Posted by: bschutzgruber | May 7, 2019

Oh The Places They’ll Go!

Sometimes the garments we create go out into the world
and have their own adventures! Here are two stories.

At the National Storytelling Network Summit in Kansas City, MO last summer Sadika Kebbi, a wonderful storyteller from Lebanon, generously donated a beautifully embroidered dress for the fundraising auction. Five of us stepped up and pooled our funds to bring in a very respectable price. We are now ‘time-share’ owners of the Traveling Storytelling Dress.

I am the lucky curator of our Traveling Storytelling Dress. Here’s how it works:

1) The storyteller will let me know what month she wishes to use it.

2) I mail the dress with instructions on how to temporarily shorten if it is too long and how it should be cleaned prior to mailing it back to me.

3) The teller then writes a short story about the dress’s adventures while it was in her care/possession and email/send it to the group.

Because the five of us are different heights a way to temporarily shorten the dress was necessary. The dress fabric is light-weight cotton batiste with a heavily embroidered hem so devising a means to do this without damaging the fabric by leave stitch marks and be easy for someone who has limited sewing knowledge to do was a puzzle that needed to solved.

Being a member of the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild has its perks! I brought the dress to a meeting and after a long discussion with several members who make garments both modern and historical, we came up with a plan: by threading ribbon through the channels created by the 14 French seams the dress can shortened from the inside creating a slight ruching just above the embroidered panel.

This past March Minnesota storyteller and time-share owner Katie Knutson had the chance to wear it in performance at the Tales on the Island: The International Storytelling Festival in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. Katie is the first American to perform in this festival and was honored to represent our country abroad AND be able to wear this beautiful international gift as part of the multicultural celebration of traditions through the art of storytelling.


The second story involves a felt jacket I made in 2012. The third jacket in a series inspired by fairy tales, Straw Into Gold is inspired by the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

The body of the jacket shows the straw strewn across the floor waiting to be spun.

The trim is the gold spun from the straw.

The crop length reflects Rumpelstiltskin’s small stature.

The fabric is wet felted Merino wool prefelt and roving, plus silk fibers. The trim is a wool/silk blend commercial fabric and the lining is silk habotai.

Straw Into Gold was for sale at Fiber Feast and thus went out into the world.




In March of this year (2019) my daughter called saying, “Mom, I saw one of your jackets at a thrift store! Do you want me to buy it back for you?” I said, “No. It can stay there. Someone who really wants it will see it and it can go to a new owner.”

In April to my surprise and amazement Straw Into Gold walked into AAFG’s Fiber Feast! I was headed to the dressing room to change for modeling as the fashion show was about to begin so I simply said, “I made that,” as I walked past the woman wearing it. She grabbed my arm and said, “I know!! I was hoping you would be here this year. I saw it here when it was sale years ago and loved it but I was a broke student and could not afford it. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it in the shop. I was so excited that the gals at the checkout gave me odd look. I’ve dreamed of having this jacket for years and now I have it!!”

She looks beautiful and I am so happy for her.

And they all lived happily ever after!




  1. What Fab stories! Story and fiber art – can’t beat that. : )

    • Thanks Lila. Getting to know the ‘end of the story’ is the icing on the cake!!

  2. Cool stories Barbara – I am so pleased your beautiful jacket finally “found its way home” so to speak. I have lost work in the past to other people’s movements and wonder where they are now.

    • It’s been interesting to hear the gasps from other artists when I say the jacket was in a thrift/charity shop but for me I’d rather let someone have a shot at using my art than have it sit in a closet.

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