A Few Bolts of Fabric

Last year, EHF staff worked on a couple of exhibits in the Anderson Store Museum, including the shoe section and the Ladies’ Wing.  This winter, our goal was to work with the Store’s garments and fabrics.  When it operated as a general store, customers could find a variety of clothes and textiles on the shelves, and other materials could be ordered by catalog for delivery to the Anderson Dock.

If you’ve ever taken a tour of the Anderson Store, you’ve probably heard the story of Miss Lizzie Anderson’s policy on sales.  If something didn’t sell in the store, she put it upstairs in the attic rather than sell it at a discount.  Years later, when the Ephraim Historical Foundation began operating the Anderson Store Museum, a wide variety of original merchandise in the attic, including clothes, was brought downstairs, allowing for the Store to look much the same today as it did 100 years ago.

Mock bolts of fabric

One section of the Anderson Store Museum is devoted to garments, fabrics, sewing materials, and accessories like hair pins and gloves.   After being washed, we selected some materials to go back on display and others to be safely stored in archival boxes.  Limiting the amount on fabric on display minimizes both sun damage and the amount of dust which can become trapped between layers.

One of our more creative challenges was cleaning and determining how to display bolts of fabric.  After much experimentation, we created mock bolts with archival materials and a minimal amount of fabric.  The fabric on these “bolts” will be much easier to clean than a full bolt, and there is no longer a cardboard core, which would eventually damage the material.

After much cleaning and organizing, the garment section is almost complete, so be sure to stop by the Anderson Store Museum when we open for the season on Friday, June 15, 2018!

-Guest Blogger Emily Irwin

5 thoughts on “A Few Bolts of Fabric”

  1. I remember when portraying Anna Pederson, she mentioned that she needed material, but Anderson store only carried “everyday” calico. She then wrote her dear mother to send it from Germany.

  2. JoAnne, , you are a girl after my mother’s heart. She had so many spools of thread that it made my head swim. She was a skilled as any tailor, so I guess she needed to be prepared! She volunteered in the Anderson store 30 or 40 years ago, and she would be thrilled to see what has been done to display the bolts of fabric!

  3. Had me fooled! It certainly looks like complete bolts of fabric. What a great idea to preserve what treasures we have been left by Miss Lizzy and still share with the public!

  4. Very smart and creative solution to the displaying of the fabrics. I remember when most department stores had a sewing section. My mother and I would pick out patterns and materials and notions. Many women sewed clothes for their families back in the 1940 and 1950s. High schools had sewing classes. I made a dress in mine. It’s hard to find fabric stores now. I’m pleased with myself that not long after I was married, I bought one of each color thread – there must have been a hundred – and saved them sorted by color. I can match any color fabric for a quick repair.

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