100% Funded

0%

Target: €12500

100%

€12,615 Raised

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137 Funders

A Stitch in Time

By Jill Cousins

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The Hunt Museum holds a large Sybil Connolly Collection, donated by her nephew John Connolly. It includes her haute couture, sketches, scrapbooks, fabric, wallpaper, ceramic and glass.

Wear, tear and love by previous owners means that, according to an assessment by a textile conservator,  thirteen dresses and jackets need urgent attention to prevent further deterioration.

Sybil Connolly (1921-1998), an innovator, influencer, entrepreneur, fashion designer renowned for creating haute couture from Irish textiles. Her use of finely pleated handkerchief linen, delicate crochet lace and durable Irish tweed led to designs inspired by Irish people, traditions and culture.

Dubbed as “Dublin’s Dior”, Sybil was the first female Irish fashion designer to have international success. Her creations surprised and delighted, and were sold in Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor, NYC. They also featured in Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. Clients included Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and actresses Adele Astaire and Julie Andrews. Check out our social media celebration of her birth centennary 2021, which was shared and commented by thousands of followers. 


Funds raised will pay for a professional conservator to restore and conserve these iconic fashion pieces so the clothes can travel for a proposed exhibition in the US. The total cost of conservation for the 13 items is: €25,000. All the funds will go towards the restoration. The breakdown per item ranges from €650 for the Dark Red Evening Coat to €3,950 for Pink Ice.


 


The Hunt Museum team for this fundraiser includes the curator of the Sybil Connolly Collection, our social media team, external Sybil Connolly experts Robert O'Byrne and Kathleen O'Sullivan, alongside textile conservator, Rachel Phelan. We also have a project manager with successful previous experience in crowd fundraising for the Hunt Museum with Fund a Cobble.

We are all very keen on the role of fashion in social history, the importance of women in the sector and believe that Sybil deserves wider recognition as a particular icon of Irish fashion entrepreneurism.

The project is quite low risk requiring only the expertise of a textile conservator. The length of time required for conservation is an unknown and dependent on material availability but funders should be assured of the committment to completion by the team. Our Fund-a-Cobble campaign resulted in a brand new Museum in a Garden at the Hunt Museum.

We hope many people will want to be part of the restoration of these beautiful Irish designed, Irish textile and Irish made dresses so that future generations may enjoy them. The Hunt Museum is small and cannot afford to have a textile conservator on the team so needs to hire in the expertise but our Gertrude Hunt Conservation Fund will match the amount crowdfunded, doubling your donation. 

We can't thank you enough for your time and support. Your contribution will conserve this very important collection from a female designer and entrepreneur for Irish fashion in the 1950's.  A piece of Irish social and design history will be preserved for many others to enjoy for another 100 years. Please tell others about the campaign!

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Thank you to everyone - next steps for rewards and conservation

Really big thank you to all of you for your generositiy and for making this crowdfunder a success!


Next steps for the costumes will be to work out a schedule with the conservator.  If you are interested we will be running a blog on this on our Sybil website pages  The aim is to complete the work within the next twelve to eighteen months with a view to holding an exhibition in the US. 

We are now working on fulfilling your rewards.  This will take a little time as the mug, the cards, the sketch book and the prints are all being produced to order.   We will update on timelines as soon as we know them. 

It seems that credit card pledges for 5 mugs, a sketchpad, a workshop and 2 prints have not yet gone through.   If you had a message from Fundit to say that your credit card wasnt working it would be great if you could respond as we dont want you to be disappointed :)

Thanks, Jill

 

Thank you for your support... please tell a friend

Many thanks to all of you for the pledges you have made.   We are at 52% with 5 days to go... so still a bit of a mountain to climb.   

If you can tell others in your networks that you have supported the campaign we might just get there!

Reward of a Limited Edition Sybil Sketch

This reward is richer than you might think. You can choose from any of the following original sketches and we will print it specially for you.  

Curator Sian McInerney's on the conservation of Sybil's Legacy

Walking into the Hunt Museum, visitors can enjoy original Sybil Connolly couture designs on display. Allowing visitors to see the fall, design and detail of Irish fabrics such as pleated linen and Carrickmacross lace are important in telling the story of Sybil’s use of Irish fabric, and her rise to fame on the world fashion stage. But placing Sybil’s iconic garments on display requires important assessments to be made in order to balance the desire to exhibit the collection against ensuring that the condition of the garments is suitable for display. 

 

As a best practice in conservation, we have asked a textile conservator to assess the condition of some of Sybil’s greatest designs. Unfortunately, this resulted in some of the most iconic garments in the Hunt collection being identified as in need of conservation work. With the proceeds of this fundraising campaign will fund conservation work on the following items in our collection.

 

A much-loved and admired dress in our collection is the strapless-evening gown in pleated linen called Heiress Dress. Heiress has four tiers of beautiful hand-pleated handkerchief white linen, between bands of Irish crochet and blue silk ribbon. Having been worn in its original life, the dress needs conservation treatment including a surface clean to remove ingrained soiling; to be humidified to remove any distortion of the fibres, and its frayed hem and the zip to be consolidated and re-secured. This work will be complemented by a conservation grade mount and custom-made supports so visitors will then be able to see this fashion ‘masterpiece’ on display.

Dress, Heiress/Sybil Connolly/Textile/20th century /Sybil Connolly Collection/CC0

 

The cream evening gown below features another of Sybil’s signature fabrics; Irish crochet,  beautifully executed in the crochet appliquéd flowers throughout the bottom of the skirt. Known colloquially as the Mary Poppins dress, it was worn to the world premiere of Mary Poppins in 1964. This delicate dress exudes the elegance of the early 60s that Sybil was so adept at designing, but any possibility of public exhibition requires extensive conservation  This includes cleaning, repairs to structural damage and the reattachment of some of the exquisite flowers that adorn the skirt. 

Cream Evening Gown/Sybil Connolly/Textile/20th century /Sybil Connolly Collection/CC0

 

Just as iconic is the Red Wool Skirt, inspired by the Irish tradition  of the 1950’s west of Ireland, described as ‘washer-woman’ style. The skirt is made in bright red báinín wool, quilted in a scalloped pattern. Sybil’s Red Wool Cape of the same style was featured on the cover of Life magazine on August 10th 1953 under the headline “Irish invade fashion world”. Sadly, there is visible moth damage to the skirt. It is hoped that monies raised by A Stitch in Time will fund infilling with conservation dyed fabric the visible areas of loss by the Conservator. 

Dress, Red Wool Skirt/Sybil Connolly/Textile,Wool/20th century /Sybil Connolly Collection/CC0

 

This crowdfunding campaign aims to cover much more than the work described above and your donation will make possible the much-needed conservation work on these Sybil couture gems. Thank you!

 

A Stitch in Time: Thank you for the generous donations to date

Launched nearly two weeks ago, we thank you for your enthusiasm and donations.  We would love to repeat the success of Fund a Cobble, which led to an incredible new public space and the beginnings of the Museum in a Garden at the back of the Hunt Museum and where the donations via Fund it led to a quintupling of donations from private sources.

 

Last year was the centenary of Sybil Connolly’s birth and the Hunt Museum told the story of her achievements and accomplishments as a designer, innovator, influencer and entrepreneur through the items we have in our Sybil Connolly Collection.  Each month we looked at an aspect of her meteoric career from pretty humble beginnings to the designer of choice for Jackie Kennedy’s dress for the Kennedy Inauguration at the White House.   The full story can be found on our website.  

 

As we photographed and displayed more of our collection it became obvious that we couldn't wait any longer to conduct essential repairs on some of the very iconic garments we hold.  We asked a textile conservator to give us a price for the repairs and conservation to restore the garments for future display and audience enjoyment, this comes to €25,000 for 13 garments and we would like to raise half via this crowdfunder.  So please let friends and family know.

 

If you want a multiple of a reward just add the total cost and send a mail to support@fundit.ie to tell them you have donated for 2 or 3 of the same reward.

 

Here is one of the more dramatic repairs that need to be done:

funders (137)

There are 105 public funders of this project


There are 32 anonymous funders of this project

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