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Old Sturbridge Village, Textile Weekend

August 12, 2023 - August 13, 2023

Have you ever wondered how we know what was made and worn by individuals in the 1830s? During Textile Weekend, Behind the Scenes & Seams, we are highlighting original clothing and textile-related objects from the museum’s permanent collection while creating new copies for side-by-side comparisons and a closer look at how we know what we know about the past.

As a follow up to the popular demonstration in 2022, special activities during this year’s event will include sewing two dresses in real time over the course of the weekend – this time for a mother and daughter! Skilled sewists will assemble for two days to complete all the stitches needed to create two dresses, while periodically trying the dresses on the wearers to test the fit and showcase progress.

Other highlighted programming includes:

  • Wool dyeing demonstrations
  • Reproducing wooden and tin sewing boxes based on original examples
  • Discussion of 1830s knitting and weaving patterns with skilled needleworkers
  • Working with a variety of plants and tools to create straw and palm leaf braid for bonnets and hats

During your visit by sure to check out our Needle & Thread exhibit and recently published book.

Needle & Thread: The Art and Skill of Clothing an Early 19th-Century Family explores all the work that went into outfitting the members of a family, from choosing fabrics and styles, to making, mending, and washing clothes. See gowns, a tail coat, and a sampling of children’s garments from the early 19th century, advice and account books, a c. 1825-1850 washing machine, and more!

*Event details subject to change with limited notice.

A costumed historian sewing in the small house

No Small Feat: Clothing a Village

Our Historical Clothing department is a small but mighty team responsible for creating and repairing dresses, petticoats, caps, bonnets, hoods, cloaks, mittens, handkerchiefs, aprons, shawls, pants, shirts, vests, braces, frocks, hats, cravats, spencers, and more.

Between full-time staff, part-time and seasonal staff, volunteers, college interns, junior interns, fellows, singers, and dancers, there are currently more than 250 people fully costumed by the department. While some only need one full set of historical clothing to accommodate their position, others have several sets for various occasions and seasons. Either way, every person clothed by the Historical Clothing office needs numerous individual pieces. So far this year, they have:

  • Completed 189 repair requests
  • Sewn 288 hems
  • Constructed 90 new garments
  • Sewn 762 hooks and eyes
  • And more!

Truly, it is no small feat to clothe a Village!

Standard daytime admission is $30.00 for adults, $28.00 for seniors (55+), College Student (with valid college ID) $15, Youth (4-17) $15.00, and free for children 3 and under.


August 12, 2023
August 13, 2023


Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566
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(800) 733-1830
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