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Sew Together

The extent of my sewing experience consists of half a school year in eighth grade home economics, and most recently in grad school (hand sewing for the conservation of historic textiles). As much as I was interested in sewing, I was too afraid of gender-based parental disapproval, even though I was well aware of the existence of tailors. My sister, however, was able to follow her interests. We were in the same junior high sewing class, but she went on to take sewing in high school. We both had to make the same things, but mine were always a mess. The final project was a sweatshirt with pockets. While I chose a masculine “sweat gray” jersey with white for the cuffs (a boy’s color, I thought in my head), she chose pink fabric with black for the cuffs and pockets. (She might look back and think that she was channeling Chanel, but I think a more realistic reference was someone like Lisa Lisa or the cast of The Facts of Life). But while her sweater was a proud example of her sewing progress, my sweater was a sartorial disaster.

One thing we both enjoyed doing was taking a trip to the local fabric store. George’s Textiles was in Downtown Lowell, and we often went with our mom for her sewing projects. There was something exciting about watching the clerk take a flat bolt of fabric and unfurl it on the cutting table. Then came crisp, finite sound of the fabric scissors (with the cast iron handles), cutting fabric. As much as I loved watching this, my favorite section of the store was the remnants. Maybe it was about finding something that was no longer being sold, and the anticipating of having something unique, but there I could find affordable pieces of fabric that my mother could use to make something small for me, like clothes for some of my toys (which were never intended to have fabric clothes). There was a time when I asked my mother to make something for me, but my lack of textile knowledge left the end product not exactly as how I imagined it. (Think of a hoodie with woven cotton instead of a jersey, with a pool ball motif a la Kid n’ Play).

Through school and my sister’s continued interest in sewing, I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of the fabric store. My understanding is that George’s Textiles is still there, but the focus of their business is exclusively on re-upholstery fabric. I live near an independent fabric store, but the standard for fabric shopping is Jo-Ann’s, where one of the locations is near my sister’s home. So we decided to go together, unbeknownst to us, for the first time in possibly over 20 years.

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  • St. John short-sleeve sweater
  • Ivan Grundahl nylon cargo skirt
  • YSL platform heel loafers
  • Fendi monogram baguette
Now available on #ebay : authentic #volcanicrock from #guatemala #rockspecimen #rockculture #mineralia #guatrock #guatemalanvolcanicrock #solidasarock #rockcollection #forsaleonebay  (at ebay)

Now available on #ebay : authentic #volcanicrock from #guatemala #rockspecimen #rockculture #mineralia #guatrock #guatemalanvolcanicrock #solidasarock #rockcollection #forsaleonebay (at ebay)

FOR SALE ON ETSY: Here’s a closer look at the #handmadewallets my niece makes using #decorativeducttape by #ducktape #comicbookstyle Now available at etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo #etsy #ducttapewallets #ducttapelife #tapelife #ducttapestyle #bam #pow #tobecontinued #craftykid #craftlife #instacrafts #buyme (at www.etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo)

FOR SALE ON ETSY: Here’s a closer look at the #handmadewallets my niece makes using #decorativeducttape by #ducktape #comicbookstyle Now available at etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo #etsy #ducttapewallets #ducttapelife #tapelife #ducttapestyle #bam #pow #tobecontinued #craftykid #craftlife #instacrafts #buyme (at www.etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo)

Now on The Sin Embargo #etsy store: #ducttape #wallets made by my 9-year old neice!! Etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo. Low prices for a fun accessory made with talented young hands! #ducttapewallets #ducktape #decorativeducttape #craftykid #idlehands #artsandcrafts #popculture #popkitsch #whatsinyourpocket #forsaleonetsy (at www.etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo)

Now on The Sin Embargo #etsy store: #ducttape #wallets made by my 9-year old neice!! Etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo. Low prices for a fun accessory made with talented young hands! #ducttapewallets #ducktape #decorativeducttape #craftykid #idlehands #artsandcrafts #popculture #popkitsch #whatsinyourpocket #forsaleonetsy (at www.etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo)

Now on #ebay brand new size 8 #betseyjohnson #blackleather #eelskin style strut #highheels #stilettos #gladiatorheels #omgshoes #anklebooties #designershoes #amenfashion #shoegasm #shoeporn #fashionshoes #shoes #highfashion #forsaleonebay  (at ebay)

Now on #ebay brand new size 8 #betseyjohnson #blackleather #eelskin style strut #highheels #stilettos #gladiatorheels #omgshoes #anklebooties #designershoes #amenfashion #shoegasm #shoeporn #fashionshoes #shoes #highfashion #forsaleonebay (at ebay)

Now on ebay : 1980s #rowenta mini #mantleclock #vintageclock made in #westgermany #vintagecollectibles #ticktock #hickorydickorydock #rowentaclock #futureantiques #plasticisfantastic #forsaleonebay #westgermanyisnotacountry (at ebay)

Now on ebay : 1980s #rowenta mini #mantleclock #vintageclock made in #westgermany #vintagecollectibles #ticktock #hickorydickorydock #rowentaclock #futureantiques #plasticisfantastic #forsaleonebay #westgermanyisnotacountry (at ebay)

Now on #ebay : #limitededition #ladygagasworkshop at #barneysnewyork unused #bubblebath #littlemonsters #artpop #famemonster #gaga #ladygaga #popculture #popcultureisculture #popkitsch #musickitsch #barneysny #forsaleonebay  (at ebay)

Now on #ebay : #limitededition #ladygagasworkshop at #barneysnewyork unused #bubblebath #littlemonsters #artpop #famemonster #gaga #ladygaga #popculture #popcultureisculture #popkitsch #musickitsch #barneysny #forsaleonebay (at ebay)

Now on ebay: #morticiaaddams #actionfigure with #thing from 1990s cartoon television show #ninetiesbitch #addamsfamily #halloween #vamp #ladyisavamp #forsaleonebay #popculture #popcultureisculture #creepyandkooky #popculturehalloween #halloweendecoration (at ebay)

Now on ebay: #morticiaaddams #actionfigure with #thing from 1990s cartoon television show #ninetiesbitch #addamsfamily #halloween #vamp #ladyisavamp #forsaleonebay #popculture #popcultureisculture #creepyandkooky #popculturehalloween #halloweendecoration (at ebay)

Now on #ebay new in package #diesel men’s #fuelforlife #eaudetoilette spray with refillable #walletchain container #mensfragrances #dieselfuelforlife #forsaleonebay #dieselfragrances #dieselfashion #smellgoodfeelgreat #mansmell (at ebay)

Now on #ebay new in package #diesel men’s #fuelforlife #eaudetoilette spray with refillable #walletchain container #mensfragrances #dieselfuelforlife #forsaleonebay #dieselfragrances #dieselfashion #smellgoodfeelgreat #mansmell (at ebay)

Intro to Consternation

This summer I signed up for an intensive, two-week, full-time Introduction to Textile Conservation course. I don’t intend to be a textile conservator when I graduate, but this was a required course. Besides, it will be helpful to be exposed to the textile conservation techniques that are applied in museums all over. The problem is that my hand skills (read: sewing) have much to be desired. So begins the anxiety…

In addition to learning about the scientific properties of soils and solutions, I learned how to wet-clean a garment, repair an object, and create a storage mount for an accessory. It was a lot to do in two weeks, and I’m still surprised that I (somewhat) pulled it off.

The object I repaired was an 1870s-1880s fan. The outer stick was detached, and I basically had to re-attach it using an adhesive. I thought the close-up images of the fan’s chain stitch embroidery that I took using the department’s microscope camera were very interesting.

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The garment I chose to wet clean was a 1970s Anne Klein two-piece dress. It had some stains on the upper front part of the skirt, making it inappropriate for exhibition or teaching.

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We got a significant part of the staining out, but the best trick to exhibit this garment is to turn the skirt around so that the virtually unsoiled back is to the front. I wasn’t required to mount the garment on the dress form for my report, but I really wanted to see the dress on a form. Unfortunately the elastic waistband was deteriorated, so I had to find a dress form that detached from the torso so I could securely put the skirt on without stretching the waistband any further. In a way I kind of like this unnaturally-shaped dress form. There was a photo setup in one of the other workrooms, so I took advantage of the backdrop that was already up. When I saw it on, I immediately thought of the person who wore it, at some great 70s summer disco party, spilling coffee or tea on her lap. I also thought of how this look came back in the mid 1990s, and how great it still looks, even for today.

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The last project I had to work on was the creation of a storage mount for an accessory. As we were running out of time in class, I figured I’d do a hat mount for a small hat. Ideally it should have been a mount that could be used for storage and exhibition, but honey, they weren’t getting that much from me on the last day, with only 2-3 hours left before we were presenting on our other projects.

The mount is pretty basic (some might say rudimentary), consisting of a support for the hat to rest on (in this case a small pillow), and a flat mounting board which you can hold instead of holding the object. A ribbon secures the hat to the mount.

1860s hat, top view.image

But for that extra effort (so that it looked like I put some thought into it), I cut the ends of a cotton swab and glued them to the mount board to act as supports for the velvet ribbon ends on the back sides of the hat.

Hat, rear view.image

All in all, I was very proud of my accomplishments, considering that I have no background in sewing, and minimal hand skills necessary for a job in textile conservation. But if I work with textile conservators, I’ll know a little something.

What do #Batman and Beetljuice have jn common, besides being cartoons, films (directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton), and a toy line? They are #lunchboxes owned by me, now available for sale on #ebay ! #vintagelunchbox #batmanlunchbox #beetlejuicelunchbox #nowonebay #ilovetheeighties #bestgenerationever #popculture #popcultureisculture #thermos #beetlejuicebeetlejuicebeetlejuice #imbatman #batlunch #ilovecartoons #ilovetelevision #iwatchtoomuchtv (at ebay)

What do #Batman and Beetljuice have jn common, besides being cartoons, films (directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton), and a toy line? They are #lunchboxes owned by me, now available for sale on #ebay ! #vintagelunchbox #batmanlunchbox #beetlejuicelunchbox #nowonebay #ilovetheeighties #bestgenerationever #popculture #popcultureisculture #thermos #beetlejuicebeetlejuicebeetlejuice #imbatman #batlunch #ilovecartoons #ilovetelevision #iwatchtoomuchtv (at ebay)

For sale on #ebay #henryandglenn : #foreverandever #comics no. 4 #henryrollins #glendanzig #punk #hallandoats #satanichallandoats #gaycomics #comicbookguy #comicbookgay #popculture #popcultureisculture #nowonebay #comicbook (at ebay)

For sale on #ebay #henryandglenn : #foreverandever #comics no. 4 #henryrollins #glendanzig #punk #hallandoats #satanichallandoats #gaycomics #comicbookguy #comicbookgay #popculture #popcultureisculture #nowonebay #comicbook (at ebay)

For sale on ebay: original 1985 #therocketeer #graphicnovel in excellent condition by #davestevens with intro by #harlanellison . Low starting bid! #popculture #popcultureisculture #comics #comicbookguy #bettiepage #bestgenerationever #atompunk #ilovetheeighties #vintagecomics #vintagecomicbooks #americana #nowonebay  (at ebay)

For sale on ebay: original 1985 #therocketeer #graphicnovel in excellent condition by #davestevens with intro by #harlanellison . Low starting bid! #popculture #popcultureisculture #comics #comicbookguy #bettiepage #bestgenerationever #atompunk #ilovetheeighties #vintagecomics #vintagecomicbooks #americana #nowonebay (at ebay)

For sale on #ebay : #limitededition designer #mylittlepony #shadowbox in excellent condition with original box. Low starting bid! #bestgenerationever #brony #bronies #popculture #toydesign #designertoys #actionfigures #nowonebay #popcultureisculture #eightiestoys #ilovetheeighties #blackandblue #rideitmypony #notjustforgirls (at ebay)

For sale on #ebay : #limitededition designer #mylittlepony #shadowbox in excellent condition with original box. Low starting bid! #bestgenerationever #brony #bronies #popculture #toydesign #designertoys #actionfigures #nowonebay #popcultureisculture #eightiestoys #ilovetheeighties #blackandblue #rideitmypony #notjustforgirls (at ebay)

Down By The Old Quilt Museum

I received a few signs from the universe telling me that this career change to study historic textiles is the right path. One of these signs was the exhibition that recently opened at the New England Quilt Museum, called Down by the Old Mill Stream: Rhode Island Quilts. These are quilts from the University of Rhode Island’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection.

As much as I appreciate everything I learned about quilts, I’m most interested in the fashion/costume/dress part of textiles. So when they decided to include period garments which relate to the quilts. So it was a no brainer for me to help hang this exhibition, as a volunteer of the Museum, but also as a student of URI.

First, we had to dress the dress forms with authentic period petticoats, cage crinolines and bustles, consistent with the dresses that went over them.

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The connection of period garments with related quilts gives a more complete picture of how people lived. You can almost trace the trajectory of the textile: from the factory that made it to the shop that sold it to the home where it was made into a dress, to the quilt it became when the dresses were deconstructed once they were out of fashion or outgrown.

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Here is a quilted petticoat with a patchwork pocket. Pockets were separate accessories, and were tied around the waist, over the petticoat but under the dress. The dress next to it is a house dress, and were to be worn at home only. 

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J. Raul Cornier as Busco Mas Sandra Cornier as Mira Menos. Second-hand vintage and designer fashion sourcing. For sale at: www.etsy.com/shop/TheSinEmbargo.