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Fly on the Wall 

May 23, 2008

Sewing 101 – How to sew an “antler bag”

This is one of those stories that you won’t find anywhere but the California Academy of Sciences…this week, a small team of volunteers started the process of sewing 150 or so custom-fit bags to protect the Ornithology & Mammalogy department’s collection of antlers and skulls.

Below, from left to right, here’s how one begins crafting an “antler bag” (whether you’re sewing something for a child, your home, or an elk, it’s a remarkably similar process):

1. Record the skull’s dimensions.
2. Cut a first draft of the pattern from butcher paper. Hold it up to the skull to see how the bag will fit, and adjust as needed. The elk (Cervus elaphus) skull pictured in the second photo is from 1913, and is one of the largest in the collection.
3. Using the final pattern, cut the pieces from archival muslin fabric, which will protect the specimens while in storage.

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The sewing is taking place as we speak…more to come once the bags are ready to “wear.” Meanwhile, check out this incredible story about how some creative sewing helped our penguin Pierre re-grow his feathers.

Filed under: Great Migration,Research Departments — Helen @ 10:55 am


  1. i think this is cool because you save antlers from animals. this helps out alot of animals from being kille.

    Comment by enrique — May 27, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

  2. I think what they are doing is good because they are helping the animals. It is good that you guys are helping the animals because one day they are going to be extnked….

    Comment by rashid — May 27, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

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