Susan Strawn

Office & Location:
Fine Arts 330
Office Phone:
(708) 524-6485

Job Title

Professor - Apparel


Current research:

  • Traditional religious dress of women in Amana Church Society
  • Wartime hand knitting
  • Surface Design Methods

Lectures (invited):

Strawn, S. M. (March 29, 2009). Wartime knitting as gendered occupation. Invited paper for First Annual Joint Gender & Women Studies Mini-Conference. Concordia University Chicago/Dominican University. River Forest, IL.

Strawn, S. M. (March 25, 2008). "Making a seperate peace": Women and wartime knitting in America. Center for Women's Studies. University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Milwaukee, WI.

Strawn, S. M. (November 2008). Service learning focused on recycling and disposal of textiles and clothing. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Educators for Responsible Apparel Business, Schaumburg, IL.

Strawn, S. M. (October 24, 2008). Knitting nations: The history of traditional stitches from Norway to America. Invited paper for the 2008 Grace Rikansrud Memorial Lecture, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Decorah, IA.

Strawn, S. M. (July 2007). Returning Navajo-Churro sheep for Navajo weaving. Invited paper for the Seattle Textile and Rug Society, Seattle, WA.

  • Invited speaker for guilds and libraries:
  • Seattle Knitters Guild, Seattle, WA (July 14, 2010)
  • Chicago Knitters Guild, Sulzer Public Library, Chicago, IL (May 18, 2010)
  • Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL (November 2009)
  • Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst, IL (October 6, 2009)
  • Madison Knitters Guild, Madison, WI (April 13, 2009)
  • Milwaukee Knitting Guild, Milwaukee, WI (March 10, 2009)
  • West Suburban Knitting Guild, Hinsdale, IL (January 20, 2009)
  • Oak Lawn Public Library, Oak Lawn, IL (November 13, 2008)
  • Chicago Knitting Guild, Sulzer Public Library, Chicago, IL (October 21, 2008)
  • Nichols Public Library, Naperville, IL (September 30, 2008)
  • Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, Bainbridge Island, WA (July 17, 2008)
  • Frankfort Public Library, Frankfort, IL (May 13, 2008)
  • Lansing Public Library, Lansing, IL (April 20, 2008)
  • Catholic University Club, Oak Park, IL (April 20, 2008)
  • Palos Heights Public Library, Palos Heights, IL (April 27, 2008)
  • New Holland Public Library, New Holland, IL (April 17, 2008)
  • Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, IL (January 17, 2008)
  • Lectures (juried):

    • Strawn, S. M. (October 2009). Integrating service learning into historical/cultural curricula. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Textile and Apparel Association, Bellevue, WA.
    • Strawn, S. M. (November 2008). Incorporating material culture analysis into the course intensification option for historical/cultural textile and apparel courses. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Textile and Apparel Association, Schaumburg, IL.
    • Neumayer, E., & Strawn, S. M. (November 2008). Recreating traditional trachten for three Donauschwaben women. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Textile and Apparel Association. Student presentation of undergraduate research on design and construction techniques for Donauschwaben traditional dress in cultural and historical context.
    • Strawn, S. M. (November 2007). Transitions in traditional religious dress in a communalistic society. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Textile and Apparel Association, Los Angeles, CA. Women of Amana heritage negotiate the symbolic meaning of their tradtional religious dress. Strawn, S. M. (November 2007). Incorporating ethical dialogs into the undergraduate textile science courses. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Textile and Apparel Association, Los Angeles, CA. Teaching strategy that encourages awareness of the ethical issues in textile science and roles students will face as decision-makers in the apparel industry. Nominated for Best Paper (Teaching Track).


PhD, Iowa State University
MS, Colorado State University
BA, Colorado State University

Awards & Grants

Fanjeaux Summer Seminar Faculty Grant, Summer 2010, Dominican University.

Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, Dominican University Fashion Club, Spring 2009.

First Place, 2007 Midwest Book Awards for Knitting America (Voyageur Press, 2007).


Strawn, S. M. (2009). "American Women and Wartime Hand Knitting, 1750-1950." In M. D. Goggin & B.T. Tobin (Eds.), Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles 1750-1950. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

Strawn, S. M., & Littrell, M. A. "Returning Navajo-Churro Sheep For Navajo Weaving."Textile: The Journal Of Cloth & Culture 5.3 (2007): 300-319.

Strawn, S. M., & Littrell, M. A. (2006). "Beyond Capabilities: Case Studies of Three Artisan Enterprises in India." Clothing and Textiles Research Journal (24)3, 207-213.

Strawn, Susan, Jane Farrell-Beck, and Ann R. Hemken. "Bib Overalls: Function And Fashion." Dress (Costume Society Of America) 32.(2005): 43-55.

Strawn, S. (November/December 2010). "American silk: A Forgotten Industry." PieceWork, in press.

Strawn, S. M. (January/February 2010) "A Child's Mitten from Sixteenth-Century London." PieceWork.

Strawn, S. M. (January/February 2009)."An Unfinished Sweater: The Wartime Knitting of Mrs. Wardi Kalil." PieceWork, 30-33.

Strawn, S. M.(September/October 2008). "Traveling stitches." PieceWork, 16-21.

Strawn, S. M. (2007). Knitting America. St. Paul, MN: Voyageur Press. (A cultural history of hand knitting in American context from early European settlement to the twenty-first century).


  • Cultural Perspectives of Dress
  • History of Dress I and II
  • Dress as Material CultureTextile Science
  • Surface Design of Fabric