Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family Heirloom Textiles and Apparel

The October 5, 2010 CFA program featured members' family heirloom textile and apparel treasures. Many of us were surprised (or shocked) that we could not find the treasures we sought. More later about this discovery.

Each presenter related stories to accompany the artifact.

Nancy Bryant showed an apron made by her maternal grandmother in the 1950s. Her grandmother made a set of 3: one for Nancy's mother, one for Nancy (approximately age 8) and one for nancy's doll. Nancy thinks the doll apron is in a storable box. The third apron in lost.

Nancy also brought her mother's leather button baby shoes, mounted in a shadow box with a photo of her mother as an infant. Her third artifacts was a doll wearing a dress made by her best friend's mother. The dress matches the first dress Nancy made at age 9, assisted by her friend's mother. Sadly, Nancy's dress was given to younger cousins who lived back east.

Mariana Mace shared her great grandfather's christening dress.

Shirley Strub brought a doll wearing a dress she made from heirloom fabrics and a dresser scarf.

Heather Hodney showed us a baby bonnet made for her grandfather.

Heather also brought the brim and crown of a large hat made of Battenberg lace, mounted on a display board. Both of Heather's heirloom pieces were made by her great grandmother and earned an Honorable Mention at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exhibition in Portland.

Karen Tornow brought one of her father's baby shoes, preserved in a bronze coating. She also brought a brass bell in the shape of a vantage dress. Her mother used to call the children into the house for dinner.

Virginia Gregory brought her father's felt baby shoes.

Below is Virginia's father's baby sweater, crocheted by her father's mother.

Ginny Morgan brought a blanket made in the 1840s, woven by hand from fibers spun by hand.

Susan Clarke brought a crocheted vase cover and a box filled with pieces of her grandmother's lace.

Barbara Gordon shared a photo of a lace tablecloth crocheted by her then-teenage grandmother. It is currently mounted over the fireplace in her parents' home. She also showed two hand-embroidered handkerchiefs made by her other grandmother.

Monine Stebbins brought a silk dress given to her by a friend who used to wear it for dancing in Hawaii in the 1930s and 1940s.

During our conversation, questions arose about care and storage. Thus, we decided that we will dedicate the February program to care and storage and a reprieve of family heirlooms. If you could not find the treasures you sought, weren't able to attend, or remembered other artifacts you would like to share, start looking for them NOW.

If you would like to purchase acid free storage boxes and acid free tissue paper, three web sites are listed below. Perhaps several members would like to share an order to reduce shipping costs and take advantage of pricing for multiple boxes.

Gaylord archival boxes:

Light Impressions archival boxes:

University products archival storage products:

The following books may be of interest:
Your Vintage Keepsake by Margaret T. Ordonez

Preserving Textiles: A Guide for the Nonspecialist by Harold F. Maitland

Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions by Don Williams