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Elizabeth Keckly: the Modiste and 19th Century Fashion

June 2, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Elizabeth Keckly was once a slave in a Hillsborough household but pulled herself out of slavery and into a life of success and self-sufficiency as a talented dressmaker to women of prominence, including First Lady Mary Lincoln.  Learn about her and the life of the “modiste” in the 1800’s from Elizabeth Way, Assistant Curator at The Museum, Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.  Ms. Way has conducted research into the intersection of fashion, dressmaking, and African American seamstresses of the time. Also, learn about the laborious and exciting project carried out by Hillsborough’s own sewing instructor, Karen DeSombre, who re-created a dress made by Keckly for Mary Lincoln.  Over 80 hours, many yards of velvet and satin — it was a labor of love.   Plus we’ll have a hands-on session for ALL AGES as an introduction to sewing!


10 am:  Karen DeSombre and the Lincoln Dress

11 am:  Hands-on introduction to sewing fun with Karen DeSombre

2:30 pm:  Elizabeth Way — “Elizabeth Keckly, the Modiste and Nineteenth Century Fashion”