For this first installment I visited Miss Sharon’s Historical Clothing, where I met owner Sharon Louise. Little did I know, I was in for a trip through time. This shop is a great fit to Bath’s Historic Chestnut Street for various reasons. Miss Sharon creates custom made historical clothing, and she shared an interesting discovery with me. Shortly after moving in she learned that the property was also used as a seamstress shop by a woman named Anna Louisa Roth in the 1840s, moreover it was also the location for a tailor named Bartholomew in the year 1885. Any mathematician reading this perhaps could comment on the odds of this happening. My guess is that chances are slim.
Continuing our conversation, Sharon Louise mentioned that her favorite era is the 1870s, or the “bustle era” as that period of time is often known as. Her fascination for this historical time sparked at a very young age when her family took her to the Bicentennial exhibits. As you might know this was an event held in Philadelphia in 1976 commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. She fell in love with the attention to details employed in the making of clothing, a time when women would wear elaborate hats and other fashion accessories.
She candidly recalled her earliest memories working with fabric. She was three years old when her grandmother taught her hand stitching techniques using practice sheets. She also remembered enjoying sewing classes during her early school years. These initial experiences put her in contact with the art of sewing. Miss Sharon is considered a self-taught historical seamstress and the trade runs in her family. Her great-grandmother and two of her great-grandmother’s sisters were also seamstresses; one of them specialized in hat making.
Sharon explains she strives to be as historically accurate as possible with her work. Even using treadle powered sewing machines, which she admitted she prefers over modern electric machines. Her work is not limited to historical clothing that is mostly used in reenactments and museums. She has done work for Comic-Con conventions recreating superheroes and other pop culture characters. She has also made costumes for steam-punk themed parties, she is a milliner and her sewing machines are capable of sewing through leather. This feature has become popular among local Motorcycle Riders who want to proudly display their club patches on different leather pieces. Miss Sharon recounted one of the oddest sewing jobs; it was a quilt made out of concert t-shirts (how cool is that, huh?).
I look forward to see what else comes from the shop of this very creative individual. You can just stop by to appreciate Miss Sharon’s storefront. You will feel drawn back in time with all the vintage décor that includes images and family photos, in addition to whatever new dress is on display.
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Next time we will visit D&S Florist in Bath.