Good Life

Tailor sews memorial to little lives lost too soon

Cynthia Plecity-Brooks holds one of the angel gowns that she made in the kitchen of her home in Pennsylvania Furnace. Plecity-Brooks volunteers her time to make the gowns from wedding dresses for a national organization that donates the gowns to families who are grieving the loss of a child.
Cynthia Plecity-Brooks holds one of the angel gowns that she made in the kitchen of her home in Pennsylvania Furnace. Plecity-Brooks volunteers her time to make the gowns from wedding dresses for a national organization that donates the gowns to families who are grieving the loss of a child. nthomas@centredaily.com

Cynthia Plecity-Brooks has been doing bridal alterations for nine years — but not all of them have been joyous occasions.

The tailor, who is based out of Balfurd Dry Cleaners in State College, works with Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Helping Hands’ Angel Gown Program to make garments for families who have lost babies pre and post birth.

Material for the garments is donated from used wedding gowns.

Below, Plecity-Brooks talks more about a cause that is close to her heart.

Q: How did you become involved with the angel gown program?

A: I became interested in the angel gown program when I heard about it through a friend. I registered with NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown Program in February 2015.

Q: Is there a particular hospital that you work with? How do you receive your requests?

A: NICU Helping Hands is a 501(c)3 organization based in Fort Worth, Texas, that provides parent support and education to families experiencing the hospitalization of their baby in the NICU of a hospital.

Q: How many dresses have you made so far and how long does it take to complete each dress?

A: I’ve made about 30 garments thus far, taking about two and a half hours per garment.

Q: Is there a particular material or fabric that you use and where does it come from?

A: These angel gowns are made from donated wedding gowns from brides. I am furnished with patterns and specific guidelines to meet NICU Helping Hands standards, yet I am given the opportunity to be creative by embellishing the angel gowns with vests, bow ties, ribbons, lace, appliques, buttons and/or overlays. The angel gown garment created result in an angelic garment that is fitting for this scared time. The garments I make are sent to Fort Worth.

Q: It seems like this could be a difficult subject matter to deal in on a regular basis. What inspires you to continue with this kind of work?

A: This is an important ministry for me and it’s where my talents lay. It touches my heart in a profound way that I want to be of service if only in the slightest way. I have nine years of bridal alterations experience and I have a cousin who lost her baby after 10 days. It was the saddest funeral I’ve ever attended.

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