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Curators release vintage pattern book

July 4, 2017



Monday 3rd July 2017


Two talented members of Council staff have published a vintage bridal wear book packed with beautiful illustrations, images and patterns from the Southend Museums own collection from the 1920’s to 1960’s.


Social History Curator Ciara Phipps and Conservation Officer Claire Reed have spent endless hours of their own time meticulously working on their first book - ‘Making Vintage Wedding Dresses: Inspiring Timeless Style’ - which celebrates the different styles, shapes and details of vintage wedding gowns.


The notion of their book came from a previous exhibition, ‘Seven Brides’, at the Beecroft Art Gallery back in May 2015 after numerous visitors had asked if patterns were available for the dresses in the collection. 


Ciara Phipps said: “We had a number of influences to create this book, as well as illustrating the wonderful selection of wedding attire we hold at the gallery, and the variety and breadth of the collection.


“We are always keen to increase access to our wonderful collections, so this was a great opportunity to do so.


“There is also a lovely romantic nostalgia with wearing or making a historically inspired wedding gown, which is something brides-to-be seem to really engage with currently.”


Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy said: “This is a fabulous achievement for both Claire and Ciara, and we are very proud of the work they do for the Museum services.


“Not only have they given access to these beautiful gowns for local residents and visitors, but to everyone across the UK and further afield.”


All the dresses have been carefully selected from Southend Museum’s collections and Ciara’s text on the history of weddings and the wedding gown perfectly complements the patterns created by Claire.  Each dress has also been beautifully photographed by Tessa Hallman.


‘Making Vintage Wedding Dresses: Inspiring Timeless Style’ is available for pre-order and both Ciara and Claire are already working on their second book focusing on 1930’s clothing.

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