Edinburg’s Symphony of Stitches vows to wow

By Josette Keelor

The fifth annual Symphony of Stitches at St. Paul’s Heritage Center in Edinburg on March 22 will celebrate the history of sewing in the Shenandoah Valley.

The one-day symposium will cover weddings in notable periods of history, spotlighting gowns, customs and gifts that organizer Janet Wagniere said will inspire responses from awe to “Oh my God, … what were people thinking?”

The symposium also will include quilts, appliqués and sewing machines, and Wagniere said she hopes visitors will bring more along with them too, like wedding cake toppers, dresses and other wedding-themed items.

The day will begin with a social hour at 8:30 a.m. featuring hot drinks and light pastries. The program Weddings Through the Ages: Gowns to Gifts will follow from 9 to 10:20 a.m., with presenter Juanita Leisch Jensen, a writer, researcher, speaker and collector of historic clothing and photographs. Her book “Who Wore What” has sold more than 15,000 copies, and she’s lectured across the U.S., England and Australia.

After a break from 10:30 to 11 a.m., a Show and Tell will offer guests the opportunity to show off their own wedding attire, photos and their most memorable “Oh, gosh” gifts from any special event.

Lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. will be available for purchase, with wedding cake for dessert. Guests may bring their own lunch or pre-register before Saturday for the $15 catered meal in the Social Hall.

The afternoon will feature Outside the Square: Art, Applique and Special Event Quilting from 1 to 1:50 p.m., Invention and Evolution of Sewing Machines from 2 to 2:50 p.m., another Show and Tell from 3 to 3:50 p.m. and a visit to the Edinburg Mill Museum and gift shops from 4 to 4:50 p.m.

Meegan Car, executive director of the Virginia Quilt Muesum in Harrisonburg, and Mavis Slawson, an RN with a degree in art and art history, also will present.

“Every year we do something different,” said Wagniere. “This is our fifth year, and every year we cover three or four different topics.”

In previous years, the symposium has featured iron stoves and cookware, quilted clothing, dolls, homespun dresses and other homemade textiles.

She said part of each year’s goal is to feature items women make, “Particularly old things, so it’s had a bit of an evolution.”

Register by March 15 for lunch at the Symphony of Stitches at St. Paul’s Heritage Center, 106 S. High St., Edinburg, by calling 540-984-9309. All registration fees will benefit the Edinburg Heritage Foundation’s Save the Mill Fund. Or, for more information, email stitches.VA@gmail.com.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com