A stitch in time

This uniform from the War of 1812 will be one of the pieces featured in the Prospect Historical Society and Connecticut Historical Society’s Victorian tea and fashion show, ‘From Bonnets to Bell Bottoms: A Century of Connecticut Fashion,’ Oct. 19. –CONTRIBUTED

This uniform from the War of 1812 will be one of the pieces featured in the Prospect Historical Society and Connecticut Historical Society’s Victorian tea and fashion show, ‘From Bonnets to Bell Bottoms: A Century of Connecticut Fashion,’ Oct. 19. –CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — The Prospect Historical Society hopes to tell the tale of the town through its clothing.

The society is hosting a Victorian tea and fashion show on Oct. 19 featuring clothing worn and owned by one of the town’s most prominent families.

The fashion show, “From Bonnets to Bell Bottoms: A Century of Connecticut Fashion,” will feature clothing from 1850 to 1950 that was found in the Hotchkiss family home, Blanche Ranaudo, co-chairman of event, said.

“They have been in that home for three generations. All the articles of clothing are from this family,” Ranaudo said.

The show will run from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Prospect Firehouse, 26 New Haven Road. The clothing will be displayed on hangers and walked by all the tables at the event.

Ranaudo said the clothing could not be worn since it would likely rip.

Ranaudo said the town purchased the house from the family in 1982, turning it into the Hotchkiss House Museum. Shortly after that someone went through the clothing and boxed it all up. However, nothing had ever been done with the clothing after that.

Early this year the historical society decided it wanted to do something with the clothing. The society reached out to the Connecticut Historical Society to see if it would be interested in helping sort through the clothing.

The Connecticut Historical Society expressed interest and sent Karen DePauw, its collections specialist in costumes and textiles, to help the Prospect Historical Society sort through what it had.

With DePauw’s help the Prospect Historical Society was able to tag and put the clothing into chronological order, Ranaudo said.

Within the boxes of clothing they found a woolen swimsuit, a Prospect baseball uniform from the 1930s and a soldier’s uniform from the War of 1812.

Ranaudo said, while there are a few elegant pieces, most of it is the type of clothing that would be expected from a farming family at the turn of the century.

“The colors are earth tones, medium brown and olive green. Those were travel clothes. They could walk through the mud and grass and, when they arrived where they were going, the stains wouldn’t show up,” Ranaudo said.

Ranaudo said what makes this collection unique is that it is all from one family.
The show, which will be lead by DePauw, will show the progression over women’s fashion over a century, Ranaudo said.

Tickets to the event are $20 and only available by calling Ranaudo at (203) 910-1161 or Nancy Via at (203) 758-6359.

The proceeds from the show will go towards helping the historical society continue its programs, Ranaudo said.