The Sewer’s Art: Quality, Fashion, and Economy
February 26 – June 27, 2009
Typical of many educated young women in the mid-twentieth century, Susan Hunter learned to sew at an early age. She graduated from The Ohio State University School of Home Economics in 1949, married Burtch Beall, and devoted her life to her family. In college, she learned the art and fine sewing techniques of clothing production; she applied those skills not for profit or career, but to the benefit of her home and family. Over the next half-century, Mrs. Beall made children’s clothing, draperies, bedspreads, lampshades, tablecloths, and napkins,
“not only for the joy of sewing, but in order to be thrifty… it was the perfect arrangement… I could sew intermittently with housework, gardening and childcare.”
For Susan Beall, “each new project became a wonderful challenge.” She studied elegant clothing in magazines, film, museums, and stores. With that information, she used her ingenuity, creativity, and training to indulge her passion for fashion and beautiful fabrics by creating a personal wardrobe that was stylish, economical, and beautifully made. In addition to creating the garments, Susan maintained detailed records, noting pertinent construction details. She included fabric swatches, and sketches of pattern layouts, the names and numbers of pattern (or patterns) used, and the cost of the materials. She also recorded the dates when each garment was made and where it was worn.