Infant Bereavement


The Preemie Project Bereavement Division seeks to provide solace to families who are grieving the loss of an infant by providing bereavement clothing and remembrance items.

We provide packages to hospitals we support that include an outfit, tiny diapers, hat/headband, booties (when appropriate) and blanket. We also include a tiny memento bracelet and a sympathy card.

General Crafting Guidelines for Infant Bereavement items.

  • Knit or crochet items including blankets, gowns, hats, booties must be made from a pattern that is not excessively holey. A very lacey pattern should not be used.
  • Gowns should always be long enough to flow over the feet
  • Sleeves must be long enough to cover the arms
  • Dark or Bold colors are never used for infant bereavement items.  Ideal colors include baby blue, light pink, very light yellow, pale green and white.
  • Do not use varigated yarns for infant bereavement items.
  • Do not add stripes of color or multiple colors to any item.
  • Simple is best for this sad time.

The following is a list of items that we ask volunteers to make for our infant bereavement packages:

Knit Sleeper Sacks

Sizes Needed:

10/10/17  The most needed sizes are 2-3lb, 3-5lb sizes. We also need the 1-1.5lb size in gender neutral colors of white, light yellow and pale green. 

Colors Needed:

3/4 of the sleepers should be solid pale pink or solid pale blue. 1/4 of the sleepers need to be white, pale solid yellow or pale solid green

Crafting Guidelines:
  • To size a gown, measure the chest first; the chest measure places the gown in the correct size range. Check that the sleeve length and garment length are within the correct size range. Refer to our Measurements Guide.
  • Soft baby yarn is preferred. Worsted weight yarn is too heavy for bereavement items.  See our List of Suggested Yarn
  • Use solid color yarn only in the knit gowns. Simple is best for bereavement.
  • The sleep sack should open all the way down the front and close with buttons, not ribbon.
  • Please bind off the sleeves very loosely so it is easier to get the tiny hand through the opening.
Requested Pattern:

Knit Sleep Sacks by Marcia Williams

Sewn Bereavement Gown/Bunting

Sizes Needed:

9/30/17 At this time, the most needed sizes are 2-3lb and 3-5lb.

Colors Needed:

These gowns are made with soft flannel fabric using small prints such as tiny polka dots, stars etc. Colors must be pastel, subdued colors. No dark or bright colors. Pink and blue are still a favorite with families.

Crafting Guidelines:
  • The gown should be made from soft flannel.
  • Line the gown with the same flannel as the outside of the gown or white flannel.
  • Please use small subdued prints (polka dots, stars).
Requested Pattern:

Bereavement Bunting/Gown Instructions

Bereavement Bunting/Gown Pattern

Knit Dresses

Sizes Needed:

All sizes 1lb up to 9-11lb. More of the smaller sizes are always needed

Colors Needed:

White or solid pale pink. NO BRIGHT OR DARK COLORS

Crafting Guidelines:
  • Soft baby yarn is preferred
  • Use DK weight or lighter. Do NOT use worsted weight yarn. See our List of Suggested Yarn
  • Use solid color yarn only in the knit gowns. Do not use multiple colors in any gown
  • Make dresses long enough to flow over the feet. Refer to our  Measurements Guide.
  • All dresses must be open all the way down the back and close with a couple soft ribbon or yarn ties.
  • All dresses must have at least a partial sleeve.
Requested Patterns:

RoseBud Preemie Dress by Carol Minnis

Burial Gown by Lenore English

Gown for Baby Born Asleep

Early Loss Buntings

Sizes Needed:

For every 3 buntings you make, please make two (2)of the small buntings  and one (1) large size

Small Bunting:  total length 8.0 – 8.5 inches

body width 7 inches

                              hood width 4.5-5.0 inches

hood length 3 inches

Large Bunting:  total length – 10 to 10.5 inches

body width – 8 inches

                              hood width – 5-5.5 inches

hood length – 3.5 inches

Colors Needed:

pale pink, pale baby blue, light green, white, cream. Pastel variegated yarns are acceptable for the buntings.

Crafting Guidelines:
  • Buntings must be lined with soft flannel in tiny pastel prints like stars, polka dots, hearts. Do not use  “character prints
  • Ties in the bunting may be a crocheted yarn chain or a ribbon tie.
  • Use DK weight or lighter. Do NOT use worsted weight yarn. See our List of Suggested Yarn
Requested Patterns:

Knit Burial Bunting – Touching Little Lives, adapted for larger size by Velda LaCoste

Crochet Burial Bunting – Warm Hearts Warm Babies

Memento Bracelets

Sizes Needed:

All sizes needed from 1 lb up to 9-11lb. More of the smaller sizes are needed than the larger sizes

Colors Needed:

Use white or ivory pearl beads.

Requested Pattern:

Infant Memento Bracelet

Teeny Tears Diapers

Teeny Tears is a service organization that provides tiny flannel diapers to hospitals and bereavement support organizations for families that have suffered the loss of a preemie through stillbirth or NICU loss. We have been very fortunate to receive these tiny diapers for our infant bereavement program.

To begin making the diapers for The Preemie Project or to otherwise volunteer for this wonderful organization, please go to the Teeny Tears website for information.

Sizes needed:  

The Preemie Project needs 1/2 of the diapers in the smaller size and 1/2 of the diapers the larger size.

Colors needed: 

The hospitals we donate to request that the diapers be made with flannel in tiny, subdued prints such as tiny polka dot, stars, hearts etc. Soft shades of blue and pink are most needed.  We also need fewer numbers of diapers made from solid color flannel diapers in pale shades of pink, blue, white, cream to pair with gowns made from wedding dresses.

Crafting Requirements:
  • Do not use any cartoonish character fabric for any bereavement item. Tiny subdued prints such as polka dots, hearts, stars etc are requested by the hospitals we donate to.
  • Please see the Teeny Tears website for detailed instructions on sewing the diapers.

Hats and Booties

NOTE:  9/30/17 We are overstocked on all sizes of hats for bereavement at this time. If you enjoy making hats and booties, please concentrate on those for our holiday donations.

Sizes needed:

Hats as small as 6 inches around are needed for very early loss. That size hat would fit over a large egg. All other sizes needed a up to 9-11lb size.

Colors needed:

1 lb up to 11 lb hats should be white, light pink, pale blue. At least 1/2 of the hats and booties for bereavement should be plain white. The hats for very early loss are needed in white and pale colors of green, yellow, pink and blue. (the size to fit over an egg).

Crafting Guidelines:
  • These hats must be very stretchy and easy to put on the tiny baby.
  • Make sure that booties have a wide stretchy opening so they are easy to put on the baby.
  • Do NOT make bonnet style hats.
  • Please refer to our Measurements Guide when sizing hats and booties.
  • Use DK weight or lighter. Do NOT use worsted weight yarn. See our List of Suggested Yarn
Suggested Patterns:

You are free to use the pattern of your choice; here are a few suggestions.

Michelle’s Preemie Booties and Hat

Stay On Booties

Bev’s Baby and Micro Preemie Ribs NOTE: The micro-preemie pattern is perfect for very early loss. NOTE:  9/29/17 We are overstocked on this size hat and will not need any for the next 18 months or longer.

Carissa Knits: Preemie Hats for Charity

So-Soft Preemie Hat-crochet version

So-Soft Preemie Hat – knit version

Knit and Crochet Blankets

Sizes Needed:

All sizes from 15 in x 15 in up to 36 in x 36 in.

NOTE: 9/30/17 our biggest need for blankets is for 30in x 30 in and 36x 36in. We are well stocked at this time with smaller blankets.

Colors Needed:

At least half of the blankets need to be solid white.  The other half needed in solid light pink and solid light blue

Crafting Guidelines:
  • Do NOT use worsted weight yarn. Use DK weight or lighter. See our List of Suggested Yarn
  • Yarns appropriate for bereavement are those that call for a size 6 needle or G crochet hook, or smaller.
  • Soft baby yarn is preferred
  • All blankets should be solid color, white, light pink, light blue only. Do NOT use variegated yarns.
  • Do NOT use a pattern that is excessively lacey. The blanket should fully cover the child.
  • Finish the blanket with a nice border to make the blanket special.
Suggested Patterns:

You are free to use the pattern of your choice; here are a few suggestions.

Elegant, Simple Baby Blanket -Knit

Knit Baby Blanket

Alex’s Baby Blanket – Knit

Basket Weave Baby Blanket- Knit

Confetti Baby Blanket – Crochet

Spring in to Summer Blanket – Crochet

Miscarriage Blankets

The Preemie Project supplies Miscarriage Packages to The University of Iowa Women’s clinic, L&D and other units that request the package. In the package, The Preemie Project includes a tiny knit or crochet memento blanket, a sympathy card and tiny baby feet charm. A votive candle is supplied by UIHC Touching Hearts Infant Bereavement Program.
The miscarriage package is intended for women that suffer a loss before the baby is big enough to be viewed, held and dressed. The tiny blanket serves as a memento of the baby that was lost.

Sizes Needed for miscarriage blankets:

The miscarriage blankets should be from 8 inches x 8 inches up to 9 inches x 9 inches square.

Colors Needed for miscarriage blankets:

The blankets should be solid, gender neutral colors such as white, cream, very light green or very light yellow. Do not use yarn that has ANY pink, purple, peach, or blue in it. Do not use ANY dark colors.

Crafting Guidelines for miscarriage blankets:
  • Use the very softest baby you can find.
  • Yarn should be of DK weight or lighter. A baby yarn is best. Worsted weight yarn is not appropriate for these tiny items.
  • Use a pattern that is pleasing to look at. A plain stockinette knit stitch or double crochet blanket is not appropriate.
  • Lacey patterns are wonderful for the miscarriage blankets. Just be careful that the holes are not excessively large.
  • The clinic nurses requested that the blankets be knit or crochet.  Sewn blankets are not used in these packages.
Suggested Patterns for miscarriage blankets:

Burial Gowns from Wedding Dresses

The Preemie Project has a group of seamstresses that sew infant burial gowns from donated wedding dresses.  At this time we have enough gowns to keep us busy sewing for quite some time.  If you are interested in donating your dress, make sure you are signed up for our email list.  We will include in a newsletter when we are needing more donated gowns.