Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Heirloom Baptismal Gown - HELP

Way back when J and I first got married, J's Papa asked me to wear his wife's wedding dress for our ceremony.  Granny had died several years before and Papa with tears in his eyes pleaded with me to wear her dress so that she could be a part of the day.  As much as I would have liked to have worn the dress I couldn't.  It had not been kept air tight so the maternal was aging.  Granny was a size 2 at her wedding, I don't think I ever wore that size.  I didn't want to hurt Papa.  My mother-in-law came to the rescue with a wonderful idea.  Nanny took the dress to a seamstress that was able to cut and save portions of the dress to form a small version to be used as a baptismal gown.   

My pictures do not do this dress justice.  The seamstress used the original buttons, lace and fabric and created a beautiful copy of the wedding dress that is perfect for a baptism and holds so much sentimental value.
 The material is around 90 years old and needs a soft cleaning before being used again.   That isn't my issue.  The dress was made for Pooker but we have used it for all of our daughters.  Each one has looked beautiful in this gown.  The boys each wore the baptismal suit that J wore.

Even The Slip is gorgeous.  The material was an off white and is now yellowing, but that doesn't bother us as it brings J's Granny and Papa into the spiritual celebration of baptism with each daughter.
This time I had to have twin girls;  one dress, two girls.  That is my dilemma.   Pooker would like us to use the dress but change the girls so each one is baptized in the dress.  I tried to explain that each part of the baptism will happen for each girl within minutes.  I don't intend to have two naked babies and move one dress back and forth over and over again.  I suggested getting something new and that was greeted with protest as well.

OK my dear wise blog friends, what are your thoughts????


  1. I think new dresses, and then give the heirloom dress to them for their babies (to share of course) OR any way to use the material to make 2 dresses? I'm not that sentimental, it's not about the dress, it's about the Sacrament. (the graces and blessings)

    I'm sure whatever is decided will work. Maybe you could do 2 separate Baptisms, at different times?

  2. I am sentimental and I do understand your dilemma...I feel like the dress is a significant part of the Sacrament...especially when it is a family heirloom. (Our Parish does not even allow the infant to wear the Baptismal Gown during Mass...until it is actually the moment of Baptism!)

    Wondering if you could purchase new matching dresses and then embellish with fabric from the original...

    ...or use YOUR wedding dress to create 2 new Baptismal gowns for the girls. After all, they are the symbol of the love expressed between you and J!

  3. The dress is gorgeous and the tradition is too meaningful to just let go. Since the slip is beautiful in its own right, why not have a seamstress add a bit of embellishment to it and have one baby wear it? Then you are carrying on the tradition and allowing each baby to wear a part of what all the other girls and J's granny wore?

    Blessings to those wonderful babies either way! May their day be amazing and special for you all!

  4. First of all I want to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog. 3 years ago last week I had twin boys, babies 8 and 9, exactly 2 months after my oldest graduated from (home) high school. It is such a blessing to me to share your joy as I really had to dig deep to find joy in the everyday. I also have a heirloom baptismal gown that my MIL bought for her firstborn (DH) and which has been worn not only by all of her children but by EVERY single one of her grandchildren. We went thru the same thought process you are, we even asked the priest if the boys could wear onsies and change into the gown when it was time for each ones baptism. (our priest, himself an identical twin agreed) However the more I thought about it, I decided it would detract from the dignity of the occasion. SOOO we put twin A in the gown and Twin B in the slip and it was beautiful. In the photos both boys look like they are wearing the gown when being held. If you send me a private e mail I will show you a picture!
    Blessings on your special day!!

  5. FaceBook response 1: I know feelings might get hurt, but I say start a new tradition, and buy 2 new gowns. Then each of your baby girls will have one to pass down to their children later. While the heirloom gown is beautiful and sentimental, starting a new tradition isn't disrespectful of the old tradition. One of my nephews (the first grandchild actually) was such a big newborn, he couldn't be baptized in any of the heirloom gowns...they were also super old and fragile anyways. So my MIL made a beautiful, simple, cotton eyelet gown (much better anyways because it's machine washable!). All of my kids have worn that gown...so that makes it special. If the old gown is that necessary, cut it apart again and have someone make 2 baby bonnets to wear with the new gowns. Problem solved. :-) Taking one gown and passing it back and forth between 2 babies at the baptism will really be a pain...and you have enough to do already!

    FaceBook Response 2: Can the gown and slip be worn separately where you could possibly add something to each to make it special? That would be worth talking to a seamstress about! The gown has too much meaning to not include it. Just my opinion. Love you all

    FaceBook response 3: (J's thoughts) Cut the dress into 2 and have each girl wear a half

    FaceBook Response 4: I have an IDEA!!!! Can they not duplicate it somehow? ;)

    FaceBook Response 5: I left you a blog comment! To piggyback on FB #1's idea...why not get the girls new gowns and either make the heirloom baby bonnets...or create hankies for for the girls to carry on their wedding days or for 1st Holy Communion?

    FaceBook Response 6: Oh, I wouldn't cut the dress...it's too special. If it were me, I would put one in the dress and one in the slip. You could easily have another slip made (I know a lady that could do it) and then just put a cute white cardigan over the slip. Gosh, they are going to be adorable!!! I love the smell of a freshly baptized baby! . . . Although J has a good idea:)

    FaceBook Response 7: I was going to say one in the dress & one in the slip (which is still a viable option) OR making the current dress into two BUT then what would you hand down to any of the other children that may want to use the dress...SO, here's my 2cents...keep the dress part as is, so it can be used in the future (if that is desired), then buy 2 dresses for the twins, and either have them embellished with the material from the slip, or have 2 slips made from the original slip. What does the MIL think (that ingeniously thought of the original wedding dress "fix")?

  6. Thank you all so much for your responses. If you happen to stop back by to read this. I can't believe how much I struggled with this thought. I have not heard from my MIL on topic so unless she has another trick up her sleeve, J and I decided that we will put one in the slip and one in the dress. I will have pictures taken ahead of time with each girl fully dressed in the dress and then their together shots will show one in slip and one in dress.
    Jamie is right the most important part is the actual sacrament, yet I love the tradition and history of this dress. Julie's comments help so much knowing that someone has been there, done that. Thank you all for your help.


I love hearing your thoughts. Thank you for stopping by.