From wedding dresses to angel gowns

IN just a few short months, a Gawler Belt mother has helped hundreds of families and grieving parents by localising a national initiative and inspiring a community to lend a hand.

When Rachel Windsor-Cormack read about Angel Gowns on social media earlier this year, she was so touched by the organisation’s plight that she decided to start and manage a South Australian branch.

The volunteers behind the Angel Gowns initiative collect donated wedding and formal dresses and handcraft them into angel gowns, for babies who pass away.

Mrs Windsor-Cormack currently handles the administrative side of the not-for-profit business, but has generated community donations of dresses, as well as gather a dedicated group of seamstresses.

“As a mother of a baby girl born sleeping, this organisation is very close to my heart as I wish there was a service like this when we had our daughter, Chaunte Rose,’ she said.

“I think being that we’ve been in this situation, the biggest priority of Angel Gowns is to take that pain away from the parents having to go and purchase an outfit to dress their baby in to lay it to rest.

“…I think there could be nothing worse, than having your baby, being asked what would you like to dress the baby in, and having to go to a shop to get a nice outfit when everyone else is buying outfits for a joyous occasion.”

The angel gowns are donated to hospitals with intensive care neo-natal units around SA, and then passed onto parents at no cost.

Sadly, about 10 to 15 gowns are needed in SA each week.

“One wedding dress, on average, can be turned into 10 to 15 angel gowns,” Mrs Windsor-Cormack said.

“Then you get some gowns that have long trains on them and I get 20 out of one of those.”

The mum of four has since generated more interest for the fast-growing initiative on social media and has been inundated by support from Gawler and surrounding communities.

On Sunday, June 15, from 1pm to 4pm, Angel Gowns SA is holding its first deconstruction and dress collection day.

The working bee event will be held at the Gawler Children’s Centre, on Barnet Road, Evanston, and will serve as a chance for volunteers to meet and work together to deconstruct dresses, ready for passing onto the seamstresses.

Volunteers will also be on hand to accept donations of dresses, as well as ribbon, lace, fabric glue, or vouchers.

“I always thought it was going to be something that people would embrace because it is such a touching honour to donate your wedding dress and know that there is a repurpose for it,” Mrs Windsor-Cormack said.

“It means we can lovingly resew love into these angel gowns.”

Anyone with a wedding dress to donate can either drop it off at the upcoming local collection day or post it directly to Angel Gowns SA (PO box 208, Gawler, SA, 5118).


Ellouise Crawford


Ellouise Crawford joined The Bunyip in April, 2010, while completing a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia. Ellouise wrote The Bunyip’s Playford Times before joining the editorial team full-time in late-2011. She now covers the Light Regional Council region and enjoys writing about Gawler’s strong heritage, as well as its many passionate and inspirational residents. Ellouise grew up in Gawler and now lives in Wasleys with her family.

Related posts