How To Choose a Christening Gown
The day of Baptism or Christening is the first of the rest of a child's life and deserves all the careful attention it can get. It is the first step into life, after a child is washed off his/her 'ori...
The day of Baptism or Christening is the first of the rest of a child's life and deserves all the careful attention it can get. It is the first step into life, after a child is washed off his/her 'original sin'. The child's christening gown, therefore, represents the beginning of a blessed life and is a lifelong keepsake, just like the mother's wedding dress. The gown can be a continuation of an existent heirloom - maybe a great grandfather's or grandmother's, or you can choose to start your own tradition by making a wise choice. Finding the right style or accessory or cloth can be challenging whether it is your first time or fifth. Here is a little nudge to get you on the right track.
You can fashion your own christening gown, using materials from an heirloom - either an old christening gown which has special significance for you, or a wedding dress. The wedding dress could be the mother's or ancestral. Every stitch in the gown will be done with love and commitment. Be sure to use material that is comfortable for the baby and will stand the test of time.
Whether you make the gown yourself or buy it, choice of fabric is key. The fabric should allow the baby to breathe easily and move comfortably for a long period of time. Traditionally fabrics like cotton, raw silk and linen are used to make christening gowns. You can also go for satin, organza, taffeta, tricot and gabardine (used more often in boys' gowns) to add variety. Baptiste cotton is the best for a christening gown, as it very light and airy.
Traditionally christening gowns are white or ivory, but lately people have been adding a little zing to christening. People now use shamrock (a hint of green) or blue or yellow in their gowns. The dress still represents innocence and purity, but it makes a fashion statement.
Along with the cut and fit, you must be careful of details like buttons, lace, accessories and embroidery. Buttons should be elegant and shine-free, and sewn on tight. The accessories should match the exact shade of white on the gown. Bright white lace may look absurd on a white silk dress and white silk is not the same as white cotton. Chunky accessories cannot be worn with christening gowns, and brilliant white accessories should be kept away from heirloom dresses. Sequined collars or satin ribbons dangling from the dress are special touches which need to be carefully integrated depending on the traditional vs modern requirement. Religious symbols like cross are often embroidered on the lace. Shoes are important - girls' shoes can be organza or satin, while boys can wear garbadine cotton or satin. The s socks should match these shoes are often embroidered with religious symbols. Many children accessorize with silver or pearl bracelets, bonnets, hats, flowers or a lacy headband bearing the family's initials. Many boys' christening gowns have bow ties and pin tucks.
The weather will govern the use of material and accessories. If it is cold then you can top the gown off with baptismal blanket, christening sweater, thick bonnet or booties. For warmer climate it is advisable that you use lighter fabric with more embroidery so that the gown looks full and the baby is comfortable. Long sleeves work best for cold climate.
Before you make any decision about the christening gown, consider your family tradition and give more than a passing look to those elegant styles. Choose comfort, style and a lifetime worth of memories.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jill Fox is the owner of Maylee's Boutique. She works hard to make sure that your child will look his/her best on any special occasion. For more information, please visit http://www.mayleesboutique.com/