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The Hidden History of Costume: Study Day at Locksmith’s House

Costume Image

This is part of our IgnitEd programme of Heritage Explorers.

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24 June 2017

 A fun, informative and hands-on day for anyone with an interest in historic costume.

Delivered by the Museum Curatorial Staff and Seamstress, and staff from the University of Wolverhampton.


  • Booking Details
  • Programme for the day

Booking Details

 This is part of our IgnitEd programme of Heritage Skills.

Book now  online  or call our Bookings Team on 0121 520 8054

Maximum Places: 20  

Cost: £15

Time: 9.00am  - 4.30pm

Programme for the day

9.30am Arrival, tea and coffee

9.50am Introduction

10.00am Secrets in the Seams – Studying Historical Garments
By Dr Jenny Gilbert-Evans, lecturer in Design Cultures (Fashion), Leicester DeMontfort University.
Jenny will talk participants through how to practically approach the study of historical garments and provide insights to her research into Walsall Museum’s Hodson Shop Collection.

10.45am Hidden Collections: The Kate Elizabeth Bunce Collection
Louise Elizabeth Penn Chapman, Pathway leader and lecturer in Design for Performance, School of Fashion and Textiles, Birmingham City University

The Kate Elizabeth Bunce collection is an archive of historical dress discovered by Louise through her PhD research. The collection comprises items of feminine dress from 1775-1927 and was bequeathed to Birmingham School of Art (now part of Birmingham City University) in 1927 by Kate Elizabeth Bunce, the Birmingham Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts artist.

About the Presenter
Louise has over 15 years’ experience as a costumier, and is a passionate and informed communicator. She is currently undertaking a practice led PhD at London College of Fashion using the ‘Kate Elizabeth Bunce Collection’ as her object of study. Prior to her role at Birmingham City University she worked in theatre as a cutter, wardrobe supervisor, costumier and wardrobe manager at many of the repertory theatres in the UK including Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Stephen Joseph Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Louise is currently pathway leader on the BA Hons Fashion Design with Design for Performance pathway, and the BA Hons Costume Design and Practice programme at Birmingham City University (BCU).

11.30am Break

11.45am Audience to split into two groups for  a  House Tour and Lock Museum & Men’s Clothing

12.15-12.45pm LUNCH (including Forge Demo)

1.30pm Hidden Layers
Claire Dolman, BCLM Seamstress
Undressing a fully clothed mannequin, Claire will reveal the hidden secrets of under garments.

2.15pm Hidden Collection: Caring for Costume 
Helen Taylor, Curator Domestic & Cultural Life
There are over 80,000 items in the Museum’s collections of which only 5% are currently accessible to the public. Helen’s presentation, focusing on the Museum’s less well-known costume collection, will highlight some of the hidden gems, and give an insight into the curatorial challenges involved in caring for them.

2.45pm Break

3.15pm Making Modern Women, Stitch by Stitch: Dressmaking and Women’s Magazines in Britain in the 1920s & 1930s
By Dr Fiona Hackney, Professor Fashion Textile Cultures Wolverhampton University
This illustrated talk, which looks at dress and knitting patterns, and fashion spreads in such popular women’s magazines as Woman’s Weekly and Woman, explores the relationship between dress and modernity in the interwar years. From tips for transforming last year’s coat, to a ‘two-piece’ for the business girl, and eye-catching colour spreads featuring the latest beach wear, the talk uses images from original magazines, draws on oral histories/memories, films and fiction from the period. It examines controversial issues such as wearing trousers, and advice for negotiating the fine line between glamour and respectability. The talk is based on Dr Hackney’s chapter in The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home dressmaking edited by Barbara Burman, and gives a taste of the material I her forthcoming book, Magazines and the Feminine Imagination: Opening Up a New World for Women in Interwar Britain, which will be published by I. B. Tauris next year.

4.00pm Questions and finish 

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