Betsey Potter Brings Forensic Costuming to Lancaster’s Decorative Arts Center

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On Saturday, October 2 and on Sunday, October 3, costume professional Betsey Potter will bring her years of experience with vintage clothing and costumes to Lancaster’s Decorative Arts Center of Ohio (145 East Main St.) for two lectures entitled Forensic Costuming with Betsey Potter.

“What I do is restoration,” Potter explained. “I’m not a conservationist. What I do is restore clothes so they can be displayed or worn — which are two different things because a mannequin doesn’t put any stress on the clothes they wear, while a person wearing a garment is very stressful on the garment.”

To put it simply, Potter loves clothes. Her passion has been driving her professional work for many years.

“I have been collecting clothes, making clothes, and making costumes since I was a kid,” she said. “I used to go out every weekend or so and buy damaged, wonderful garments from, say, the 1860s or 1720. I would buy the damaged ones because then I didn’t feel bad if I was going to alter it in some way or, you know, dig into it to look at how it was made. And that’s what I did all those years and that’s what led me to where I am today.”

Forensic Costuming with Betsey Potter is one of the portions of programming that the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio is presenting in affiliation with their current exhibition, entitled Distinctly Paramount: Fashion and Costume from the Paramount Pictures Archive. For more details on other programming affiliated with the exhibition, visit