The Wisconsin Chapter toured the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection on the UW-Madison campus in April, directed by collection curator, Natasha Thoreson. The collection contains a wide variety of both textiles and garments from around the world. We were allowed - even encouraged - to touch the garments selected for our tour! How often does THAT happen? We were mesmerized by garments from around the globe and across many time periods. The collection is also viewable on-line.
It’s hard to pick a chapter favorite for all the wonderful pieces we examined, but two of the top contenders were a fitted unlined jacket from the late 1800’s and a chiffon gown from the late 1940’s. Ah, the wonders of seeing in person and being able to touch the garments!
In addition to the textile museum, we were also treated to tours of the student design labs, including draping studios, the extensive weaving studio, and the Ruth Davis Design Gallery. Throughout the tour, Linda McCoy, VP-Membership, had a great discussion with the curator, and as a result, the Wisconsin chapter will be developing a panel discussion with a question/answer period to present to fashion design students on career options in the sewing and design industry.