Saturday, September 10, 2016

Infant Burial & Bereavement Clothing Ideas

If you have followed this blog in the past, you'll notice it has been inactive for a very long time.  The Stake Relief Society Presidency I was a part of back then was released in October of 2013, and this blog essentially "retired" permanently.

But as everyone knows, whatever is shared on the web STAYS on the web and lives on (and on, and on...)  One post in particular, dated May 2010, has generated a lot of interest since then.  It focused on a Humanitarian Project hosted by a ward in our stake:  making burial clothing for stillborn and very premature infants.  (That link is here:

For six years now I've received email requests via the "comments" at the bottom of this post.  This project touched many hearts in our stake, and also around the world.  Many have asked where the patterns can be found for these tiny burial items.  The women who served in the ward at that time have moved on, and I have lost their contact information.

With so much interest, I finally decided it was time to do something about it.  I've spent several months now searching the web for patterns.  I tried several of them out, drawn up a pattern myself, and compiled a list of other sources for additional patterns.

I'm sharing them with you below.  Please feel free to share your own sources and links via a comment to this post (No spam please, and nothing for profit.  It's heartless to make a profit off a mother & father's grief)  Thank goodness it appears that most people involved in this labor of love are offering their talents out of the desire to serve.  Feel free to pin & share to your heart's content - but please link back to this original source.

The question we all have is this:  just how tiny are these babies this clothing is for?  Depends.  Losses occur in all stages of pregnancy, but it seems the most common sizes needed are between 1 to 4 lbs.  (Ask your local hospital where you donate these items, or friends you know who have experienced a similar loss)

When a fetal death occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy, doctors consider this a stillbirth.  Here are estimated sizes at given weeks:

Week 16 (4 months) - 4.57" - 3.53 oz
Week 20 (5 months) - 6.46" - 10.58 oz
Week 24 (6 months) - 11.8" - 1.32 lbs
Week 28 (7 months) - 14.8" - 2.2 lbs
Week 32 (8 months) - 16.69" - 3.75 lbs
Week 38 - 40 (full term) - 19.96" - 7.25 lbs

Here are two sizing charts I found online.  I don't have enough experience to know if they are accurate, so use accordingly.


I asked several people for their ideas on what is most useful and needed.  A friend of mine has been a nurse in a neonatal unit, a well as losing her own baby at 7 months.  She shared this:  "The mortuary director told us that gowns that open down the back are best, and easiest to dress such tiny bodies in.  Are you considering making two gowns for the parents?  One for the burial and one as a keepsake would really mean a lot to the families."

I tried my first one using a pattern for a kimono (with sleeves).  My advice is:  Don't use a pattern with sleeves, if at all possible.  The arm opening is just so tiny and takes so much time.  It also makes it difficult to dress a fragile baby with a tiny armhole.  Lining it is nice (I used white flannel because it was so warm and sweet) - but this will add significantly to the time to make it.

Here is a link to a great tutorial & video (and a pattern to download):

I then decided to change the basic kimono pattern to a gown.  The first one I made had drawstring sleeves & bottom - sweet, but required a lot of effort.  I tried to imagine why the drawstring would be easier and helpful to a family.  The only reason I'd add drawstrings is for siblings & parents to be able to examine the tiny hands and feet.  The next one I made was an open gown.  Much simpler.


This pattern is laid out with the shoulders on the fold, then cut out the neckline with a slit down the back for an opening.  I simply made a fold-and-turn stitch around the opening, with sticky-backed velcro at the neck for closing.


Here is my feeble attempt at posting a pattern for these gowns (above):   Enlarge to full-size when printing, then attach the two pieces as instructed.  (If you can't get it to print full size - email me, and I'll email you the original size)


Finishing the neckline can be tricky, because it's so tiny.  I really liked the look of continuous bias binding made from the same fabric from the gown.  Sew it to the neckline (right sides together) then fold it down and sew right next to the seam, trimming the back closely when finished.  I made my own continuous bias binding (1-1/2"), which is very simple.  It looks complicated at first, but once you've done it - you'll "get it", and gladly do it again.  Here is a link to one of several websites that walk you through how to make continuous bias binding:


Here are some closure ideas you'll want to consider:  clear transparent sticky-back Velcro, Velcro sticky back "dots", and Iron-Safe Nylon Snaps.  Of course, you can also use ribbon closures, but think how awkward it would be to tie on such a fragile little body.

The next gown I tried was a tiny little "bunting" gown developed by Julie-Anne Carr of BC Angel Dresses.  You can download any or all of her patterns from her Facebook page "BC Angel Dresses".  This is a public group page - and you can find her patterns under the "Files" tab.  Take a look at all of them, they are very sweet.  The "Angel Dress Tutorial" is a Word doc that has a lot of detail in the instructions on how to add a facing, extra touches, etc.


After making the first one of these buntings, I decided it would be easier (and equally as nice) to put the bodice together with the bottom section and have it become just one piece - front and back.  Then you can add lace or ribbon to make it appear to have a separate bodice (without the bulky seam)  I'll post pictures when I actually do this on a few.


I prefer not to use facings - too tiny and time consuming.  Instead, I like using the continuous bias binding around the very tiny necklines (shown above).  Remember the back of the gowns will rarely (if ever) be seen.  I think it's better to devote my best efforts and time to the front of the gowns.

*I use my embroidery machine to add the angel design.  Blue for boys, pink for girls.  I thought of offering to custom embroider the first letter of the infant's name when I know the family (instead of the "A"), but this might be difficult to keep up with.  I'll see how this goes before offering that service for now.

I've pinned several ideas while searching on my Pinterest board "Bereavement Infant Clothing".  Some of these are only photos that were uploaded by the contributor(s) without sources, but they are great ideas.  I'll be adding more as I find them.  There are literally HUNDREDS of similiar Pinterest boards on this topic - I follow a lot of them.

My own Pinterest board can be found here:

Monday, September 30, 2013

General RS Women's Broadcast - Saturday, September 28th, 2013

It was a beautiful autumn evening in the Salt Lake Valley, as sisters gathered together in the Conference Center and in surrounding Stake Centers for the General Relief Society Meeting. The South Jordan Utah River Stake was fortunate to be invited to attend the meeting downtown at the conference center this year. There were lots of warm memories made by those sisters who had tickets to attend downtown, and lots of warm memories made by those who came to watch the broadcast at the Stake Center. We weren't sure how many sisters to expect at the Stake Center because many sisters were going to the conference center downtown, but shortly after 5:30 the sisters started streaming in and the chapel was filled almost, but not quite, to overflowing. 

There is an unmistakable feeling of joy when Relief Society sisters meet together.  When we meet as a Stake, we feel that sweet sisterhood as we give and receive embraces from sisters we haven't seen for awhile, and sit shoulder to shoulder together. This year we heard our inspired General Relief Society presidency and our prophet give us counsel on covenants, teaching children about how acts of service and kindness are a way of keeping our baptismal covenants, and receiving and acting on personal revelation. 

Three generations attending together...
(Each age is beautiful, don't you think?)

Mothers, daughters, & granddaughters...

Brother Mike Wilson, his sweet wife & daughter.
We SO appreciate Brother Wilson! (our High Council representative to the RS)
His unselfish service, and that of all our Priesthood brethren add so much to Relief Society.

Sweet Shari Gibbons (at right) & her friend Marcie.
Shari enthusiastically used her creative touch to
put together this beautiful Fall table decor.
Thank you!

We appreciate the Priesthood and all their help -
(L to R - Anne Petersen, David Bennett, Jennie Bennett, Barbara Sweat, Dennis Sweat, Mike Wilson)
These good men make our callings a joy.

As a presidency, we hope you were able to enjoy
the proceedings of this wonderful meeting.
If you missed it, you can still enjoy it by logging on HERE.

After the broadcast we enjoyed delicious bread and butter (made all the sweeter since President Monson told a story about a loaf of homemade bread!) and veggie trays and dip. The tables were beautifully decorated with fall colors by Sister Shari Gibbons of the River 9th ward.  Everyone enjoyed a great evening, where we were fed spiritually, and had a nice get-together following the conference. Relief Society is the vehicle of so much service and happiness.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mending Day - Wonderful Opportunity to Serve the SLC South Missionaries

On August, 28, 2013 - the sisters of the South Jordan Utah River Stake were given an opportunity to provide seamstresses to mend clothing and provide sewing services for the missionaries of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission. 

It is always exciting and challenging to do something you have never done before! What a sweet experience it was for the six sisters who participated. We arrived in the morning, set up sewing machines in a classroom at the Stake Center, inventoried the basket of zippers, patches and buttons provided by the mission home and waited. Soon the Elders and Sisters started arriving for their conference and before we knew it we were in business. And business was brisk! 

There were requests to shorten suit pants, take in seams, sew on buttons, mend seams, and try our best to repair rips and tears on thread-bare fabrics. It was a joy to see and feel this clothing that was worn away by diligent, young servants of the Lord. I believe each of us thought about their mothers, and our efforts were in their behalf. Many of the sisters who participated have sons and daughters currently serving throughout the world and it was a powerful way to connect with them from home.

So much work was accomplished, especially with suits and pants that in the beginning seemed impossible to fix. Zippers were put in by sisters who had
never done work like that, and they looked like they had been done by professional tailors. The opportunity to serve these missionaries was relatively small, but appreciated and enjoyed by each of the sisters that day. In a thank you letter we received from the mission secretary the next week, we learned that the one pair of pants that we thought could ONLY be discarded (but were still fixed the best we could) are now being worn by the grateful missionary.

It was a great morning, and we look forward to being able to do it again some time!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Called to Serve (Lunch to the SLC South Missionaries!)

President Sohm was contacted by President & Sister Chambers of the Utah SLC South Mission to see if we could help provide a luncheon for the SLC South Mission Tour presided over by Elder Marvin Arnold, 1st Quorum of the Seventy held on August 8th.  Here is an explanation from President Chambers as to how rapidly the work is progressing in our area and why they needed our service with such short notice:

"As you are aware, Utah Salt Lake City South Mission was divided and eleven of our stakes became part of the East Mission on July 1, 2013.  As a result, we find that several of the opportunities for service lunches to missionaries during the remaining months of 2013 were scheduled to be provided by stakes that are now part of the Utah Salt Lake City East Mission.  Thus we have several meetings that lunches are not scheduled at this time.  We have an increased number of missionaries coming to the Salt Lake City South Mission and we have a desire to have more time to get to know each one personally."

As always, when we presented the opportunity to serve by helping with this lunch - we were overwhelmed by the willingness of the sisters of our stake to respond and volunteer.  Thank you!

So many sisters helped cook, and some came to serve the meal in addition to cooking.  It was a joy to be a part of.  We have no doubt we will have this opportunity again in the near future, and we are sure our sisters will respond as cheerfully as they did this time!

The meal was so appreciated - and the Sisters were served first (isn't that sweet?)
Salsa Chicken over Baked Potatoes, Salad, Rolls, & Texas Sheetcake w/Ice Cream.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Come... Serve With Us

Thanks to the sisters of the Advertising Committee:
Chairman:  Marilynn Beesley - 9th Ward
 LynAnn Arnell, Nikki Peisley, Pamela Peterson, Annette Findlay, Natalie West, 
Emilee Wright, Missy Collins, Tammy Tenney, Nedra Sproul 
(a special thank-you to Tracey Smith of the 6th ward for creating the beautiful poster, graphics, & program)

River Stake Women's Conference 2013
"Come... Sit With Us!"

Our Women's Conference theme this year helps us focus on 
the qualities of Charity and what it means when we say the 
"pure love of Christ." We learn charity, provide charity and 
receive charity as we"sit together" as sisters in Zion.

This past year, the Ward Relief Societies of the South Jordan River Stake have become aware of so many who could use help.  In the midst of so much need, the Stake RS Presidency made the decision to channel the funds for a delicious dinner (in past Women's Conferences) to service projects instead.

Over 200 sisters joined in during the day of our Women's Conference to complete over 700 projects.  That evening, we still had over 300 attend the chapel meeting.  Here is a glimpse of the happy hours spent from 9AM to 1PM.  We have amazing sisters - so willing to donate, work, and complete assignments so these local needs could be met.

The sister who chaired the committee for service was Laurie Reeve of the 5th Ward.  Many, many hours were spent meeting as a group, identifying needs, contacting organizations, dividing up responsibilities, organizing donations, and setting up the flow of the event.  Laurie has such a testimony of service, and it radiated to all who participated that day.

Laurie Reeve - Service Committee Chair
Her dedicated committee included:

Kathy Timothy, Susan Bangerter, Jolene Newman, Cherie Whitaker, Holly White, Andrea Peterson, Dee Bianucci, 
Heidi Martell, Connie Fenley, Sheila Mann, Kristy Anderson, Anne Murton, Marcia Todd

Donations Boxes like these were in each ward Relief Society.
They were turned in overflowing with generous donations.

The committee set up the cultural hall so everyone would have plenty of room to work.

Cheerful thoughts & magazine pictures were paired to add to the
River Crest Branch Welcome Kits...
(This one was choice!)
These kits are given to help elderly sisters feel at home
on the day they arrive in their new residence.

(Above & below) are the beautiful journals made for the
"Hearts Knit Together" project for battered women.

There is not a happier sound on earth than that of women visiting as they work together for good.  All ages & all stages in life joined us to serve.  Single sisters, mothers with children, mothers & daughters, grandmothers... so many gave of themselves!  Their faces say it all - happiness comes from service.

At the end of the service project - this is what was accomplished:
Welcome Kits - for the River Crest Branch Sisters - 30
Beaded Bracelets - 28
Beaded Necklaces - 19
Stretchy Headbands - 64
Girls Hairclips - 64
Baby Jingle Boxes - 31
Scrapbook Journals - 120
Fleece Lapquilts - 66 completed, 54 partially completed
Children's Book Bags - 43
Matching Scarf/Hat Sets - 52
Stuffed Felt Hearts - 150
Donations (uncounted) of products, supplies, cash, etc...

Total Projects:  721

Laurie Reeve received this letter of thanks from one of the many organizations that benefited from the day of service:

To the Wonderful Relief Society Sisters of the South Jordan Utah River Stake:

What an amazing response your stake had for your day of service!!!!!!!

It was Like Christmas all day yesterday as your individual wards delivered your beaded necklaces and bracelets, the darling headbands and hairclips, the cute jingle boxes, the journals that were done so exquisitely, the array of hearts in so many colors and the beautiful blankets! We had so much delight in organizing and putting away all your hard work!  I felt so blessed to give some of you a tour of our project room. 

I was also praying for the beautiful hats and scarves, towels, the women's hygiene products and cash that we needed so much to get the 105 women's kits done by the end of the month!  Just like the honey bees that Brother Ballard talked about in October conference, you were an answer to prayers and your combined efforts made a huge impact!!!

There is so much violence in the world that brings so much pain and heartache in the lives of so many.  We are so grateful that with the combined efforts of so many, we are able to provide some encouragement with these welcome kits that contain a message of hope and love to those who are going through so much trauma in their lives.  Thank you so much from all of us at Hearts Knit Together.  May the Lord bless you with his Spirit in abundance for your efforts.


Linda Simmons, Project Coordinator
Hearts Knit Together
An Inner City Project

At 1:00 PM the Cultural Hall began an amazing transformation.  Projects and donations were quickly moved into the Primary Room so the evening meeting could take place.  Many hands made light work!

Barbara's kindred-spirit friend - Debbie Solberg - (from her prior ward)
who spent the day unselfishly working alongside us, cleaning up, organizing,
taking most of these wonderful photographs, and being a true friend!
Thank you!

The day was just getting started!  That evening we gathered for the chapel meeting.  (Click on "Older Posts" at the bottom of this page to view the meeting, Instant Choir, beautiful decorations, and delicious refreshments)