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Out & About: Clothes, Quilts Take Center Stage in Bridgewater Exhibit

  • A petticoat is on display as part of a new exhibit, "Stitching Memories: 150 Years of Creativity in Bridgewater," at the Old Brick School House, home of the Bridgewater Historical Society in Bridgewater, Vt. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

  • A flannel shirt made from material made at the old Bridgewater Woolen Mill is on display as part of a new exhibit, "Stitching Memories: 150 Years of Creativity in Bridgewater," at the Old Brick School House, home of the Bridgewater Historical Society in Bridgewater, Vt. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

  • A top hat is on display as part of a new exhibit, "Stitching Memories: 150 Years of Creativity in Bridgewater," at the Old Brick School House, home of the Bridgewater Historical Society in Bridgewater, Vt. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

  • A quilt made by Loretta Earl for Edmund Sayer is on display as part of a new exhibit, "Stitching Memories: 150 Years of Creativity in Bridgewater," at the Old Brick School House, home of the Bridgewater Historical Society in Bridgewater, Vt. (Polly Timken photograph)



Valley News Calendar Editor
Saturday, June 09, 2018

Bridgewater — From a distance, the petticoat on display at the Old Brick School, home of the Bridgewater Historical Society, is unremarkable.

It’s plain white and an ordinary shape. There’s nothing extravagant about it. But look closely at the lace edging — the tiny stitches done by hand — and you’ll see a work of art.

“I can’t believe they did this to put underneath something,” said Jeannette Sawyer, vice president of the Bridgewater Historical Society. “It’s nothing they bought in the store back then.”

The petticoat is one of dozens of items that’s part of the historical society’s latest exhibit, titled “Stitching Memories: 150 Years of Creativity in Bridgewater.”

Many of the pieces have been donated to the historical society throughout the years, but this is the first time they’ve been put together in a single, themed exhibit. Quilts in particular are a popular family keepsake.

“It’s something that gets saved through the generations,” said Polly Timken, president of the Bridgewater Historical Society. “What we’ve discovered is there’s a lot of work in making quilts.”

One that’s on display was made by Loretta Earl from pieces of woolen material from the Bridgewater Woolen Mill that Edmund Sawyer — a relation of Jeannette’s — had salvaged after the flood in 1973.

“They were going to throw it away and he said, ‘No,’ ” Jeanette Sawyer said. The result was the beautiful quilt that can be viewed as soon as you walk into the Old Brick School.

There also are children’s christening clothes and top hats. There’s a black mourning cape from the Victorian era, which has a hand-stitched beaded pattern going up the front.

“That’s what’s amazing,” Sawyer said. “To have it last that long where it was.”

It’s a stark — and beautiful — reminder of how much time was spent to get the little simple things right.

Upcoming Bridgewater Historical Society Events

All programs begin at 2 p.m. at the Old Brick School House, 12 N. Bridgewater Road. For more information, visit www.bridgewaterhistory.org.

June 10: “Maintaining Old Cemeteries” by Thomas Griffin.

Aug. 5: “Shay’s Settlement in Vermont: a Story of Revolt and Archaeology,” by Stephen Butz.

Aug. 26: “Bees Besieged: A History of Beekeeping,” by Bill Mares.

Editor’s note: The Bridgewater Historical Society is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays, Memorial Day to Columbus Day, and by appointment. Call Sawyer at 802-672-3745 for more information. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.