By Nancy McKeon
IN SOME precincts, the fall Craft2Wear show is considered a get-yourself-a-new-couture-jacket weekend. Other show-goers opt for hand-crafted jewelry, leather goods, even shoes. All made by hand.
And every year the Smithsonian Women’s Committee fills this premier juried show with new artisans to supplement the go-to favorites who dependably present new wares every year.
Two of the newbies this year specialize in clothes for babies and kids.
Bumbershoots by Nana came into being when “Nana,” a/k/a Judy Carr, became a grandmother and seriously doubted the quality and durability of the sleep sacks available for precious bundle John. She was looking for a high-end product whose fabric and utility were up to her standards. Couldn’t find it.
She started sewing “bumbers,” lined sleep sacks, in custom fabrics for baby John, then for friends, then for friends of friends. Now she makes them for a whole lot more people, sewing them in her Annapolis, Maryland, studio. She goes deep into her customers’ needs, listening when they asked for longer zippers for easier diaper changes, tactile fabrics and custom trim and color combos. It sounds like, if you can dream it up, “Nana,” in Booth 9, can do it. She can also do blankets and stuffed “friends,” and jammies.
Tuff Kookooshka has been making clothes for kids since 1999 and has now arrived at Craft2Wear.
The makers pride themselves on using local fabrics and making them in their Cape Cod studio. One obvious aim is to make colorful, warm clothing inspired by their Russian folk-art schooling. Another goal is to get as close to Zero Waste as possible, using extra pieces to craft scarves, hats, appliqués and other adornments. Beyond “beautiful,” which is abundantly present (for instance the wool “Butterfly Garden” coat (bottom left and right), there is also humor, such as the “Sperm Whale and Giant Squid” pattern (top right) and “Lobster in the Flowers!” apron dress with bloomers (not shown).
There’s so much more to Craft2Wear, and we’ll continue to whet your appetite until the big weekend is here.
Smithsonian Craft2Wear, October 20-22, 2022. National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington DC.
Hours: 10:30am to 5:30pm, Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22.
Preview benefit: Thursday, October 20, 6pm to 9pm: Drinks, hors d’oeuvre, meet and mingle with the artists.
Admission: Preview tickets are $100 per person. General admission is $20 at the door or online after October 17. Advance online tickets are $17 each. All at Smithsonian Craft2Wear.