HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Diane Dionne sews tiny outfits ― gowns for girls, tuxedos for boys.
They are funeral clothes for stillborn babies and those who die shortly after birth.
"These are families who experience a huge loss," she said.
Dionne calls her creations angel gowns. She makes them from donated formal dresses.
She showed off a beautiful white gown recently donated to her by a neighbor in Ewa Beach.
“We’ll basically cut this dress up into very small gowns for the babies. Something of this size because of how long it is we’ll probably get close to 20 if not more angel gowns out of it,” she said.
She ships the burial clothes to grieving families across the United States.
They either contact her directly or get the outfits from hospitals and funeral homes, and there is no cost to the families.
"People have no money and they have nothing to dress their baby in. We can say here's this beautiful outfit we can give you for free," she said.
Dionne began her free seamstress service four years ago on the mainland because of personal loss.
"My daughter lost two babies. One lived for a day," she said.
She couldn't find a suitable outfit that was small enough and had to settle for doll clothes.
"That was just horrible," she said.
So Dionne began sewing and eventually created a non-profit called Angel Gowns by Diane.
She now has 200 volunteers on the mainland who help her sew. In four years, she estimates her group has given angel clothes to about 24,000 families.
Now she's moving back to the mainland, and wants someone in Hawaii to continue her work here.
"I'm hoping to find volunteers that would be willing to sew," she said.
If no one steps up, she’ll continue to send her gowns to Hawaii families who need them from her new home in Arizona.
If you want to get involved, go to her website angelgownsbydiane.org.