Thank you so much for letting me join your Relief Society Activity last night! You were all so very kind! I know Heidi wanted to be there, but knowing she would have had to hurry off to accomplish another something, I'm glad I was able to fill in and answer questions.
There are a few things that I thought might be helpful to you, but of course they didn't cross my mind until I was laying in bed.
First, fabrics and yarn:
Choose the type of fabric you use carefully. Flannel works
wonderfully, as do many cottons. Choose a fabric that is not so
lightweight that it is see-through, unless you plan to line the gown.
Fleece, while cuddly and warm, should only be used for larger gowns and
should be a lightweight fleece. When you put a fleece gown on an
18-weeker, the bulk of the fabric drowns out the baby. Same thing if you
make a matching hat, fleece simply doesn’t work well for our tiniest
babies. Knits finish up nicely, but can be a bit more difficult to work
with for beginners.
When selecting your fabric, keep in mind who will be using it. While a
Sesame Street sleeper might be adorable on a happy little newborn, it
just feels out of place on our precious angels. Pastel colors work best.
If you do choose a fabric with a pattern, keep it subtle. Remember that
pictures are usually taken and we don’t want the pattern in the fabric
to compete for attention in a photograph.
If you choose a patterned fabric for a blanket, try to pair it with a
solid gown. If the pattern of your fabric is a little loud, consider
choosing a more subtle coordinating fabric for the back of the blanket.
This will enable the photographer to use the less distracting side of
the blanket for pictures.
Yarn: I use the Caron Simply Soft yarn for the crocheted outfits. It is a
thinner yarn but really soft. Walmart usually has a decent price on
this type of yarn. They will also price match any ad so you can get an
even better deal if you're watching. You can make these outfits out of almost any yarn - I just prefer
how soft these are. If you use a thicker yarn your outfit will turn out
bigger. If you use a thinner yarn they will turn out smaller. Outfits
of all sizes are needed. Thicker yarns, like Red Heart, are also more scratchy which isn't always the best for peeling skin of these tiny babies.
Colors: We do a lot of white and cream outfits. These are gender
neutral which work really well for any baby. Light blue and light pink
are also colors we use a lot. Many angel babies are born with bruised or
discolored skin. Certain colors really don't good next to that sweet
baby skin. Some Heidi has warned me to stay away from are fuchsia,
turquoise, bright yellow, orange, green, royal blue, and in general,
really bright colors. Another thing she warns against using
is variegated yarn - or yarn with more than one color. In these tiny
outfits it generally turns out looking blotchy and just doesn't work
well when photographing these tiny angels. If you do want to
use variegated yarn, use it as more of an accent rather than the main
yarn. Or just stick mostly to the basics of white, cream, blue, and
pink. Simple, muted, solid colors work best.
Next, size chart: (**if you're trying to make neck/bow ties or headbands, the size chart in that link is VERY IMPORTANT for you!**)
For under 18 week gestation babies, use the Tiniest Angel Gowns crochet pattern with the Small/Medium diaper crochet pattern. Also, fleece transfer-pads are nice for these smaller sizes, 10-14" square. A burial pouch would also be nice in this size (or another version found HERE or HERE).
For 18-23 week gestation babies, use the X-Small gown or the Large Kimono crochet pattern, the Small sewn diaper or Large crochet diaper, and a coordinating 18-20" square blanket.
For 24-29 week gestation babies, use the Small gown or Size A Gown (under Patterns tab), the Large sewn diaper, and a coordinating 20-22" square blanket.
For 30-36 week gestation babies, use the Med/Lg gown or the Size B Gown (under Patterns tab),
and a coordinating 23-25" square blanket. A 3.5 - 4.5" bracelet is also a nice touch for this age group. A disposable preemie diaper is much easier than sewing a large enough diaper at this size. I don't know of any sewn diapers this large. If anyone else knows of some, let me know.
For larger/older babies, you can more easily go to the store and buy preemie or newborn sizes to fit these babies. So, while there are still bereavement needs after 36 weeks, the need for homemade outfits decreases as stores carry these sizes.
Coordinating hats are also nice in each size - either knitted or made with a jersey knit fabric. For these, I'd keep them one solid color. We don't want them to distract from the very tiny baby being photographed. Keep in mind the color suggestions listed above, too.
If you can think of anything else you need, let me know! If anyone wants to add more pattern links, comment with them and I'll add them into the post!
Be sure to note THIS link, too. It is to the current needs as determined by the Utah Share group. Heidi and I can both get things distributed where they are needed, including to this group and to hospitals and to NILMDTS photographers.
I wanted to add that I found the cutest PILLOW crochet pattern! I shrunk it down (16 chain, F hook) and put it with the 18-23 week gestation patterns. Look at this: