wedding dress dated from 1911
Citizen Science Project,  Knitting,  museum reproduction,  Needlework

The Dress of Many Patterns – a citizen science project

wedding dress dated from 1911
Heirloom 1912 wedding dress and shawl worn by Francis Mason Watson of Blyth in 1912. (Photo used courtesy of the Huron County Museum.)

Hey, local Huron County stitchers! Would you be interested in a ‘citizen science project’ focusing on needlework history?

What would you think of this idea: creating a number of vintage needlework samplers inspired by historic needlework items from the collection of the Huron County Museum in Goderich and then piecing those samplers into a piece of wearable art… a wedding dress?!

The wedding dress design will be based on an Edwardian Tea Dress-style dress originally worn by Francis Mason Watson (1890 – 1918) a former resident of Blyth, Ontario. The shawl and dress will be made up of vintage pattern samplers (swatches) based on textile items in the Huron County Museum. Stitchers of all levels and techniques are welcome, beginner to advanced.

The fibres used in the dress project will include 100% lace-weight silk from Knit Picks and a silk and wool blend, Heritage Silk from Cascade Yarns. The silk and wool blend will be used for the sampler shawl and dress pieces. The 100% silk will be used for the lace over-bodice and apron portions plus some surface embroidery and stitching.

For inspiration and interest, have a look at the images of original vintage textiles in the museums collection: https://huroncountymuseum.pastperfectonline.com/.

Please note, there are many beautiful needlework items in the museum’s collection including tatting, Battenburg lace, embroidery and so on – follow the link above to see them all. My skills are more in the knitting area with a teeny bit of crochet experience, so right now, the kits are focussed on knit & crochet patterns. But, if you are a tatter or a lacemaker, or an embroiderer, you are most welcome to participate and do up heirloom-inspired samplers of your needlework skill of choice and design. All needlework sampler swatches will be joined together to create the dress.

Next steps?

Contact me for further info or to get a kit to get you started. The kits will include yarn and a vintage pattern, either crochet or knit. If you are an experienced stitcher and have your own heirloom patterns dating from the time period of the museum’s wedding dress, you are most welcome to use your own pattern and fibre of choice.

If you would like to join in or just have questions, just send me an email at sbolen@stitchrevivalstudio.ca.

More updates will follow soon.

Thanks and have a great week!

Happy Stitching