June 30th, 2019, the day that my little angel was baptized and welcomed into the Catholic faith. It was a beautiful sunny, summer day, spent surrounded by family and friends. We decided to hold the ceremony at St. Paul’s church in our hometown. This was the church that my husband grew up going to, his little sister was the first baby to be baptized in the church. Father Mike preformed the baptism, we specifically asked for him to share in this occasion for several reasons. 1. He grew up with my mother in law, they lived near each other as kids and would toilet paper peoples houses together. 2. He married my husbands mother and late father. 3. He baptized my sister in law at the same church. We were discussing logistics about Elliot’s Baptism, asking Father Mike to officiate was a no brainer.
I remember when I was trying on wedding dresses, way back in 2016/2017, we were at a local bridal store, Jacquelines Bridal. After trying on the most beautiful wedding dress, falling in love and of course saying “yes”, the owner made a comment about how I could make a baptismal gown out of the dress. That comment stuck in my mind for the next two years.
Now I know that some brides out there wouldn’t even think about cutting up their wedding dress, and at first I thought I would feel the same way. However, the more my dress just say in a closet, I came to terms with the idea of working with someone to create a gown for my daughter.
Fast forward to 2019, we were at a local Vintage Market Days And we meet a local shop owner who makes homemade baby clothes. Janice Collier quickly fell in love with Elliott, she couldn’t get over how cute she is. While she was playing with the baby, I was admiring her beautiful work. I noticed a white gown she had hanging in the back corner of her booth. I turned to my husband and said “Honey, look she makes baptismal gowns.” (I had just started looking for a gown at this point). Janice turned to me and said “Oh yea, I can even make one out of your wedding dress!” And just like that a light bulb went off in my mind. I shared my excitement, took her i formation, left her my number and we went on our way.
Days passed and the idea was stuck in my head. If you ask my husband I am like a dog with a bone, when I get an idea in my head, I can’t let it go. So I decided to reach out to Janice and let her know that I was interested in meeting with her about getting a dress made. We set up a time to meet and I began to look at inspiration on Pinterest for our gown.
The day came for us to meet with Janice, who works out of her home. Together we all sat down, with my dress, the pictures of inspiration, fabric samples, and of course Elliott. It took about an hour or so of sketching, brainstorming and picking fabric for her bonnet, until we finally settled on a design. Janice also walked me through exactly what she was going to do to my dress, and which parts she was going to use.
We decided to use most of the lace from the skirt of my dress for the gown and bonnet. The underskirt was cut and used as part of Elliott’s underskirt. The jeweled belt was removed and use to create a removable belt on the baptismal gown. That night, after we left, I was so excited I don’t think I slept that night.
It took Janice about a week to finish the dress. Now when I tell you this woman is an incredible seamstress, I mean it. She hand drew the patterns for everything. She gently removed the lace from my gown with ruining it, she updates me during the entire process sending me little snapshots of her work. And then the day came when she messaged me and told me that she was all finished. My heart skipped a beat, it was like Christmas Day. I remember we were sitting in the couch, probably watching The Office, while Elliott was playing with her toys. Janice asked if I wanted to see it, and while I originally wanted to wait to see it in person, I said “YES”.
Now I am not a crier, I rarely show my emotions to people. But let me tell you, I CRIED. It was so beautiful and exceeded my expectations. Even though it was a completely different gown, I could see my dress in it. The thought that my little girl was going to wear my wedding dress, on her special day was so sentimental. It was perfect.
God Bless Elliott Grace!