We are excited to introduce Sherry Sanden Will, a junior in the Apparel Design program who received a grant to work with GMD's collection. Learn more below, then check out her blog Sherry's Fashion Foray featuring some of her personal research and photos.
As an apparel design student at the University of Minnesota, College of Design, I feel very fortunate to have the treasures in the collection of the Goldstein Museum of Design right at my fingertips. Through my studies I have learned that much insight and inspiration can be gained by looking at past fashions. As part of my project, I have created a blog to share my observations and research results.
I am currently working on a research project funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at the University of Minnesota. This program gives undergraduate students like me the opportunity to write my own research proposal and investigate something that interests me. My project is the analysis of couture suits designed in the 1950s and 1960s. I chose this topic, because I have always liked the silhouettes of the 1950s peplum jacket, as well as the boxier two piece suit first lady Jackie Kennedy wore in the 1960s. I was delighted to get permission from GMD to analyze couture suits in the collection for my research. My goal in this research is to analyze the couture techniques used, so that I may reproduce these techniques in my own designs.
My methods of analysis are simple; observe and record what I see, and my list of tools is short; white gloves, measuring tape, magnifying glass and digital camera. I have spent many an hours photographing a wide variety of details, obvious and concealed, for 30 different suits designed in the 1950s and 1960s.
The main technique that I observed, and which I believe gives these fashions such a special polished look is hand stitching. This is not surprising since we are talking about couture fashions made for specific individuals. Hand stitching is observed in the attachment of linings, zippers, hems, buttons, bound button holes, keyhole button holes, pad stitching of lapels and collars and finishing of seam edges. Special details include widespread use of bound button holes, special fabrics (mostly wool with silk linings), two and three piece sleeves, fancy buttons, bows, underlinings, wide seam allowances, pleats and vents.
By Sherry Sanden Will, Junior majoring in Apparel Design