Friday, February 25, 2011

Strawbery Banke Welcomes New Partner, The Sewing Tree

The Passion for Fashion Team is pleased to announce partnership with The Sewing Tree in Dover, NH. The Sewing Tree promotes sewing as a life skill and works with students age 5 through 88 with numerous classes and community projects, including work with 4H. Currently, students are developing sketches for an inspired and creative redesign of Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin's 1847-1850 Portsmouth Steam Company cotton floral print dress. (Please see earlier pages on this blog.) We look forward to sharing the talents of these young designers with you.

Among the many upcoming programs is Project Linus, Saturday March 12th, sponsored by the American Sewing Guild. See synopsis below and check out The Sewing Tree site or contact Janith at 603.664.6944,

"We will work on quilts for Project Linus, a national program providing love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets, afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers"."

I cannot even sew on a button, but will try to find something useful I can do--see you there!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New England Lady's Pocket, c.1760

This pieced cotton (probably homespun), linen and wool, with bright crewel work in a floral vine pattern, possibly from New England, ca. 1760s. The pocket in the textile and costume collection at Strawbery Banke Museum is one of those fine and rare pieces that vividly conjures up images of a time and place and an owner. Note the skill of the crewel work on either side of the pocket, perfectly balanced, with a lively cheerful palette.

Gift of Mrs. Herbert Faulkner.
Photograph, Tara Vose

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hat Gallery -II

And more....

Hat Gallery - 1

Planning for the 2012 exhibition has provided an opportunity to reexamine some stunning toppers and unearth new material about both the wearer and fabricator. Feast your eyes on these beauties- wedding bonnets, straw hats, bowlers, straw bonnets and feathers!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Designer Sought!

As part of the the 2012 Passion for Fashion exhibition, we are seeking inspired designers to create a contemporary look based on one of our many historic garments. If your concept sketch is approved, your work will be featured in the forthcoming book and possibly selected be among the 10-12 key fashions on exhibition and as part of the accompanying fashion show.

Interested? Here is the first mission - a romantic, multi-tiered floral print dress worn by Sarah Parker Goodwin, c. 1847-1850. Can you transform this billowing gown into something chic, trendy, elegant, funky--very now?

Please contact me with your ideas! Publication deadline looming....

Mannequin by
Photographs by Bridget and Astrida

Friday, February 4, 2011

"My Wedding Bonnet" October 23, 1878

The is an especially noteworthy hat, hatbox and original label, found in the textile and costume collection at Strawbery Banke Museum. Recently photographed by Ellen McDermott, this beauty offers abundant and complex views and textures. The bonnet was worn by Celia Amanda Elsie Fall Hussey (1855-1944) of Great Falls, NH and was donated by her granddaughter, Mrs. Dorothea S. Thompson of York, ME.. The wedding was held on October 23, 1878 and the accompanying dress (soon to come) is also in the collection.

The bonnet is of white or cream felted material attached to a buckram base with a pointed crown featuring a large bow of cream brocade, highlighted by maroon, pink and green brocaded floral motif. The eye grabbing white ostrich feathers crest the bonnet. A brim of maroon velvet encircles the composition. Matching ribbon streamers are affixed to each side. Overall, the condition is good with the feathers being somewhat fragile.

Imported from France ca. 1875-1878, this indicates just how fashionable New Hampshire brides were. From the French millinery import and retail shop of Joaquin & Cie. 277 Rue Saint Denis, to New York (58 West 14th Street) and then to Boston (32 Temple Place) and either through a Boston or Portsmouth shop, the purchase played an important role in the day of this bride. Not everyone can carry off such a piece, which no doubt it caused a few heads to turn and nod with appreciation.