A Christening or Baptism is the first sacrament and introduction of a child into his or her Christian community. Some denominations make a huge fuss over a Christening while others incorporate the ceremony into the standard service. No matter what type of Christening is held, it is traditional for the child to wear something new or an heirloom that is designated for a Christening. If you don’t have an heirloom christening gown in your family, creating one that may be worn by all your children and generations to come is a special and memorable option.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring Tape
- Christening gown pattern
- Sewing Machine
- Notions – thread, needles, buttons
- Lace (optional)
- Appliqués (optional)
- Pearls or beads (optional)
Select the Christening gown pattern or make one on your own. Measure the baby’s chest, shoulder width and length. Compare these measurements to the size charts that are on the pattern.
If you are making your own pattern, take apart a baby’s dress carefully, iron the pieces and then trace each piece – front, back and sleeves – onto newsprint, adding at least half an inch all around. Hold the edges down with a ruler and trace around the edges of each piece. If your Christening gown is going to be long, add the length to the pattern piece at this time. Cut out the pieces of either type of pattern and iron them.
Choose the fabrics for the gown in the widths and lengths of the pattern pieces. Depending on the weather expected during the Christening, select cotton, silk or even velvet. Just remember that the baby is going to be in this gown for several hours and should be comfortable.
Pin the pattern to the fabric, making sure that it is parallel to the selvages and cut the dress out. If you are expecting to use this dress more than once, and want to ensure that it will fit future children, cut extra width at the shoulders.
Sew the dress according to pattern directions. If you are adjusting the pattern or creating your own pattern, sew several rows of gathering at the shoulders and pull the threads so that the fabric is the proper width for the baby’s shoulders. If it needs adjusting later, you can undo the shoulder seams, widen the gathers to a larger or smaller size, and re-sew it.
Embellish the dress now that the basic structure is completed. Add lace, appliqued flowers or even beads and pearls. Just remember that little people put things into their mouths, so make sure that you sew any beads or pearls onto the garment as far away from little hands as possible. Putting them in a pattern along the bottom hem of the gown will give the Christening gown a finished look without jeopardizing the baby’s safety on that special day.
Tips & Warnings
- Lay out the embellishments onto the dress before you sew them.
- To use the gown again, consider adding a casing with a drawstring to the inside of the shoulder seams. You can then pull or loosen the shoulders as needed for whoever wears the Christening gown.
- For nostalgic purposes, make the gown from your wedding dress. The material is rich and expensive, and it will give you a lovely sense of continuity.
- Don't put any embellishments near the top of the dress in case the baby tried to eat it.
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