Walk through a living catalog of American style spanning 130 years. Rare in scope and detail, selected clothing from the collection brings the lives of the entrepreneurial Roddis family into sharp focus through fashion. Dozens of wearable time capsules — discovered carefully boxed up in the attic — tell an engaging epic of American style and spirit.
Letters, photographs and heirloom objects bring to life the person behind each garment. As American as aspiration, the clothing reveals a sense of self-expression against a backdrop of history.
I snapped a few pics of the dresses I found memorable....either in design, choice of fabric or
in the construction details.
The exhibit is not set up chronologically, but rather by events in the women's lives who
most likely wore the outfits.
This amazing silk dress was the kick off, and I'll say it was pretty amazing: I can only imagine some restorative work must have been done on this late 1980's early 1900's dress, but it really could not be seen.
It appeared to be in pristine condition:
STRIPES! The sleeves were pleated with tiny little pleats, finished with a very narrow
binding. Check out the flirty bow, that ruffle, and the cute little bustle in the back:
Lace never seems to go out of style, but what caught the eye was this gathered silk chiffon at the waist,
inset into the seam for detail: (and of course there was a hat to match!)
This red wool suit is also a timeless design. Look closely at the photo below this one, you'll see
that buttonhole set into the seam. Actually, this construction detail could be found on
several of the suits in the collection. Again, the hat!!
Not much to say, these outfits are just simply stunning. Again, see the pleated sleeve detail on the blush dress, more over sized pleats this time.
During the Depression, the family's shopping was more restrained economically. Sewing some of their own clothes was an answer! This red showstopper was hand sewn on a Singer Featherweight.
Another dress hand sewn by one of the women in the family, a knock off of a designer dress seen in a magazine:
Yes, there were wedding dresses! This rather plain dress had a pretty amazing gathered train:
This bias cut beauty with the draped cowl neckline
was worn to the Junior Prom.
If you look closely at the photo in the background you
can see it being worn at the Prom (first girl in from the right):
The dress below was made with a fun fabric, perfect for the
cruise it was worn on! Take a look at the waist detail, so flattering:
Another dress for the cruise ship, this time in 100% linen.
Cruise ship attire sure has changed!:
The seaming detail and those godets at the hem would make
for a fun dress to kick up your heels in! :
These days, with much of our clothing being so disposable, it was a treat to
see clothing as in investment. Many of these garments were worn by the women
in this family over several years, a testament to the fine fabrics: silk, wool, linen,
that they were made of.
This did come at a cost though, but for this wealthy Midwestern family it
appeared that outside of the Depression era money was not an issue.
As a home sewist, my take away was to pay more attention to the
details on those garments I sew that are more investment-type pieces,
which may be more classic in design, made with the best fabrics.
If you are in the Dearborn, MI area, this exhibit runs through April 2, 2017.