I spent the day today at my SAGA Wee Care Workshop. Stitching these little gowns is a joy and a wonderful way to use our sewing and stitching talents to benefit someone else.
Wee Care is one of the charitable activities of the Smocking Arts Guild of America. Beautiful gowns are sewn and embellished by sewists and then donated to area hospitals to be worn by babies born prematurely. This post is a list of free patterns and other resources to easily make these gowns.
The Need for Wee Care Gowns.
This year we had a special visitor. Carol Bauer, the chaplain for Norwalk hospital, where my local chapter, Thimbleberry, donates our gowns. She came to visit our chapter during our workshop and to explain how important the ministry of providing clothing for pre-mature babies and especially in the case of a demise, is for the parents. She discussed the grieving process and explained that in the case of a demise, they dress the baby in the outfit and then encourage the parents to hold the baby. Holding the baby helps with the grief and while some parents are reluctant to do so, she assured us that they are always happy they did. Often the outfit that the baby wore and a picture may be all they have to remember the baby. Norwalk hospital provides parents with a memory box that will hold the picture, a lock of hair if possible, footprints and a blanket.
Fortunately, the NICU has a high success rate and babies are there to grow until they can safely go home.. While in the NICU, we were told that the nurses appreciate having the preemie smocked bonnets for girls, a small cap for boys, and the baby bunting designed by Wanda DeWitt (pattern is available for SAGA members from SAGANews).
Often the tubes and delicacy of their skin prevent putting clothing on the baby. But the baby can be slipped into a bunting or wear a simple bonnet that helps them look more like the special little baby that they are! Sometimes babies are there because they are too large and so are having some complications following delivery. We didn't realize until this was explained to us and so now will have to construct some larger sizes! We got to work after Carol left and constructed 19 kits that our members will be working on this year!
We were invited to come and take a tour of the NICU unit and so I know that a field trip is in our future! I hope you will take a little time to sew one of these outfits.
Free Wee Care Patterns
Free Wee Care Smocking Plates
Here is a free Wee Care Smocking Plate:
I also designed two additional Wee Care Graphs for Newsletter Subscribers which you can receive here:
Attending a Wee Care Workshop
Most SAGA chapters hold Wee Care workshops and support this ministry. A Wee Care workshop is usually an extended time where a group of sewists come together to pool their talent and construct several gowns, vests or other Wee Care items, or as in our case, assemble kits for us to construct throughout the year. With the gown cut out, pleated if we are making a smocked gown, and all the necessary items bagged and ready to go, it is easy to get these lovely creations made through out the year.
If you don't have a SAGA chapter near you, or just prefer to connect online, check out the the SAGA WeeCare Facebook Group.
If you are interested: