Would you like to donate a wedding gown?
The 8 Steps to Donating a Dress
We are only be able to accept wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses and other formal gowns that are clean and made from bridal satin, silk, or other heavier weight material in white, cream and pastel colors.
STEP 1: Take your dress out of storage.
If your dress was not preserved, please clean it before donating. Most gowns can be washed on the gentle cycle at home and then hung up to dry. If it was preserved and boxed, no need to clean it – just remove it from the large storage box as we cannot accept those boxes - and hang it up to air it out.
STEP 2: Look at your dress closely.
* Check the type of material - If the dress is made from a stretchy or jersey material or a lighter-weight/see-through polyester material, we most likely will not be able to use it. Many dresses from the 1970's are not usable because once the lace overlay is lifted up, the satin sheath is see-through and does not give enough quality material for making angel gowns.
* Check if it is clean - if your dress is discolored/stained and did not come clean in the wash, we may not be able to use it. If it has dry rot, mold or mildew, we definitely cannot use that for the precious babies who will wear the angel gowns.
* Check for odors - if your dress retains a strong odor such as from smoke, mothballs, pets or perfume, we will be unable to use it.
In some cases, we may be able to salvage the lace and embellishments even if we cannot use the material. However, if we are unable to use a dress, we reserve the right to re-donate it or dispose of it.
STEP 3: Understand that we cannot return a dress or any part of it to you once we have received it.
* We are unable to make hankies or keepsakes for you and we do not return angel gowns to dress donors. So, if you wish to keep a portion of your wedding dress for keepsakes, please do so. Just cut off the portion you’d like to keep and we will work with the remaining fabric.
* Unsure if a future bride might like a part of your dress? Then we suggest keeping a piece that is somewhere between 12-30" long by 3" wide so a future bride could incorporate it as a belt or wrap it around her bouquet.
STEP 4: Remove the netting/ crinoline from the underside of the dress and discard it.
STEP 5: Please let the dress hang up for at least 3 days to air out.
STEP 6: * Optional for those who are tech savvy *
While your dress is hanging up to air out, would you please take a picture of the full front of the gown, one up close of the bodice, and one of the full back? (Might require 2 pics to get the entire train photographed). Then post them in a separate thread on our FB page. The post will be delayed until we receive your dress and it will make the process of checking it in so much easier on our volunteers.
STEP 7: Complete the bottom half of this receipt and donation form and attach it with a safety pin to your dress.
RiHA dress donation form and receipt.docx https://www.facebook.com/groups/RestinHisArmsAngelGowns/permalink/2339927616294278/
STEP 8: If your dress meets our criteria and you are ready to donate it, please remove all tissue paper, hangers or other packaging and attach the 1/2 page donation form (from Step 7 above)
* If mailing, fold/roll your dress up to fit into as small of a box as possible. It is ok to send via ground mail or UPS or FedEx.
* If dropping off, please put your dress into a plastic bag. There is a large drop box outside our front door so you can drop off when it is convenient for you. This is a residential address - a yellow ranch house.
* The address is: Rest in His Arms Angel Gowns
1016 Woodland Drive
Wheeling, IL 60090
Thank you for your generosity. Our seamstresses really enjoy working with so many beautiful wedding dresses to make precious angel gowns. Thank you for being part of this ministry and helping grieving parents know their babies are treasured and wrapped in love
Pictures of dresses we have received and finished angel gowns are show on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RestinHisArmsAngelGowns/.
If you or a loved one are in need of an angel gown, please contact us so that we may ship one free of charge to any place in the continental US.
Would you like to help make angel gowns?
The angel gowns are not terribly hard to make. If you can sew a straight stitch, you can do this!
And yes, we do need help from people who do not sew. One of the most time consuming jobs is deconstructing the wedding dresses, ironing/steaming them, and then laying out the patterns for the angel gowns. The patterns are traced onto the wedding dress and then need to be cut out. We welcome teenagers who need service hours for Confirmation to help with this as well as anyone who wants to help but does not sew. We host monthly Sewing Saturday workshops in the Chicagoland area and invite all volunteers to come and see the process. We provide the wedding dress material, patterns, trims and supplies, as well as examples, guidance and encouragement . . . and lunch!
Want to support us in other ways?
We are so grateful for the monetary donations that allow us to complete this work of love. You may mail a check to Rest in His Arms, 1016 Woodland Drive, Wheeling, IL 60090 or use the donate feature on this website.
Or, if you prefer, our “wish list” of supplies includes plenty of 3/8” and 5/8” satin ribbon in white, cream, silver, pink and light blue. This is the item in biggest demand. We also appreciate disappearing ink fabric pens, cones of white and ecru thread, and small gold-colored safety pins.