In the 1950s when I got pregnant with my first baby, I was beside myself with joy. My husband and I began picking out everything from names to crib bumpers. But there was one thing I wanted to be most special of all: the christening gown.
Since I loved to sew, I intended to make it myself. It would be white, of course, and silky smooth—just like my wedding dress, I realized! I recalled my wedding day, how I’d felt like a princess in my satin gown. And what could be more meaningful than making my baby’s christening outfit from the dress I’d worn as I pledged my love? “Yes, do it,” my husband said encouragingly.
My hands trembled when I sat down with scissors, needle, and thread. How could I cut up my beautiful gown? Then I pictured my baby in the special dress, bonnet, and coat I’d planned to make, and I felt inspired. I trimmed each piece with lace, and when the tiny garment was complete, I was so proud. On his christening day, my son, James, looked adorable. I glowed when my sister asked, “When my babies come along, can they wear the outfit?” “We’ll make it our tradition,” I promised.
And we have.
After James, my two daughters and three nieces wore the gown. To date, 24 babies have been christened in it.
Recently, our great-grandson Lucas Petersen wore the gown. Lucas is the grandson of James Petersen, the first baby christened in the same gown 63 years earlier.