafted by volunteer seamstresses and in Donegal, Elizabeth McFadden is one such person.

One of the dresses made by Elizabeth.One of the dresses made by Elizabeth.
One of the dresses made by Elizabeth.

The garments are each created from wedding gowns, donated by past brides, into pieces that are even more beautiful. Elizabeth makes the dresses and wraps using the wedding dress material and embellishments to create a unique and very special piece of clothing or a wrap for each baby. Babies who are lost due to miscarriage are swaddled in the angel wraps. Babies lost to stillbirth or shortly after birth are dressed in the gowns, Elizabeth also creates special hearts for parents, embroidered with the words ‘Too beautiful for Earth.’ They serve as a much cherished memento to honour and remember each much-loved little boy and girl.

She told the ‘Journal’ how she first began creating the pieces a few months ago, after a lady from Mayo posted about it on Facebook. Elizabeth found out that the lady had received interest from Donegal, but had no-one to collect the wedding dresses.

Elizabeth, who has been sewing for ‘many years’ decided she would also create the dresses and has been both moved and delighted with the response. Despite initially intending to make ‘a few’ dresses, she has finished more than 50. Donations of wedding dresses come from all over Donegal.

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The angels wraps, gowns and hearts are then gifted to Letterkenny University Hospital, who are ‘so grateful’ for them. Elizabeth takes great care in creating the pieces, and also when she takes apart the wedding dresses, as they too represent someone’s memories.

She tries to make each piece ‘special’ and sends each donator pictures of the finished items.

Elizabeth has lived with Parkinson’s Disease for the last 20 years and said she is ‘glad’ she is ‘still able’ to do it and give people some comfort in such a heartbreaking time.

If you’d like to donate your wedding dress, or items such as lace and ribbon, Elizabeth can be contacted through her Facebook page: ‘Sew Busy.’