A CHRISTENING gown made from altar cloths donated by St Michael’s and All Angels, Linton, is being offered for use in churches, thanks to the generous work of two women.

When Jo Prowse, from Grassington, discovered that the altar cloths were being offered to the public, she felt she had to find a way to re-purpose them after they had been damaged by damp and mildew during a storage period during Covid. She came up with the idea of creating a christening gown which could then be used by families christening their babies in church.

She found a Simplicity sewing pattern in a charity shop and enlisted the help of her friend, Julie Jones, to plan and create the new dress. Jo and Julie were in awe of the skills of the makers of the wonderful cloths, which included lace making, drawn thread work and chain-stitched cross motifs.

Their plan was to use as much of the work as possible and so they adjusted the paper pattern, then carefully placed the pattern pieces on the cloths avoiding worn holes and stains but including all the lace and most of the cross motifs.

They added a new satin under slip and pale green ribbons and pearl buttons, making the gown suitable for a boy or girl. One of the stitched cross pieces is attached to the front of the bodice. It has overlapping petal shaped short sleeves. The gown is suitable for a baby up to 12 months, weighing approximately18 to 21 lbs.

The gown and slip have a cover for protected storage made from one of the altar cloths, which includes the drawn thread work. Jo and Julie have incorporated a pocket which includes another of the crosses, this time with an embroidered inscription showing 2023 and their initials- JP and JJ.

Their initials are also on the inside of the back of the dress - continuing the tradition of signing embroidered work. Jo and Julie say they would love to have known more about the skilled makers of the original altar cloths, whose work they have used to make this beautiful garment.

The pocket on the front of the cover is to hold a book which will be used to record the details of the gown and the details of all the christenings at which the gown will be used in the future. A continuing history for years to come.

The Linton christening gown is available for use in all churches. Contact Jo Prowse on email prowsefamily@hotmail.co.uk