Symposium Session – Finicky Bits

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Finicky Bits: Lost Arts Explained

Presented by Susan Spencer

This entertaining presentation grew out of our collection of truly odd — but useful — bits of information, many gleaned from research done while trying to complete our own widely varied projects. It covers such lost arts as how to clean and curl feathers, attach trims to hats, attach beads to garments, finish the inside of a garment so it’s ravel-proof without a serger (and looks as good as the outside of a garment!), make fabrics stand up in places that they really don’t want to, and a host of other odd and eccentric little skills that are critical for giving your outfits and accessories a professional finish.

Bird Hat 680

This is a powerpoint presentation, with demo sections done in large scale with paper flipchart. Usually 45 minutes with 15 for questions, although questions are encouraged throughout.


Susan SpencerSusan can’t remember when history was not an important part of her life. Thrust into sewing at an early age by a mother frustrated by constant “borrowings” of garments from her closet — which garments usually ended up as portions of costumes — Susan took her first “1st prize” in historical costuming at age seven and never looked back. An eager participant in Edmonton’s annual “Klondike Days” 1890s festival from the time she could toddle, it surprised no one when she ended up working at Fort Edmonton in the late 1970s. There she cut her teeth in the business of making history interesting to the public. Life events caused a long professional hiatus from the world of things historical, but her passion for the subject led her back, and in 1993 she founded Spencer’s Mercantile, purveyor of fine historical reproduction goods. Usually found dashing off in at least seven different directions at once, she spends most of the summer months on the road throughout eastern North America. Over the winter, she can be found teaching classes and workshops, wreaking havoc in the store’s back room, plotting the next year’s travels, and volunteering her time on event committees, while trying desperately to get caught up on paperwork and occasionally even getting some sleep.

To learn more about other sessions, workshops, and special events please visit the International Steampunk Symposium Schedule . . . your invaluable guide to getting around the world in 48 hours!



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