How to Make a Christening Gown

Updated February 21, 2017

Traditional christening gowns are long white dress like gowns, longer than the baby. Traditional gowns are not gender specific. However, in recent years some families have used white shirts and shorts for boys. The gown is a symbol of faith, family and love. Many christening gowns are passed down from generation to generation.

Make a pattern for the gown. Put the cotton shirt on the baby and pin the sides and arms of the shirt to fit the baby. Mark the length of the arms, location of the waist and the length of the dress on the shirt. Do this while the baby sleeps to reduce wiggling.

Remove the shirt from the baby and cut the parts of the dress out of the shirt. Remove the stitching around the arms and cut the sleeves on the inside of shirt where the pins are to create the sleeve pattern. Cutting the inside of the shirt leaves you enough room to sew the sleeve together. Cut the length of the shirt and the waist to create a pattern for the skirt. Repeat the same process with the torso area to create the bodice of the gown.

Spread out the white fabric and pin the patterns to the fabric. Cut the fabric around the pattern pieces. Remove the pattern from the fabric.

Sew the pattern pieces together to make the dress. Use the edger foot or edge-stitcher foot to sew the sleeves and bodice. Always sew a dress from the inside and turn it right side out to preview the stitching.

Create a small rounded or scalloped collar that is one to two inches wide and sew it around the collar of the dress.

Attach lace to the dress. Some christening gowns are completely covered in lace and some just have lace on the skirt or sleeves. Pastel coloured lace and ribbons can be used but white is preferred. A piece of the family history is also used in christening gowns to reflect family heritage, such as lace form a wedding dress or ribbons or trim from a favourite piece of clothing.

Add ribbons, trim or embroidery to the gown. Use ribbons around the ends of the sleeves and waist of the dress. Place the trim around the bottom of the gown.


A christening gown can be as plain or as decorative as you wish. Design the decorations as you see fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Child's large cotton shirt
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Edger foot
  • White fabric
  • White thread
  • Lace
  • Ribbon
  • Trim
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About the Author

Donna Armstrong is a freelance writer who has been writing since 2005. She has provided copy for catalogs, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, informational and e-commerce websites. She has written on a variety of subjects including state-of-the-art electronics and household products. She has worked for such websites as and She attended the University of Texas, where she studied history and education.