Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baptismal Traditions

Andrew in our family's Christening gown! You can see the top of the gown in this picture (a pre-baptismal picture)

Christopher on his baptism day! You can see the length of the gown in this shot. (This pic was taken with my old camera, notice a difference between the quality of this pic and the one above?) I also sewed the blanket in this picture and got it monogrammed with his name.

Andrew's baptism is this weekend and I wanted to do a post about some of our family's traditions. I should mention first that these are OUR family's traditions and I know others have completely different ones (which I would love to hear about in the comment section). I am simply sharing our traditions (and not judging others) and why they are important to us/why we have chosen them.

I'll start from the very beginning with my christening. I come from a family that sews. My grandmom sews, my mom sews (not as much) and I sew a lot. My grandmom (mom's mom) made my christening gown. All of my siblings wore it (regardless of gender). It was a long, long, beautiful white gown that even had a matching bonnet and long jacket. Babies no. 12 and 13 for my mom were twins and we were left with a dilemma, there was only one gown. I sewed beautiful, long, white gowns for my twin brothers in my teens. We found fabric in Philly with crosses on it and it was gorgeous. Very over the top gowns.

Then I had Christopher. I didn't want to use my christening gown because after 14 kids it was in delicate condition. I knew I wanted a family gown that we would pass down to all of our children. I knew I wanted a long, traditional gown. Regardless of gender, I love seeing babies in gowns. It's the only time you ever put them in one. I thought about sewing one at first, but the price of fabric has sky-rocketed in the last few years and they don't sell fancy fabric like they used to. Imported lace and fabric is practically non-existent, even on fabric row in Philly. It's too expensive and there's not enough demand.

I know many people choose to use the fabric from their wedding gown to make a christening gown which is a very special thing, but I could never cut my gown. 1. It costs way, way too much. It was a Reem Acra gown! Same with my veil, it was by Lazaro. 2. I picked a very timeless dress in style, hoping that my daughter will wear it one day (and if she doesn't that's fine too). 3. I would love to get it professionally framed one day. My mom got her gowned framed (it hangs in her bedroom) and it's so cool to look at. I want my kids to be able to see my gown/try it on because that is so neat. Plus, I like looking at it too.

I ended up purchasing a baptismal gown online for our family. It's in ivory and 42 inches long. It's a two-piece gown with a satin gown and a lace overlay (from Venice). I love it, it's gorgeous and timeless. When Christopher was baptized the priest asked if the gown was a family heirloom! Yes, it is but not in the way he meant (he thought it was passed down from decades ago).  Please share your traditions!


  1. Sweet post, MJ. I also love baby boys in baptismal gowns as well. If you could ever find a picture of the twins in their baptismal gowns, I would love to see your work. -LR

  2. yes, i would really like to find a picture of the twins but since my parents still have so much to unpack that could take a very long time. plus, i'd have to scan one if i found it which i have no idea how to do. i will try.

    you also got to see the gown the i did for my niece right? i would really love to make christening gowns to sell, but i don't think it would be profitable with how much fabric costs and how time consuming it is. maybe one day!

  3. I'm a sucker for traditions as well. And I wanted to used handed down items. My kids slept in the bassinet that was used for me and my siblings and some of my aunts and uncles as well (on my mom's side). My grandmother made a simple linen baptismal gown that all of my siblings and myself used, so 3 of my kids wore it. With the twins my mom made a second gown to match it.
    We have opposite tastes on this one. I like simple understated. I wouldn't ever use the long lacey gown (though I see it's beauty). I love the basic linen gown and what it represents for me.
    As for my wedding gown, I don't believe for a second that my daughter will want to wear it for her own. 20 + years of fashion will flow by not to mention she'll want something of her own. My wedding veil was made from my mom's and I hope to pass that piece on. In the meantime, I am considering having my dress cut and made into a communion dress for my daughter. For me it's just dress and right now it's collecting dust at my parents house. I'm not one to think about displaying it (again neat idea), or ever wearing it again. I thought about donating it, until someone suggested making a baptism gown or communion dress. I want to see it used again.
    I also am always concerned about treating one child better than another. If I had two daughters I would hesitate to make a dress because I would be afraid of it fitting one and not the other. Though I'm still young, I don't intend to have any more kids so I am not too worried about that anymore. In my mind, what you do for one, you do for all. One girl, one dress, no problem. The boys I will have to do something else special for them.
    All in all. I find your gown to be beautiful and elegant. And I like your own made traditions.
    Happy Baptism little Andrew

  4. thanks for sharing your traditions! i really like the tradition of your veil being made from your mother's! i would like to pass something of mine onto my daughter (if i ever have one) someday. whatever i do for one child and i also really try to do for the other as well. if you end up making her communion dress from your dress be sure to post pics!!!

  5. Well, I'm not much of a sewer. I'm going to either ask my mom to do it or higher someone to do it for me. I still have a year to do it. But when the time comes I'll display the results.