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Muslin dress, ca. 1830
Muslin dress, ca. 1830Maine Historical Society
Victorian-era cotton dress, ca. 1855
Victorian-era cotton dress, ca. 1855Maine Historical Society

In this age of cotton industry growth, attractive 1840s printed cottons were affordable and readily available, yet they are scarcely in evidence in this section of the current collection. A cotton dress’s chances of survival were reduced by use for daily wear, dyeing for mourning, and cutting down for children. Two, well-worn and faded, thin cotton print dresses span the 1830s-1840s. One is a white flower sprig design with gathered horizontal strips across the wide neck, puff, off-shoulder sleeves and a pelerine; and the other, dating towards the end of the era, a specked beige with a red check oval motif, front closure, gathered skirt, inset waist and long cap sleeves.