Retired teacher who uses wedding dresses to make angel gowns makes us Proud to be from Pittsburgh

SEWICKLEY, Pa. — Deb Rego has lots of donated wedding dresses in her basement. Each one has special memories sewn into them.

But the Sewickley woman reimagines them. Every stitch she makes is a labor of love.

“5 years ago my grandson, Max, died. He was 33 weeks in utero,” said Rego. “It was very devastating and I decided I needed to do something to heal.”

Deb had just retired from teaching Home Economics at Pittsburgh Public Schools.

The lifelong seamstress got the idea of taking donated wedding dresses and turning them into angel gowns. Deb carefully takes the beads and the stitches out of the dresses and then sews them into tiny gowns for baby girls and what she calls sacks for baby boys.

They’re given to babies who pass away before making it home from the hospital.

“When you lose a baby and you are coming home and looking at the empty car seat, you sometimes just need something to bring home,” said Deb.

At West Penn Hospital, one of the places Deb donated some angel gowns, families can either dress their baby in the gown or they can take them with them.

“It is so important because these gowns are precious treasures,” said nurse Sandra Stanley, who is part of the AngelHeart Perinatal Bereavement Team at AHN West Penn Hospital. “It is what they’ll keep for a lifetime to remember and honor their baby.”

Deb has made and donated 100 to hospitals in the area and beyond and they’re all unique.

“It has helped me,” she said, because she’s doing it right alongside her grandson, Max. It’s Max’s Mission. “Maybe that was his purpose in life,” said Deb.

If you’re interested in donating to Deb’s project that she has aptly named Max’s Mission, you can look her HERE.

October is Infant Loss Awareness Month.